A Dog Year is a book by Jon Katz, detailing his life with four dogs over one year. Although Jon Katz is probably better known among internet users as the controversial Slashdot columnist, he had a professional career writing when Unix was only a year old.

This book, then, doesn't involve Katz making any large statements about the internet and society. Instead, it consists of 200 pages of Katz talking about his relationship with his dogs, a pair of well behaved Labrador retrievers, who die over the course of the year, and the pair of somewhat unpredictable border collies that replace them. The main drama in the book consists of the battle of wills between the neurotic, rebellious boder collie Devon and the equally stubborn Katz. Luckily, the book has a happy ending, with the pack reforming harmoniously.

One of the complaints that has often been made about Katz' internet writing could be made about this book. After all, many people have used the internet, and even had great changes from it, without having to write essays about its great social impact. In the same way, most Americans have owned dogs, and loved dogs and seen them die, without having to write books about how it is a life changing event. Indeed, compared to many writers, Katz' style and content could be seen as being dramatic and overwrought. I think that this is not a sign that Katz is a bad writer, or a bad thinker, but merely that he writes differently than in the minimalist, objective style that is considered par for the course in modern journalism. Personally, I think that it is great that Katz isn't afraid to share his heartfelt emotion at such things as seeing his old dogs die and finally bonding with his new dog with us.

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