This week, BTT asks: "...what animal-related books have you read? Which do you love? Do you have a favorite literary dog? (Snoopy, anyone?)"
Well, I love books and I love animals. But in general, I'm not really a great lover of books about animals. Especially the overly sentimental and maudlin works produced in the wake of John Grogan's hugely successful Marley & Me. And I really can't abide those books that introduce a pet only to kill it off, for emotional effect.
But one of my favorite mystery series, the Mrs. Murphy books by Rita Mae Brown, features cats and a dog who help solve the mysteries their human friend gets herself involved in; I'm reading one right now (Whisker of Evil). And one of my all-time favorite books is Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles (although I don't suppose anyone would pick the terrifying gigantic hound as a favorite literary canine).
Another favorite "animal" book is one I read just a couple of years ago -- Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. There's really not a dog in the book (the main character has a pet rat), but the entire plot hinges on the investigation of the death of a neighbor's dog.
And yes, I do love Snoopy -- I've got a small collection of Peanuts books. I imagine Snoopy has been everyone's favorite literary pup at one time or another. But when it comes to cartoon dogs, I've also always loved those loopy animals drawn by James Thurber. Thurber was a writer, not an artist; but he loved drawing and he loved dogs. And that combination made for some wonderfully weird illustrations to his stories over the years.
And today I hope to finish reading Rebecca Hunt's Mr. Chartwell, about a sort of dog/monster haunting the book's protagonist. But Mr. Chartwell (or Black Pat as he's mostly called) isn't a nice doggie and you definitely wouldn't think of him as man's best friend.
Oh, and I almost forgot -- one more animal-related book: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH! Can't leave that one off the list. Read it for the first time just a couple years back and really loved it. Can't believe it took me so long to get around to it.