Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Five of the best books about animals

Delia Ephron, author and screenwriter, has written many books for children and adults, including the recently released The Lion is In.

One of her five best books on animals, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
Merle's Door
by Ted Kerasote (2007)

In a dog owner's memoir, the dog usually dies. That's the thing about dogs. We love them and lose them—they go through the life cycle on fast-forward, loving and adorable at every stage, even as teenagers. When I'm reading one of these books, I always know I'm headed for a gigantic sobfest. "Merle's Door," no exception, is the story of a Labrador/golden retriever/hound mix that Ted Kerasote finds on a river-rafting trip. Kerasote, an outdoorsman and nature writer, names the dog Merle and takes him home to Kelly, Wyo., a village of 90 or so people whose collective backyard is the Grand Teton National Park. Merle becomes his own boss, as much as a dog can, going and coming at will. If your dog has only walked on cement and frolicked in a dog park—and never tumbled down a snowy mountain, braved rapids, tangled with an elk or outsmarted a coyote—you may find this book the most romantic possible account of someone else's life with a dog. Kerasote weaves into his narrative all sorts of behavioral, historic and scientific facts about dogs. You can skip those sections or not, the way you can read simply the peace parts of "War and Peace." For a time in the memoir, Kerasote has a girlfriend and Merle finds happiness with a female pooch, but the love of their lives is clearly each other.
Read about the other books on Ephron's list.

The Page 69 Test: Merle's Door.

--Marshal Zeringue