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.