On my reading shelf these days is The New Yorker’s “The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs“. Featuring rich imagery, illustrations, articles, short stories and cartoons, (all canine-themed) that have been featured in the iconic pages of the legendary weekly magazine. The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs celebrates our bond with the only animal species that have somehow believed in our egoistical notion of being a demigod.
The anthology features great writings by the likes of Malcolm Gladwell, James Thurber and Roald Dahl on dogs, even the ones labelled as bad by the society, letting us know so much about our own selves. My pick of the lot was this paragraph in Dog Days, by Marjorie Garber:
Of course, the behavior of some of these animals, if it were to be faithfully followed by human beings, would strike us as distinctly odd and perhaps psychologically unsound. It’s one thing for Hachiko to meet his master’s train for nine years; it’s another for a bereaved human being to do so. Get on with your life, we say, and we mean it. But we can demand—and receive—from dogs a highly gratifying devotion that we no longer feel comfortable about demanding from one another. In addition, these icons of absolute fidelity offer us a sense of scale. The dog, by being “superhuman” in realms like constancy and loyalty, gives us permission to temporize, vacillate, and even fail.
Whoever could have driven worldly sense into Hachiko? The dog who waited by the train station a decade and counting, patient as pregnancy, for the Professor who could never return. Move on, your master is dead. You loved him. Shibuya knows you did. Heck! Japan knows you did. But why come to the train station? Why keep waiting for someone who would never return?
Because dogs know love like we humans often don’t. They are indeed the scale.
— Abhishek Joshi (@kaalicharan) April 4, 2016
The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs covers
The copious collection also features full-blown covers of past magazine covers taking us down the memory lane.
And also, the delightful dog cartoons that have earmarked The New Yorker since early days:
By the way, there’s also another collection by The New Yorker called The Big New Yorker Book of Cats. Humans, you see, aren’t as loyal as us dogs.