The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs

Edited by the New Yorker, foreword by Malcolm Gladwell. Random, $45 (416p) ISBN 978-0-679-64475-0
For years whip-smart dogs Lassie and Rin Tin Tinhave trotted across our cultural landscape outwitting villains and lapping up adoration for saving the day. This winning collection of stories, essays, poems, and cartoons gathered from the pages of the New Yorker celebrates the endearing traits of our canine companions alongside some of their more distasteful habits. In sections devoted to good dogs, bad dogs, top dogs, and underdogs, writers ranging from James Thurber, John Updike, Anne Sexton, Marjorie Garber, Jonathan Lethem, and Joan Acocella fondly recall favorite pets, discuss the benefits of obedience training, and speculate on the rational capacity of dogs. Burkhard Bilger’s essay “Beware of the Dog” follows the NYPD’s K-9 unit through a typical day to celebrate the remarkable abilities of its dogs. Garber, in “Dog Days,” ponders whether “to leash or not to leash,” while novelist Cathleen Schine mulls over what happens when bad dogs happen to good people in “Dog Trouble.” Calvin Tomkins humorously sums up the ways that humans impart their own characteristics to their dogs in “The American Dog in Crisis”: “These days, when a dog jumps up on the couch, the chances are he isn’t looking for affection at all. He is trying to tell us that he needs help.” Illus. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/10/2012
Release date: 10/30/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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