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A (mostly) bark-free bestseller list

Here are some ripped-from-the-headlines dog book suggestions, intended to restore reader fascination with all things canine.

By Randy Dotinga / November 11, 2011

Has the reading public – heaven forbid – begun to tire of the flood of dog books ushered in by the overwhelming success of "Marley and Me"?

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If Mel Brooks has taught us anything – other than to avoid bringing beans on camping trips – it's that it's good to be the king.

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Jill Abramson, the newly named executive editor of The New York Times and the first woman in the top spot, might want to take note.

She has a high-profile new book out about her new dog called "The Puppy Diaries," but it's not on the NYT's list of the top 35 best-selling nonfiction books.

If I were Abramson, I'd use my I'm-in-charge-here superpowers and issue two words to the book staff: "Recount, please!" And then I'd add: "Have you checked with the bookstores in Doghouse Junction, Calif. or Barkeyville, Pa.? Yes those are real places!"

If "Puppy Diaries" never makes it to the top, it'll have plenty of company. At the moment, readers aren't slobbering over dog books, which have swamped the publishing world since "Marley and Me." Only one – Susan Orlean's canine bio about Rin Tin Tin – is on the NYT's list.

Clearly, it's time for a new top dog. With candidates zipping around Iowa and New Hampshire, how about letting some political pooches have their say?

Here are some suggestions. (Are you listening publishers? Put down that Shih Tzu and pay attention!)
 
 "Top of the World: A Trip to Remember," by Seamus, Mitt Romney's Irish setter.
 
 Excerpt: "People have been talking for years about how my master stashed me on the roof of a station wagon for a 12-hour drive. NYT columnist Gail Collins, and I'm not making this up, mentions this in every Romney column she writes. Does she ever think about how I feel?

"The truth is that I asked to sit up there. Remember, this was during the 1970s. I simply could not stand naugahyde car seats ever since my Uncle Frank told me that my grandma, a Nauga, was captured and turned into a Barcalounger. Yes, there's no such thing as a Nauga, but I was young and gullible."
 
 "O Master! O Master!: A Personal and Political Memoir" by Dave, Dick Cheney's labrador.
 
 Excerpt: "Every scolding he ever gave me was just and correct. That's just the kind of man he is: Always right. And I blame myself for distracting him during that hunting trip."
 
 "Mr. President, a Word?: My Life in the White House," by Bo, President Obama's Portuguese water dog.
 
 Excerpt: "I said, 'Look, just tell the Republicans that you're going to take them for a ride out to the country. Then do a switcheroo, like you guys did with me. Remember? By the time I came back home, I wasn't quite the man I used to be. Well, I sure remember.'"

Randy Dotinga is a regular contributor to the Monitor’s books section.

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