Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Sunday Salon and The Dog Days of Summer... or 3 Great Books featuring Dogs!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And at The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news! And it is officially the end of The Dog Days of Summer... or is it?!


Summer is typically referred to as The “Dog Days” of Summer because it’s so hot that it’s not fit for a dog. But where did the phrase really comes from? Well, the Dog Days refers to the period of July 3 through Aug. 11 when the Dog Star, Sirius, rises with the Sun. As a result, the ancients felt that the combination of the brightest luminary of the day (the Sun) and the brightest star of night (Sirius) was responsible for the extreme heat that is experienced during the middle of summer.... So technically it is the end of "The Dog Days of Summer", but is sure is still HOT and Dogs are on my mind. (And that cute guy reading the eBook in the photo is my one and only, BJ, who loved to read with me). For "The Dog Days" and everyone who enjoys great reading with a dog... or about a dog, I'm taking this Sunday to share some great new books that revolve around dogs...

Lily and The Octopus by Steve Rowley... From Kirkus Reviews: A lonely writer and his aging dachshund confront a mythic enemy. If it wasn’t for one thing, Rowley’s debut novel might be viewed as a lightly fictionalized, heart-wrenching account of the author’s last six months with his adored 12-year-old dog, Lily, who succumbed to a brain tumor. That one thing, however, is pretty big. It’s the “octopus” of the title. “It’s Thursday the first time I see it. I know that it’s Thursday because Thursday nights are the nights my dog, Lily, and I set aside to talk about boys we think are cute.…We get into long debates over the Ryans. I’m a Gosling man, whereas she’s a Reynolds gal.” The thing Ted notices that fateful Thursday is an octopus. It “has a good grip and clings tightly over her eye.” For almost all of this novel that thing over Lily’s eye remains an “octopus,” an evil eight-legged sea creature that snarks and schemes and wages battle. Even Ted’s best friend and therapist give in and call it an octopus, and a good deal of plot is built around pretending that it is, in an elaborately developed, magical realist way. This is not the best thing about the book. In fact, it becomes a little much. But more than balancing it are the portrait of Lily in all her bedclothes-burrowing, ice cream–eating, stubborn dachshund glory and the intensity of this particular interspecies bond. The octopus talks to Ted, but Lily does too, for example when she’s licking tears off his face: “THIS! EYE! RAIN! YOU! MAKE! IS! FANTASTIC! I! LOVE! THE! SALTY! TASTE! YOU! SHOULD! MAKE! THIS! EVERY! DAY!” As anyone who has a dachshund knows, this is exactly how they talk. If you have an older dog, or any dog, he or she is going to be licking plenty of eye rain off your face through the final chapters of this book. In his funny, ardent, and staunchly kooky way, Rowley expresses exactly what it’s like to love a dog.

This gem of a book received many accolades prior to publication, and it has since had many rave reviews. It is now on my nightstand waiting for the right moment. And if you like dog stories it should probably be on your TBR list. It was released by Simon & Schuster the beginning of June.
Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff... Jonathan Trefoil’s boss is unhinged, his relationship baffling, and his apartment just the wrong side of legal. His girlfriend wants to marry someone just like him—only richer and with a different sense of humor. He doesn’t remember life being this confusing, back before everyone expected him to act like a grown-up.

When his brother asks him to look after his dogs, Jonathan's world view begins to shift. Could a border collie and a cocker spaniel hold the key to life, the universe, and everything? Their sly maneuvering on daily walks and visits to the alluring vet suggest that human emotional intelligence may not be top dog after all. A funny, wise romantic comedy set in Manhattan, Jonathan Unleashed is a story of tangled relationships, friendships, and dogs. Rosoff’s novel is for anyone wondering what to be when they grow up, and how on earth to get there.

This looks like a fun romantic romp. I love the cover, but of course we are not suppose to judge a book by its' cover are we?! (Who made that rule anyway?!?) It loosely reminded me of a kind of Must Love Dogs story, but won't be sure until I've read it, and it's on my wishlist. Published by Viking, it was released at the beginning of July.
Free Days With George by Colin Campbell... After Colin Campbell went on a short business trip abroad, he returned home to discover his wife of many years had moved out. No explanations. No second chances. She was gone and wasn’t coming back. Shocked and heartbroken, Colin fell into a spiral of depression and loneliness. Soon after, a friend told Colin about a dog in need of rescue—a neglected 140-pound Newfoundland Landseer, a breed renowned for its friendly nature and remarkable swimming abilities. Colin adopted the traumatized dog, brought him home and named him George. 

Both man and dog were heartbroken and lacking trust, but together, they learned how to share a space, how to socialize, and most of all, how to overcome their bad experiences. At the same time, Colin relived childhood memories of his beloved grandfather, a decorated war hero and a man who gave him hope when he needed it most. Then everything changed. Colin was offered a great new job in Los Angeles, California. He took George with him and the pair began a new life together on the sunny beaches around L.A. George became a fixture in his Hermosa Beach neighborhood, attracting attention and giving affection to everyone he met, warming hearts both young and old. Meanwhile, Colin headed to the beach to rekindle his love for surfing, but when George encountered the ocean and a surfboard for the first time, he did a surprising thing—he jumped right on the board. Through surfing, George and Colin began a life-altering adventure and a deep healing process that brought them back to life. As their story took them to exciting new heights, Colin learned how to follow George’s lead, discovering that he may have rescued George but that in the end, it was George who rescued him. 
Free Days with George is an uplifting, inspirational story about the healing power of animals, and about leaving the past behind to embrace love, hope and happiness.

For the people who have read this book, it's a big hit, but I just kind of ran across it one day while I was online. But what rave reviews! Almost all 5 star reviews! And there are a lot of reviews! Of course, who wouldn't melt about a boy and his dog, but this book seems to be special. Two lost souls finding a life filled with love after finding eachother. Published by Anchor Canada at beginning of May. Colin tweeted tuesday that Free Days With George was on sale half price at Amazon and I went for it ($7.37). Amazon changes their prices frequently, but you can check to see if Free Days With George is still on sale and want ot read it too.

Other great oldies but goodies...

* The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein
* A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
* Marley & Me by John Grogan
* Finding Mr. Right by Emily Carmichael (I LOVED this! It's a romance with an interesting dog twist!)

Do You Like Books with Dogs in the Story or Telling the Story?

Weekly Wrap Up...
   * Memoir Monday ... was a review for Rosalie Lightning, a graphic novel
   * Monday ... also shared what came In My Mailbox. Some GREAT books coming out soon!
   * Friday... First Line Friday highlighted a book I hope EVERYONE gets a chance to read!

I hope your Dog Days of Summer are filled with great weather, great books and a great dog or two (either a real one or one from a book!) Let me know if you have any great "dog" books to share! You can leave them in the comments below!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You really don't want to miss Lily and the Octopus. I was skeptical going in (lots of button-pushing themes in this book and I hate button-pushing themes) and I'm not a person who goes bananas over dogs, but I loved this story.

Here's my Sunday Salon. Consider yourself happiness-tagged. Or not. As you so wish.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Deb,
I loved your review way back and did not hesitate to put it on my TBR list! Thanks for reiterating how much you enjoyed it! I definitely will read it. Funny how I just had no idea (and the publishers wanted it that way) what it was about.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Thanks for sharing about the origin of "dog days of summer," and now I am feeling lighter about it all. Not really. LOL

I like the look of Jonathan Unleashed....enjoy your week. Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

Molly said...

Thank you for providing insight to the saying "Dog Days of Summer" ... I love learning the story behind a familiar phrase!

I am a sucker for ANY dog story (although if it ends with the death of the canine... I rarely read to the end). I look forward to checking out all these recommendations :)

Greg said...

Okay I had no idea that's where the dog days of summer came from- although it's a fascinating explanation! How fun. Love your dog picks- Jonathan Unleashed and Free Days with George both sound very nice.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Laurel!
Yes, I had to put Jonathan Unleashed on my TBR list!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Molly,
I agree, I can't stand when the dog dies, or any animal does for that matter. Although I did get through The Art of Racing in the Rain with a box of tissues.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Greg,
Yes, it's interesting that the Dog Days are the hottest days and coincidentally happen at the same time as Sirius rises with the Sun. It's also a fun way to pitch all those "dog" books I read!

Lisa Mandina said...

All of those look good, but I want to read Lily and the Octopus so bad just because it is a dachshund on the cover. Have a great week!
Check out my Sunday Post

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Lisa!
Cute cover on LIly and the Octopus! I bet you have a dachshund?! I've heard all great things about Lily and it's now up next in the que! Thanks for stopping by!

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