LitStack Recs: ‘I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place’ and ‘Born to Pull’

Born to Pullrec
Bob Cary
Gail de Marcken

It’s winter. Lots of us have snow. Lots of snow. Even folks who don’t normally have snow, have snow. So maybe it’s a good time for me to share with you my recommendation for a book about my favorite winter sport: sled dog racing.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t race a team. I don’t train a team, I don’t raise dogs, I haven’t even been on a sled. Once I did work at the start of a race, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. John Beargrease was a Native postal carrier, who delivered the mail along the North Shore, via dog sled. The race follows his route, and honors his memory. The atmosphere is electric; the dogs are amazing. Their enthusiasm and sheer desire to pull is just freekin’ awesome. It was always my dream to someday attend the start of the Iditarod. It’s still my dream, or one of them, at least.

But not all of us – in fact, very few of us – will be able to just up and have a sled dog experience. (Even though, did you know, you can have a sled dog vacation? Go ahead – Google it!) But if you want to learn about sled dogs, a good place to start is “Born to Pull”, written by Bob Cary, who is himself a wilderness adventurer. Written in a chunky, hunk of information style, with gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Gail de Marcken, it’s just enough to give you purchase into those marvelous canine athletes.

So whether you are in frigid Minnesota, snowy Chicago, icy Atlanta or even drought stricken California (or points North, South, East and West), relax and page through this lovely book that celebrates the very best of winter, and the incredible dogs that revel in it.

—Sharon Browning