October 28, 2010
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Julie Klam's new book You Had Me at Woof may have the cutest cover of the year, but it is also one of the funniest and most heartwarming books I have read in ages. An honest look at how pets change our lives, the book is as much about the author as her canine companions.
I admit to being the perfect target audience for the book. Like Klam, I first adopted a dog as an adult, and my learning curve largely followed hers. Now I cannot imagine life without Lily by my side, and relish the things we have learned together and experiences we have had.
In my new book, You Had Me at Woof, I write about the role that dogs have played in my life. I call it a dogoir.
When I write, there is so much going on around me – kid, dogs, husband – I almost never write alone. My laptop is at our dining room table and my work is just one of the rings of the circus. I can't listen to music when I write. It would be just too much.
In the rest of my life, however, music is non-stop. I have an iPod with a sports band and anytime I'm alone and not working, it's on.
When I think about music with this book, I think about a song for each dog. Because I sing to my dogs. Each one has it's own theme song. Here they are.
Otto - "Bette Davis Eyes" – Kim Carnes
Otto was my first dog – the love of my life dog. I used to tell people that a vet had told me that Otto was extraordinary – what the vet really said was that Otto had "extraordinarily bulgy eyes." He really looked more like Marty Feldman than Bette Davis but it Bette wasn't too far off. They both had a classic elegance.
Hank – "I Wannna Be Sedated" - The Ramones
Hank was our first foster and he was absolutely blitzing off the wall nuts. He would fly across the room with his big jaws open and we'd all duck and cover. He had two speeds, flipping out and ballistic.
Sherlock - "Fat Bottomed Girls" – Queen
Sherlock was our morbidly obese foster. I loved him dearly but all anyone could say about him was how fat he was. But he wasn't a layabout, he used to hump everyone and everything so the Queen song came to mind. He was kind of a mover and shaker and a fatty.
Chip – "One Way Or Another" - Blondie
Chip was a mystery dog who came to us through odd channels and I spent the whole time we had him trying to find his home and his owners. Our hope was that his owners were out there somewhere and one way or another I was going to find them- even though they never answered their phone.
Moses - "Cheek To Cheek" – Fred Astaire
Moses was my beloved foster who I couldn't let go of. He and I were kind of in love and I used to dance around the apartment holding him in my arms and he'd put his front legs on my shoulders and look into my eyes. My husband would say, "Why don't you two get a room!"
Beatrice - "The Flight of the Bumblebee" – Rachmaninov
Beatrice is our ten-pound Boston with hummingbird energy. She's a real mental patient of a dog, completely anxious and wired. We call her Bea for short so we often play the Rachmaninoff when she is in one of her tailspins.
Dahlia – "Should I Stay or Should I Go" – The Clash
Dahlia was an elderly foster we had and we planned to adopt her out but my daughter Violet was very insistent on keeping her. I always think of "Should I stay or should I go now? If I go there will be trouble. And if I stay it will be double." Because she ended up staying and being pregnant and leaving us with two extra dogs.
Fiorello - "When You Wish Upon A Star" – Cliff Edwards
Fiorello is one of Dahlia's puppies-–the male --and he looks just like Jiminy Cricket. He's a sweet little fellow and he's the conscience of our pack. He also has huge Dumbo ears so he feels like he needs a Disney theme song.
Wisteria - "That Old Black Magic" – Louis Prima + Keely Smith
Wisteria is the female of Dahlia's puppies. If she were human she'd be a dame. I think of her in a club in the 50s with red lipstick on, cigarette in one hand, martini in the other. She'd have a big smile plastered on her face while she bobbled her head to this song.
Julie Klam and You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness links:
The Book Lady's Blog review
BrodartVibe's Blog review
Dayton Daily News review
Peggy's Pet Place review
Pei Days review
Positively Present review
Shelf Awareness review
also at Largehearted Boy:
other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists