My favorite books if you’re a dog needing rescuing

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirteen years ago I adopted a homeless dog from Puerto Rico. I also met his rescuers, and they told me the story of this little yellow dog who lived by the food trucks on the road between San Juan and El Yunque National Forest. He had been hit by a car once, maybe twice. His leg was broken, and he was close to death. But they scooped him up, took him to the vet for surgery, nursed him to health, and sent him north. I named him Winston, and now I read every dog book with him in mind – the way he trusts me, believes in me, understands me, and understands everything I say. How did we get so lucky to have dogs? 


I wrote...

Rescuing Oricito: The Almost True Story of a South American Street Dog

By Marty Kingsbury,

Book cover of Rescuing Oricito: The Almost True Story of a South American Street Dog

What is my book about?

Valdivia, Chile, is a beautiful city: the Calle Calle River flows peacefully through town, elephant seals entertain people at the fish market, and horse-drawn wagons rumble the streets. But life is hard if you’re a homeless puppy. Oricito, a tiny golden mutt, is tired of being kicked around by people and seals alike. He doesn’t know how he will ever survive – until Rico and Valiente, two wily terriers, invite him into their pack. They teach him to beg food from tourists and to love with all his heart when rain pounds their makeshift roof. But they meet their match with The Man in New Shoes, a politician on a quest to rid the streets of homeless dogs. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Dog On It

Marty Kingsbury Why did I love this book?

I have always loved animals and am invariably happy to tumble into a good animal book. In Dog On It, we meet Chet, the large, lovable canine narrator of this thirteen book mystery series. He is the best of best friends with Bernie Little, the other half of the Little Detective Agency. Together they track down missing persons, infiltrate politicians’ evil schemes, and follow some of the baddest of bad guys into nasty smelling, slimy places. Yes, Chet will fall for a Slim Jim, which often gets him in trouble, and he’ll abandon the narrative if there is a Ritz cracker under the bed, but he has an uncanny nose for the truth, and he can smell a perp even through a locked door.

By Spencer Quinn,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Dog On It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book of the New York Times bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery series, an “enchanting one-of-a-kind novel” (Stephen King) that is “nothing short of masterful” (Los Angeles Times).

Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, and Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, are quick to take a new case involving a frantic mother searching for her teenage daughter. This well-behaved and gifted student may or may not have been kidnapped, but she has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. With Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way, their hunt for clues takes them…


Book cover of The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly

Marty Kingsbury Why did I love this book?

I watch these oil rigs blow up, I bear witness to birds smothered by oil slicks, and I am paralyzed with despair. But Luis Sepulveda finds hope, and he finds it with two animals who, in my back yard, would be natural enemies: a cat and a seagull. He finds, not only hope, but also reasons to break all unwritten rules. Because life is more precious than money, and hope is stronger than despair. I love the animals in this book. I love them with my whole heart. They’re not super smart or super courageous or super anything. They’re two animals, on a porch in a situation that needs to be solved. And if they can do the impossible, then damnit, I can at least try.

By Luis Sepulveda, Chris Sheban (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Published in 20 countries, sold over 1 million copies, and the subject of a feature film, THE STORY OF A SEAGULL AND THE CAT WHO TAUGHT HER TO FLY has finally come to the U.S.!

It's migration time and as a mother gull dives into the water to catch a herring she's caught in an oil slick! Thinking of the egg she is about to lay she manages to extract herself and fly to the nearest port.
Exhausted, she lands on a balcony where Zorba the cat is sunning himself. Zorba wants to get help, but the gull knows it's…


Book cover of Little Prince

Marty Kingsbury Why did I love this book?

King Lear is one of my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays. There is a special satisfaction watching this arrogant, childish king demand love that he doesn’t deserve and then fall from glory – I wouldn’t wish this curse on anyone, and yet, in the end, he learns to love. He becomes such a better version of himself. I loved Little Prince in exactly the same way. A conceited Shetland Pony won my heart a thousand times over.

By Annie Wedekind,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

If Dauphin, a pampered Shetland pony, seems to lead the perfect life in the penthouse suite of the city's posh riding stables, it's because he does. And if he seems a bit too self-satisfied―after all, he's won several trophies for his young owner, Isabella, and is widely acknowledged to be the prettiest pony in the city―it's because he is.

Dauphin leads a rich, comfortable life. But all that changes when his relationship with his owner takes a decided turn for the worse. He's suddenly sent away to a farm in the middle of nowhere, which is filled with the most…


Book cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Marty Kingsbury Why did I love this book?

This is the book where I came to understand how dogs can smell cancer. I don’t know how they do it, but they have wisdom in their noses that far exceeds anything I can imagine. When I read this book, cancer was an abstract idea, something that, yeah, other people get. But since I was presented with my own diagnosis, I find myself leaning on the comfort of my two dogs, believing, even if I do not know, that they understand what is happening. 

By Garth Stein,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Art of Racing in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, this heart-warming and inspirational tale follows Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on…


Book cover of When Harry Met Minnie: A True Story of Love and Friendship

Marty Kingsbury Why did I love this book?

Dogs and children turn us into neighbors; they force us into friendships we would not otherwise consider, and they present us with a gazillion opportunities to practice compassion. When Harry Met Minnie is a story of the friendship, first and foremost between two bull terriers but also between two women, one of whom is dying of cancer. I went back and forth in this book: sometimes I was the friend, and my heart was breaking under the enormous weight of the inevitable and pending death. Other times I was in bed next to the woman who was dying, and my own understanding of cancer was growing deeper with every page. And every now and again, I was one of those two wonderful dogs running in the field, tumbling with the sheer delight of being a dog. And still I wonder – where on earth would we be without dogs to remind us of the importance of love and play?

By Martha Teichner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Harry Met Minnie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A beautiful book." - Jo Good, BBC Radio London

"When Harry Met Minnie made me cry and made me dance with joy. It's an exquisite tale about heartbreak and healing, critters and humans, and the little miracles life hands us when we need them the most." - Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses

There are true fairy tales. Stories that exist because impossible-to-explain coincidences change everything. Except in real life, not all of them have conventional, happily-ever-after endings...

This Manhattan tale of laughter and tears charts the…


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God on a Budget: and other stories in dialogue

By J.M. Unrue,

Book cover of God on a Budget: and other stories in dialogue

J.M. Unrue Author Of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an old guy. I say this with a bit of cheek and a certain amount of incongruity. All the books on my list are old. That’s one area of continuity. Another, and I’ll probably stop at two, is that they all deal with ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances—those curveballs of life we flail at with an unfamiliar bat; the getting stuck on the Interstate behind a semi and some geezer in a golf cap hogging the passing lane in a Buick Le Sabre. No one makes it through this life unscathed. How we cope does more to define us than a thousand smiles when things are rosy. Thus endeth the lesson.

J.M.'s book list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do

What is my book about?

Nine Stories Told Completely in Dialogue is a unique collection of narratives, each unfolding entirely through conversations between its characters. The book opens with "God on a Budget," a tale of a man's surreal nighttime visitation that offers a blend of the mundane and the mystical. In "Doctor in the House," readers are plunged into the emotionally charged moment when an oncologist delivers a life-altering diagnosis to a patient. The collection then shifts to "Prisoner 8086," a story about the unlikely friendship that blossoms between a prison volunteer and a habitual offender, exploring themes of redemption and human connection.

The heart of the book continues with "The Reunion," a touching narrative about high school sweethearts reuniting, stirring up poignant memories and unspoken feelings. "The Therapy Session" adds a lighter touch, presenting a serio-comic exchange between a therapist and a challenging patient. In "The Fishing Trip," a father imparts crucial life lessons to his daughter during an eventful outing, leading to unexpected consequences. "Mortality" offers a deeply personal moment as a mother shares a cherished, secret story from her past with her son.

The collection then takes a romantic turn in "The Singles Cruise," where two individuals find connection amidst shared stories on a cruise for singles. Finally, "Jesus and Buddha in the Garden of Eden" provides a satirical, thought-provoking encounter in the afterlife between two spiritual figures. The book concludes with "The Breakup," a nuanced portrayal of a young couple's separation, told from both perspectives, encapsulating the complexities of relationships and the human experience.

God on a Budget: and other stories in dialogue

By J.M. Unrue,

What is this book about?

Nine Stories Told Completely in Dialogue is a unique collection of narratives, each unfolding entirely through conversations between its characters. The book opens with "God on a Budget," a tale of a man's surreal nighttime visitation that offers a blend of the mundane and the mystical. In "Doctor in the House," readers are plunged into the emotionally charged moment when an oncologist delivers a life-altering diagnosis to a patient. The collection then shifts to "Prisoner 8086," a story about the unlikely friendship that blossoms between a prison volunteer and a habitual offender, exploring themes of redemption and human connection.

The…


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