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    12 Required Reads For The "Dog Days" Of Summer

    The ancient Romans used the term "Dog Days" when the star Sirius shined brightest and brought with it the hottest temperatures of the year, generally between July 23 and August 23. Seriously, we looked it up. We won't read too much into the celestial aspect, but will use it as an excuse to recommend 12 excellent dog books to make the Dog Days bearable.

    Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan

    William Morrow/HarperCollins / Via harpercollins.com

    Grogan's modern-day classic charts life's ups and downs through the chaos caused by a perpetually over zealous, eager-to-please Lab.

    Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

    Perennial Classics / Via harpercollins.com

    A story of a boy and his dog and the prairie. And probably one that ruined your childhood for a little while.

    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

    Ecco / Via harpercollins.com

    A mystical novel that evokes Hamlet, Watership Down, and The Life of Pi. It was the toast of the books world upon its release, earning raves from heavyweights Stephen King and Richard Russo, and was one of Oprah's better picks.

    White Fang & Call of the Wild by Jack London

    Penguin Classics / Via penguin.com

    Nobody did the frontier like Jack London, nor did anybody better explore the bonds between man and beast. His two classics, both set during the Yukon Gold Rush, balance the beauty and ferocity of animals, humans, and nature.

    Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend by Susan Orlean

    Simon and Schuster / Via books.simonandschuster.com

    The stranger-than-fiction true story of this German Sherpherd's improbable discovery upon a World War I battlefield and rise to international stardom. And those ears! Purchase.

    Cujo by Stephen King

    Signet / Via penguin.com

    Terrifying. Let's move along, shall we?

    Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

    Penguin Classics / Via penguin.com

    One of our most treasured writers hits the road with his French Poodle to find the "real America," but the account's veracity has been largely contested for decades.

    Travels With Casey: My Journey Through Our Dog-Crazy Country by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

    Amanda Jones Photography and Simon and Schuster / Via books.simonandschuster.com

    A dog road trip that won't be scrutinized! Journalist Denizet-Lewis wonders if his moody Golden/Lab mix actually likes him. To find out, the two cross 32 states and 13,000 miles in a RV while exploring America's fervent dog culture. They documented the trip on TravelsWithCasey.com. Purchase.

    The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

    Harper Paperbacks / Via harpercollins.com

    Enzo, the wise but aging pooch of this bestseller, reflects upon a life well-lived. There will be tears. Many.

    James Herriot's Dog Stories: Warm And Wonderful Stories About The Animals Herriot Loves Best by James Herriot

    St. Martin's Press / Via us.macmillan.com

    The subtitle says it all. Animal writing at is finest.

    A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me by Jon Katz

    Random House / Via randomhouse.com

    One of our finest dog writers, Katz recounts how his world was upended by loss and then again by the sheer energy and willpower of his adoptive Border Collies.

    OK, your turn. Which ones did we miss? Let us know!

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