cover image Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm

Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm

Jon Katz, . . Villard, $23.95 (273pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-6404-5

Not only has Katz written 16 books, he cohosts Dog Talk on public radio, freelances for a variety of newspapers and magazines, and operates the eponymous Bedlam Farm in upstate New York—sometimes with his wife, but always with dogs and chickens and sheep and even a few donkeys and cows. Readers familiar only with Katz's suburban mystery novels will find that his farm memoirs set out to do basically the same thing, bring order to chaos. His goal in running Bedlam Farm is to find ways for his various animals and their humans to work together in harmonious synchronicity. Everything requires balance. He must be mindful of his own tendency to anthropomorphize, while remaining open to the emotional bonds his animals invite. He must remember that many awful things—flies, freezing weather, disease—are normal in the lives of animals, even as he struggles to give his animals the best life possible. He has to balance his focus on the farm with his relationship with his wife, who never particularly approved of the farm idea, even if she supported his need to do it. Anyone who loves animals or country life, but maybe can't have a pet or actually live in the country, will find Katz a perfect armchair companion. (June)