November 26, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Alexander McCall Smith, author of the ”No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series, recommends Roger Grenier’s The Difficulty of Being a Dog, translated by Alice Kaplan .

Many books about dogs are rather too sentimental for my taste. This one is not. It talks about real dogs, dogs who have played a part in history — the dogs of soldiers, politicians, and philosophers. It makes us think about how dogs try to make sense of the world and of their part in it. And every — or almost every —dog in this book is a hero, even if only in a small, dim way. Once one has read this exceptional book, one cannot look at dogs in the same way again. They are ennobled.

You May Like