Books: Summer Reading

Nature, novels and nostalgia for shore and lakeside

JAMES HERRIOT'S DOG STORIES

St. Martin's Press; 427 pages; $19.95

"I spent a lifetime treating the ailments of cows, horses, sheep and pigs, yet here I am, in my twilight years, bringing out a volume of my dog stories." So begins James Herriot's wholly unnecessary apologia. The Yorkshire vet's style is unadorned, his message is affectionate, and his four- footed characters are irresistible. Here he has gathered 50 recollections of canines, some of them sentimental, a few tragic and at least one--the story of a terrier male who abruptly becomes attractive to other males--as odd as anything in the Decameron. Herriot...

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