Posted by April Scott on 6/1/2013 to Feature of the Month
A guy walks into a bar.
Now hold that thought and image for a minute.
This is the webmaster speaking, taking over the main page of this site for the month. When Dachshund Delights management realized that this story would be a review of a book by a self-admitted grim-visaged, cranky curmudgeon, they assigned it to a noted expert in the field of unsmiling curmudgeonly crankiness. That would be me, and damnably proud of it.
Okay, now we're back to the bar. A guy has just walked in, and has taken the stool next to yours. Over the next few hours and beers, he tells you a bit about himself, a bit about his three dachshunds and a bit about the life lessons they've taught him. You're glad to let him do the talking, because he's a fine storyteller, he gives you some laughs, and he even manages to teach you a little bit. You even buy him drinks to keep him talking.
That, in short, is what you will get in the book Hounded: The Lowdown on Life from Three Dachshunds, by Matt Ziselman.
You know that we review books about dachshunds here, but I can't tell you that this is exactly that kind of book. Yes, you will meet Baxter and Maya and Molly, learn their backstories and quirks, hear about their adventures. But, as I said, this is more than a dachshund book. It's not exactly an autobiography either, but you're going to learn a lot about Matt in it. And – we've saved this for last – it's not exactly a book of life lessons, either, although there are 20 of them here, one at the end of each of the book's 20 core chapters.
Now, those of you who were eager to hear that guy in the bar telling his stories are going to start to edge toward the exits at about this point. Lessons, morals and inspiration are all very well in their place, but the last thing you're looking for is someone going all mushy on you.
Fear not. In each chapter, Matt will tell you something about himself, something about one or more of his dogs, and then, before you realize it, he's drawn a lesson from his melded narratives. The great thing about it is – and Matt addresses this when he tells us about his visit to a writer's workshop – he's found his "voice." None of the writing is stilted, didactic or even slightly treacly. It's Matt talking to you; telling you how it is. It all sounds natural. And if one or two of his stories might cause a little bit of moisture to form in the corner of your eye, it's okay. The bar is dim. No one is going to notice.
How often does a book make you wish it had a few more chapters, because you don't want it to end? This one does.
To get your copy of Hounded from Amazon, click here. If you want to visit Matt Ziselman's website, you will find it at (not surprisingly) mattziselman.com.
And, finally, since he went through all the trouble of creating it, here's the trailer for Matt's book: