Discussion #1: A Dog Named Christmas

How about if we move forward with our first discussion of book #25, A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid? And with these questions, no less:

  • Is Kincaid’s description of the local animal shelter true to life, in your opinion?
  • Do you think the McCray family needed to adopt Christmas (the dog) more than they at first realized?
  • How has Christmas impacted the family’s daily lives so far?
  • Do you think Todd & George will hold true to their promise by returning the dog on Dec. 26th?
  • What are your thoughts on Kincaid’s writing style?

All questions and/or comments welcome, so don’t feel the least bit shy about posting your ideas here. Not only that, but we’re also seeking more readers and recommendations for book #26 – got some? Anyone? Send ’em our way!


18 Responses to Discussion #1: A Dog Named Christmas

  1. maksbestfriend says:

    * Is Kincaid’s description of the local animal shelter true to life, in your opinion?

    I have never been inside an animal shelter, but I have been past the one here in our town and the outward description of the shelter is nothing like the one that he describes in his book. Ours appears to be clean and bright and has an open play area for the dogs to run free and interact with potential new adopters.

    * Do you think the Conner family needed to adopt Christmas (the dog) more than they at first realized?

    I think so. I think that George was, or has begun to come to a point in his life where old wounds need to heal so that he can move on. And he is figuring out that he can’t/shouldn’t deprive his son of having a dog, because of what he experienced in his past. I love the mothers reasoning for adopting the dog.

    * How has Christmas impacted the family’s daily lives so far?

    I think that the dog has become a very good fit in the family. A perfect fit. He is mature, well trained, lets the family know what his needs are and has promptly started to win over the hearts of the entire family.

    * Do you think Todd & George will hold true to their promise by returning the dog on Dec. 26th?

    I think that he is going to try to hold Todd to the bargain of returning the dog on the 26th, but no, I think that dog is going to come to mean a whole lot more to the family than they know. Question?

    Have you thought about the Jake=Christmas connection? I wonder if that is the same dog? No I don’t know anything, but it seems like Christmas is serving a purpose in this family, and maybe he won’t go back to the shelter, wonder if he isn’t an angel dog, destined to be with families who need him, for whatever amount of time before moving on?

    * What are your thoughts on Kincaid’s writing style?

    I am not reading this one. I am listening to this. The reader sounds very grandfatherly. Comforting. I have actually started to drift off a couple of times listening to this book, so I have had to get up and do something else so that I would not lose my place.

  2. * Is Kincaid’s description of the local animal shelter true to life, in your opinion?
    Understaffed, lacking in resources, overcrowding… those are all descriptions that come to mind when I imagine animal shelters, which is exactly how Kincaid depicts the one in Crossing Trails. Yet I’ve never actually visited a shelter in my area, so I can’t say whether or not it’s “true to life”. The closest I can compare is to the Humane Society area in the local PetSmart store, which is sometimes overcrowded but otherwise clean and well maintained. I’m curious as to whether most animal shelters are like the one in this novel? Seems likely.

    * Do you think the McCray’s needed to adopt Christmas (the dog) more than they at first realized?
    As it turns out, even though George seemed most against even having a dog on the farm temporarily, he already appears to be getting attached to the dog’s presence. It’s almost as if Christmas is helping George resolve his prior dog experience/war memory issues. Also, Todd needs companionship, and what better pet to fit the bill than “Man’s Best Friend”? Christmas is a perfect fit for exactly what they needed.

    * How has Christmas impacted the McCray’s daily lives so far?
    Having the dog around added a sense of comfort to everyday life on the farm. Everyone seems a little more chipper since Christmas came home to stay with them, and I sense they’re already getting accustomed to having the dog around.

    * Do you think the Todd & George will hold true to their promise by returning the dog on Dec. 26th?
    Not a chance. I think Christmas is a “keeper” as George let slip while talking to the dog, and sending him back to the shelter would be a big mistake. Keeping the dog at the farm is the best choice for all, a fact they will come to realize by the time the holiday ends.

    *What are your thoughts on Kincaid’s writing style?
    I like his style, so far anyway: easy to read, to the point, chapters not too long (my favorite). This is a sweet Christmas novel that I can envision reading to kids over the holidays. Hopefully Kincaid will continue this way until the end… *fingers crossed*

  3. sarahpekkanen says:

    I’ve not read the book yet (but will keep an eye out for it now), but I have to tell you — this new animal shelter in my area has the most amazing features, including a big running water fountain to muffle the sounds of barking, so that the poor dogs don’t get too stressed, and really nice holding pens, and a great, cozy space with scratching posts and carpeted floors for cats waiting to be adopted. A kid from my sons’ school even had a birthday party there, and one of the activities was decorating milk-bones for the dogs.

    We adopted a dog last year from Lab Rescue — and she is a love. So this book sounds right up my alley!

  4. maksbestfriend says:

    What a nice treat to see you post, Sarah! Thank you for chiming in! It is nice to see that animal shelters are coming a long way from where they were in the past!

    Any news on the new book?

    How are you doing?

    Hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2009!


  5. Dory says:

    * Is Kincaid’s description of the local animal shelter true to life, in your opinion?
    I’ve spent a lot of time at our local shelter and I think it’s very true. There is always a need for more donations, more volunteers, more everything. Except animals! There is ALWAYS too many of them!

    * Do you think the McCray family needed to adopt Christmas (the dog) more than they at first realized?
    Oh sure. I think EVERYONE needs a good dog in their family! But then, I think George REALLY needed the love only an animal can give you.

    * How has Christmas impacted the family’s daily lives so far?
    I think Christmas is a dog that would fit well with any family. But then, I see that with MOST dogs. ;o) He is mild mannered and calm, very relaxing to be around. A good dog brings out the best in everyone – and it starts happening the minute one is around.

    * Do you think Todd & George will hold true to their promise by returning the dog on Dec. 26th?
    Yes, if only for the dad to prove a point to the son. But… I think they’ll go back to get him on the 27th.

    * What are your thoughts on Kincaid’s writing style?
    Very easy read… I like his style.

    I finished the book already. 🙂 Too good to put down… had to know what was going to happen! lol

    As for the next book… I just picked up one at the store that I’m eager to start. It’s called “Life’s a Beach” by Claire Cook. I have no idea if it’ll be any good or not…. I got it because I LOVE the cover pic! lol But, I’m in the middle of two other books now (*Under the Tuscan Sun* by Frances Mayes and *The Love Season* by Elin Hilderbrand) so it’ll be a while before I get to read it – if you’d like to consider it as a next option. In the meantime, I’m just going to make myself smile by looking at the cover if these grey cloudy days continue.

  6. maksbestfriend says:

    I am about an hour from finishing listening to it.

    I have Tis the Season for one last holiday book if you both want to do that?

    How about Flirting with Forty?

    or Mr. Maybe

    or The Frog Prince?

    Sleeping Arrangements

    Friday Night Knitting Club

    I have so many books can you tell?

    I am not able to buy books right now, moratorium on that right now…

  7. gregkincaid says:


    My agent told me you guys were reading my book, A Dog Named Christmas. I just wanted to stop in and say “hi” and thanks for your selection. I hope you enjoy it. I have a webpage, http://www.adognamedchristmas.com, that has information about the book and I welcome comments or questions from readers. I’m pleased to tell you that the book is going to be on the New York Times Bestsellers list, extended #31, and is even doing better in the midwest, #7 on Heartland Indie Best Seller list. I hope you all have a Merry Chirstmas!

    Greg Kincaid
    Author, A Dog Named Christmas.

  8. maksbestfriend says:

    Good morning from a snowy Oregon. I just finished listening to this book. Very good book!

  9. maksbestfriend says:


    Thank you for stopping by our book club!

    We always love it when authors drop by and tell us about themselves! Your book surely does put us all in the holiday mood. Very well written from my perspective, anyway. I happened to listen to it on Audible.com. Have you heard the readers voice? Impressive. Great job on the NY Times Best Sellers List! We, I know that I can speak for the group, say that we wish you much continued success!

    Merry Christmas,

  10. @sarahpekkanen – Always a treat having you post! The shelter you describe sounds like a dream – if only every city/county could have one so nice. I’m having my next birthday party there. 😉

    @Dory – you finished, too? I’m right behind you ladies. Keep an eye out for the final discussion. BTW: “Life’s a Beach” is one that has been on my must read list since last summer. Looks like we need another drawing, especially with the nice list @maksbestfriend posted. Thanks @all!

    @gregkincaid – What a pleasant surprise! Thank you for taking the time to visit our bookclub site, we appreciate your thoughts & kind words. Also, congratulations on all of your well deserved success on the bestsellers lists – just goes to show we’re not alone in our favorable opinion of your work!
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and yours,
    The Chicken Lit’ers

  11. sarahpekkanen says:

    Hi everyone,

    I see the author of “A Dog Named Christmas” stopped by too — that is fantastic! Your group is doing amazing things.

    Thanks so much for asking for news about my novel. I finished the editing process last month (two days before giving birth to my third boy — whew!) and now it has moved on to copy editing. We also sold the rights in Germany last month (well, I say “we” but it was actually just my agent!)

    I’m trying to work on the next novel, but it’s hard when I’m so tired that the words on the screen are blurry… but in another month or two, things will get easier. In the meantime, I’m reading quite a bit. Just finished “Twilight” and “Ask Again Later,”

    Hope you all have a wonderful holiday! I’m still eating for two, despite not being pregnant. Ah, well, the diet starts Jan. 1!


  12. Hello again, Sarah –

    We are doing fairly amazing after almost a year in the making – in fact, we’re still pinching ourselves over it all. Meanwhile, we can’t wait to get our hands on your novel so that we can go all crazy posting about it. How incredibly exciting for you AND our group!

    Also, our club sends you a big “Congratulations!” on your baby boy. I sent a personal message to you on Facebook but couldn’t close this comment without saying it on behalf of the bookclub. We Chicken Lit’ers are all about family, and your new addition is like an extension of our literary family. Cheers!

    Blessings on your holidays,
    The Chicken Lit’ers

  13. maksbestfriend says:

    Ok, I ordered both books that you Dory suggested, coming via Amazon on the 22nd, but remember it is Christmas. Bear with me, okay?

  14. @maksbestfriend – I looked at ‘Tis the Season’ while at Barnes & Noble and just wasn’t interested, so let’s go ahead with a non-Christmas novel. ‘The Frog Prince’ and ‘Life’s a Beach’ are on the way, but ‘Flirting with Forty’ and ‘The Friday Night Knitting Club’ are calling out for us to read them. Did you know a sequel just released – ‘Knit Two’? Ratings aren’t all that great, but that’s never stopped us before, has it?

    Discussion 2 on book #25 coming soon!

  15. Dory says:

    I… um… well…have a confession to make. Ya’ll don’t be mad at me but…..I accidentally read a few of these last week (*Flirting with Forty*, *The Frog Prince*, and *’Tis the Season*). Whoopsie! I apologize but…. I was bored and they were there on the shelf – what can I say? I’m a read-a-holic.

    But I’ll participate if you ask questions on any of them. 🙂

    I have not read *Friday Night Knitting Club* but am excited to hear there is a sequel! I love books that continue…. and I’ve not started *Life’s a Beach*. Yet. I’ll wait til we decide on #25. But seriously, don’t let the fact that I’ve read a few of the others you guys suggested sway your opinion in NOT reading them.

    @Brenda – Just so you know, when I started ‘Tis the Season, I was convinced I was NOT going to like it. Very differently written, like letters – which you know if you looked at it already. But, in all honesty, I was thoroughly surprised with it. I ended up really enjoying it and it was a definite *feel good* book by the end.

  16. maksbestfriend says:

    Dory, G, How do you accidentally read a few books? You know that I love you to death, but lump of coal for you! 😉

    I have FNKC on my IPOD and TTS, and I can get the follow up to FKNC on cd at our favorite store on Amazon….DECIDE!!!! lol

  17. Dory says:

    Ok, ok, duly noted. DON’T read ahead with permission!

  18. sarahpekkanen says:

    Thanks so much! Baby Dylan sends kisses to you all….

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