When I first started at Borders, I spent a year or three grabbing up every free book available to me (as well as buying a good many books just because the price seemed too good to pass up). Somewhere in my ten year stint there, of course, I figured out that wanting to read books and needing to own them were not the same thing (also that any living space is at least somewhat limited in its capacity to store all of the books you can acquire for little or nothing as a bookstore employee). Some time in those first few years, however, I saw an arc (advanced reading copy) of Uncle Boris in the Yukon and Other Shaggy Dog Stories; the topic itself didn’t jump out me, but the author did. I remember, during my YA Lit class in college, having to choose books to read in a number of different genres and share our experiences with the rest of the class; someone in that class read a book by Daniel Pinkwater, and he went on and on about how hilarious and wonderful he was. Oh, hey! I thought. Daniel Pinkwater’s supposed to be really funny! And so I took the arc.
Since advance reading copies, by definition, come before the book is actually out, that had to have happened around 2001; I haven’t gotten around to choosing it as my book to read until now. I have to say, though–I’m honestly glad I did. (And not just because I can now pass it along to someone else.) It starts out bizarre, in a ‘wow, your family life was insanely dysfunctional’ kind of way, but as it settles into its main topic, it becomes an enjoyable little bit of humorous memoir about dogs in Pinkwater’s life. It meanders a bit, but after all, cohesive plots are often not the strong point of memoirs; this one is funny enough that I didn’t particularly mind. If you like memoirs OR dogs, this book is worth taking a look at. (And if you’re itching to read it, you can comment and I’ll get it back from my friend Brittany when she finishes it and send it on to you!)