Do you or someone you know love books almost as much as their pet? These three books draw on the animals in our outer lives to illuminate the complexity of our inner lives.


For the Dog Lover: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

A boy and his two dogs become much more than just a boy and two dogs in this novel about hope, love, loyalty and moving on.

Ostensibly a book for young adults, the novel is rich with the details of life in the Ozarks, which will charm readers of any age.

Indeed, the simple-style of this novel makes the frankness with which it deals with poverty, cruelty, death and disappointment all the more poignant and unforgettable. There is a movie version, but it fails to capture the slow-motion, transitory wonder of childhood with the warmth and devotion author Wilson Rawls brings to the page. If you ever suspect someone is a robot, give them this book to read; if they don’t cry at the end, then they are most likely an agent of the impending cyborg uprising and should be turned over to the authorities.