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Dog Days of Summer: Ten of the Best Books About Man's Best Friend

Groucho Marx famously once said: "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Wise words, to be sure—but what if you could combine the two?

I’m a dog person. I used to be a cat person, and I do still love my fluffy feline, but when I met my husband he came with a dog, and, well, I’ve gone to the other side. Fortunately for my bookish tendencies, the dog book is a well-established form.

Heck, Lassie was published in 1940, and The Call of the Wild in 1903. Yet it seems there’s been a resurgence of popularity in dog stories. I can’t seem to stop running across them. I usually finish a dog book in a puddle of tears reaching for the tissue and burying my face into my sweet puppy’s fur. A great dog book reminds us why we’re dog people in the first place—and maybe that makes us cry.

Here are my favorites in no particular order. Even though the summer is almost over, they will be a great addition to your future “Dog Days of Summer” reading list.

Quoth the Caddie “Overclubbed”: Golf in Literature

The corpus of contemporary golf literature (All Fore Revenge and The Swinger being two notable players in this niche) attempts to fuse the masochistic game of inches with the human experience.

Whatever worth you might place on, for example, Golf in the Kingdom, know that it has literary links (hehe!) to works on par (hah!) with the green jackets (HA-HA!) of the canon. In honor of the summery pastime, here’s a list of some classics that feature the game of grass and iron.

Worst-Case Wednesday: How to Survive Being Marooned

Wilson?

Imagine this: you’re a FedEx executive on board when your plane crashes and you’re marooned on a deserted island with no human contact, far away from your home. You have to find your own food and stay alive. It sounds like the plot to what could be a pretty good movie, doesn’t it? Oh wait.

Well, we may not all be Tom Hanks but if you are for whatever reason marooned on a desert island, you need to know how to survive. Turn to none other than the Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: History to find the answer. Maybe you’ll grow a beard half as impressive as Chuck Noland’s. 

How-to Tuesday: Make Your Own Chocolate TARDIS in Five Simple Steps

Chocolate, geekery, and Do-It-Yourself-ing: 3 things we love, so why not celebrate them all? Follow these 5 simple steps to make delicious melt-in-your-mouth chocolates inspired by your favorite geeky interests. You can even add special goodies to your chocolates with our bonus tips on additional ingredients!

Gather your materials:

Five Star Wars books to read to tide you over until Episode 7

Faux (gorgeous!) poster via Master Never

As we speak, in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars Episode 7 is already in production.

We’ve been teased by casting announcements, script rumors, and Carrie Fisher’s Twitter (which also features lots of pictures of her dog, Gary), but as hard as the wait is 21st century Star Wars fans can find solace in at least one thing.

Namely, unlike a previous generation who had to agonize years between Empire and Jedi we have access to tons more Star Wars stuff to fill the gap. Before the age of home entertainment, fans had to rely on multiple in-theater viewings to burn the beloved trilogy into their brain. And even after the trilogy had concluded and the VCR Revolution made it possible for people to own a piece of the magic fans felt themselves wanting more. That’s where the books came in.

It started as a few one-off novels in the 1970’s, then exploded in 1991 with The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn. Ever since, Star Wars novels have given fans a steady stream of battles, complex plot twists, new planets, new characters, and the growth and development of older ones. And the best part is that George had the foresight to insist that anyone who wanted to write a Star Wars book had to take into account what was already established. It wouldn’t make sense to have Chewbacca die in one novel and then have another author write a book where he was alive and well and celebrating Life Day. That continuity got fans even more invested in the world they came to view as an extended family in space.

So, while J.J and company get busy filming let’s take a lesson from an older and wiser generation and get busy reading!

Worst-Case Wednesday: How to Put Out a Grill Fire

Sometimes you want your burger well done. But too well done can become a problem when a fire erupts from the grill where you’re cooking your dinner. Barbecues are common in the summer, but accidents can happen. Here’s how you put out a grill fire, thanks to The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: Great Outdoors:

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