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gentle readers, I am about to ask a favor of you

Hi everyone. I’ve learned that if I get 5 more reviews on Amazon for The Book of Dog by Lark Benobi then I’ll be eligible for some promotional programs. If you’ve written a review here on GR and not on Amazon, it would be a tremendous favor to me if you would also post on Amazon. Thank you and sorry for the wee promotional intrusion. Here is a picture of some whiptail lizards..

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AUDIOBOOK of The Book of Dog on Downpour ~ $8!

I wish I knew how to draw a FANFARE just now…Bernadette Dunne’s amazing reading of THE BOOK OF DOG just became available on Downpour. $8. It is my FAVORITE version of the book and I hope everyone who finds their way to reading this post goes to take a listen to the sample, here:

The Book of Dog by Lark Benobi

The sample is from Chapter 4: “Stella Steals from Kitchen Shears,” and it features the first appearance of three of my favorite characters: Stella, Margie Peach, and the Glorious Demon Baby, and Bernadette got all of their voices exactly right.

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3 New Books About Unusual Women Warriors

I’m so grateful to Ilana Lucas for including The Book of Dog by Lark Benobi in her review of “3 New Books About Unusual Woman Warriors,” published in the online magazine Brit + Co today. I especially liked this part:

“The book serves as a metaphor for female powerlessness in male and religion-dominated societies, but its six heroines are still willing to kick ass and take names…the irreverent and fantastical novel is filled with evocative, stylized cartoons and is an ode to friendship. Individually, they may not be able to change very much, but together, every dog has her day.”

Here is a link to the full review.

I feel really good when readers describe my book as an “ode to friendship,” in particular, as an ode to female friendship. The novel was inspired and shaped by my friendships with other women, especially the friendships I have made since November 2016, with women I’ve met at marches and readings and gatherings of like-minded crones… we women are just now beginning to find our collective political power.

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What to Read in the Time of Trump

As I write this I’m listening to Bob Woodward, Superhero, talking with Terry Gross about the most dangerous man who has ever sat in the White House. It seems likely I will be reading FEAR by Bob Woodward very soon, along with about a million other people.

But so many other readings–not all of them new–have helped me cope and helped me to understand the world, since Trump’s election. Here are a few off the top of my head. I’ll probably post some more later. Deepest apologies for these all being men, this time–I will make it up one day.

  1. Frederick Douglass: “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” (July 5, 1852)  Douglass’s white friends seemed to think there was nothing untoward about asking a man who had suffered slavery to give the Independence Day address to the Ladies of Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester New York, and a time when nearly four million people were enslaved in the United States. What they got from Douglass was a masterpiece of rhetorical oratory and the most eloquent definition of white privilege ever written, even though the term ‘white privilege’ wasn’t current in the 19th century. After setting the 600 people at ease with his patriotic introduction praising the Founding Fathers, he confronts them with their hypocrisy, and asks: “why have you invited me to speak to you on your Fourth of July?…The Fourth of July is yours and not mine…You may rejoice, but I must mourn.” Profoundly moving. Douglass’s speech reminds me that we have been here before, and what is true and right is the same today as it was in Douglass’s time.
  2. Runagate, Runagate: a poem by Robert Hayden. Hayden’s subject is the flight of enslaved African Americans to the north; with only slight changes it could just as well be about the flight of Latino refugees to the north. I like to be reminded that terrible things have been overcome before in this country.
  3. Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri HerreraA border story, about a very young woman making her way confidently and fearlessly through a world of men, many of whom wish to do her harm, and yet the young woman prevails, she triumphs, she finds a way to be fully alive and fully happy even with danger all around her. Much of what I love about Signs Preceding the End of the World has to do with what is not explained. The human relationships and even the landscape itself keep changing, shifting, in mirage-like realignments of feeling and color. The truth is never laid out in explicit detail and it seems right for the novel to remain in many ways unknowable, just as so many things that might happen on a journey across the border can’t ever be fully understood, or fully in control of those who make the journey. This novel gave me the sense of the border as an organic living country in its own right, with dignity as well as degradation, and hope as well as despair.
  4. The Plot Agains America by Philip RothIgnore anything you have been told about Roth’s treatment of his female characters long enough to read this book. It is one of those rare books that, like 1984, seems to capture our age before it happens. Granted, I am a Roth fan, but believe me, the women here are the core of the story and they are beautiful and deeply imagined characters.
  5. The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan. I’ve already recommended this novel, here, when I said the novel taught me more about despair in West Virginia than reading sixteen billion profiles on Trump voters ever could. The people in McClanahan’s book seem real. Maybe they are. They are unique individuals who are coping with the stress of living in an impoverished state, where jobs are few, and hope is just a cynical memory of a feeling, and where becoming an addict seems like a reasonable life choice, and where living in a Wal-Mart parking lot is just the way things are. Read it to expand your empathy in an unexpected direction, perhaps.

well, five seems enough, for now.

buy The Book of Dog by Lark Benobi

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Do you wake up every day as I do, to a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when clouds hang oppressively low in the heavens, and a crushing despair is strangling your soul, because your country is being led by an amoral, self-interested, ignorant, and possibly demented old man with his finger on the nuclear button?

Ok, true, the best solution for this feeling for each one of us to vote in the mid-terms, and volunteer at a phone bank or two, and do everything you can to avert this Apocalypse by voting them out in November.

But also, you could use some REALLY GOOD ESCAPIST LITERATURE just about now.

So here you go–my recommended required reading for times exactly like this one.

FIRST: READ ANYTHING BY POE. You probably haven’t thought of him for decades. Start with the lovely love story, Berenice, and then move on to the weirdest novel ever written, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. You will be so confused that you will momentarily forget your despair.

SECOND: Read PYM by Mat Johnson, which achieves the astounding outcome of making Poe’s novel funny. Best if read immediately following The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Pay attention to the dog backstory for best results.


Novelist Tommy Orange mentions this novel in his 2018 novel, There There, in a somewhat disparaging way. Too bad. OMG, this is the best escapist novel I have ever read.  Published in 1854, it is probably the first novel written and published by a Native American author, John Rollins Ridge. It’s breathless and remarkable and pulpy and escapist but also it’s old enough to have become of interest to literary scholars who plumb its deeper meanings. Like in this essay, published in The Paris Review.

FINALLY, read Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg.


I could have also put The Wind in the Willows or The Wizard of Oz, both of which are so beautifully written that they should be required escapist re-reads every year of your life, but I picked this one thinking you may have missed reading it somehow as a kid, and you owe it to yourself to read these stories at least once. They are very strange. They don’t unfold the way they should. And in this way they will preoccupy you and dazzle you and make you forget there is any such thing as a bilious yellow-orange character charading as president just now.

-Lark Benobi, author of, and fan of escapist literature

buy The Book of Dog by Lark Benobi

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Drawing My Way

The most unexpected delight of writing The Book of Dog was the way I one day began to draw the story as I wrote it.

You must understand, I’ve never drawn anything. I felt very silly. Because these are silly drawings.

But I loved these drawings! I have a big pile of them now, enough for every sentence I wrote practically.


Honestly a big part of the reason I decided to self-publish was because I didn’t want anyone telling me “Ok, we want to offer you a book contract, but these silly drawings simply have to go.”

I didn’t want to have to make that choice in my life.

Buy The Book of Dog by Lark Benobi

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My audiobook has been sent out for distribution today. It should start appearing on audiobook sites in 10-20 days. My book as narrated by Bernadette Dunne is my favorite version of The Book of Dog, which is a weird admission for someone who has written an illustrated book.

Sadly there isn’t a single chapter that WordPress can manage unless I compress the MP3 file until it is a tinny replica of its former self…but here is one chapter I like, which happens to be chapter 30.

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Publication Date is coming fast–to celebrate I’m giving the ebook away for free!

Hi everyone. The publication date for THE BOOK OF DOG is three weeks away and until then I am offering a free ebook to anyone who asks, here:…

I also have extra paperback ARCs and one-off prints of the novel where I was experimenting with cover design. The interiors of these books are identical or have just very minor typos that have since been corrected. If you review books on Goodreads or Amazon, use the contact form above to request a one-of-a-kind, pre-publication paperback copy of THE BOOK OF DOG~I’ll even sign it!  I will draw an extra picture! I’m excited to share this story with you and I hope to hear from you soon.

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