LIANE HANSEN, Host:
Dogs are big in the publishing world these days. Just ask NPR's Lynn Neary; she's been collecting books about dogs for months now.
LYNN NEARY: I can't say exactly when the dog books started piling up in my cubicle, but at some point, the stack reached critical mass. So I thought it might be fun to rummage through them with an expert.
So Joe Garden, I have a huge pile of books here. I'm about to empty it out onto this - I don't know if you can hear all those books.
M: It sounds like a great volume of books.
NEARY: It's a fair - you know, it's a pretty good pile, and every single one of these books has a dog on the cover.
J: the best-selling dangerous books for boys and girls, and books about dogs.
Garden would like you to believe his book was merely ghost-written by him and several other humans but actually written by, who else, dogs.
M: Rex and Sparky were the authors, and it was the authors' decision to dedicate this book to Marley.
NEARY: Marley the dog, for those of you who've been paying very little attention to the book world of late, is the subject of the wildly popular book "Marley and Me." One obvious reason for its success, apart from anything else, is that it has an irresistible dog on the cover. And if you don't like dog books, says Joe Garden, blame Marley.
M: Frankly, Marley kicked the door down and allowed everybody else, all the rest of us, to come in with our dog books and dog-book ideas.
NEARY: Just to give you a sense of what Garden's talking about, here are just a few of the titles: "Rescuing Sprite: a Dog-lover's Story of Joy and Anguish," Anna Quindlen's "Good Dog. Stay." John O'Hurley - oh, "Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It." I mean, they just go on. "Paws and Effect," that's one of my favorite - "P-A-W-S and Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs." Lots of lessons, apparently, to be learned from dogs.
But that's where Joe Garden draws the line. Dogs are cute, playful, loyal, but wise?
M: I think that if you are looking to your dog for answers so desperately, I really think you should probably find religion at that point.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)
NEARY: That's my dog. Her name's Jas(ph), short for Jasmine. I'm crazy about her. Well okay, the bark can be a little annoying, but I really do love her. She's one of those designer mutts, you know, part poodle, part cocker spaniel. I think she'd look pretty cute on the cover of a book, and I don't care what Joe Garden says. I've learned a lot from Jas - nothing I want to share with you at the moment. I'm saving it for my book. I think I might put my daughter on the cover, too.
U: Come here.
(SOUNDBITE OF CLAP)
U: Good dog, yes you are. Come here.
NEARY: Who could resist that book?
Lynn Neary, NPR News, Washington.
HANSEN: This is NPR News.
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