Since we're on the subject of dogs ...

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Continuing with yesterday's theme, I bring you Dog Spelled Backwards: Soulful Writing by Literary Dog Lovers (St. Martin's Press, 279 pages, $23.95) by Mordecai Siegal, president emeritus ...

Dog Spelled Backwards

... of the Dog Writers Association of America. (Who knew such an organizaion existed?)

Yesterday's book of the day was Shaggy Muses, a collection of mini-bios of five noted women writers of the late 19th and early 20th century whose dogs figured prominently in their lives and work.

Dog Spelled Backwards is a compilation of stories, essays, articles and poems written about dogs, in particular and in general.

Coincidentally Siegal includes several works dedicated to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's dog Flush, also covered in Shaggy Muses. Plus, there are excerpts of books by well-known writers like Jack London and Mark Twain, and there are songs and poems throughout the book as well, including this one by the author:


No dogs allowed without proper papers,
No cure for the common cur.
"No mutts, if you please," said the let-'em-eat-cakers
"Can't stand that mixed colored fur."

But Darwin still haunts us with graven glee,
He smirks in the ghostly fog.
"Bananas and trees are man's pedigree,
He's just one more underdog."

Siegal includes an excerpt from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, which, as anyone who knows the story knows that the chldren's nurse Mr. Darling "employed," was a Newfoundland named Nana.

"She proved to be quite a treasure of a nurse. How thorough she was at bath-time; and up at any moment of the night if one of her charges made the slightest cry. ... It was a lesson in propriety to see her escorting the children to school, walking sedately by their side when they were well behaved, and butting them back into line if they strayed. On John's soccer days she never once forgot his sweater, and she usually carried an umbrella in her mouth in case of rain."

I've never been a big fan of Peter Pan, and I'm not really a dog person, but I have to say my favorite character in that story was always Nana. So, even though Dog Spelled Backwards is written for a particular audience, I will argue that you don't have to be a rabid dog lover to enjoy it — and it woud be an excellent companion book to Shaggy Muses.

Note: The book gets its title from the idea that "sometimes dogs are like furry angels."

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Teresa, I was reading somewhere -- Publishers Weekly, maybe? -- that dog books are the hottest ongoing trend in publishing, ever since "Marley & Me" broke all those cash register records.

I have nothing wise to add to your words, except that about a quarter of a century ago the British publishing establishment did some sums and came up with the observation that the three most popular subjects in UK bookstores were golf, cats, and books about the war against the Nazis. Which impelled one publisher to issue a "blank book" (just bound blank white pages) with a shiny jacket entitled "Golfing for Cats" and emblazoned with a huge swastika. It was a highly popular gift item for years.

Somebody ought to do the same for dogs.

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This page contains a single entry by Teresa Budasi published on August 17, 2007 8:11 AM.

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