This past Monday, Eugenie and I had the honor of attending a book signing and Q & A by Garth Stein, author of the wildly popular “The Art of Racing In The Rain“. – “Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.”
Stein’s appearance marked the first in the initial season of the Malibu Library’s ‘author events’ and it was terrific. He read from his wonderful novel, told personal anecdotes related to the creation and publication of the book including how his then-agent told him that no one would ever read a book narrated by a dog and that no one would ever be able to sell or publish it. He didn’t gloat but then again he didn’t have to, since the book has garnered all sorts of praise, spent 150+weeks on the ‘best seller’ list, earned a gazillion dollars and is now being made into a major film by Universal Studios. He was charming, funny, serious, insightful – in short, it was the author as performance artist par excellence. With my first two author ‘events’ fast approaching (details to follow shortly), this newbie was taking serious notes. I couldn’t help thinking that, unlike Garth’s racer hero, Denny, my issue is raging in the rain, the sun, the snow, the fog or just about any condition you can think of. If you’re wondering what I’m rambling about, you need to get a copy of GIMME SHELTER. And while you’re buying books, if you’ve never read Stein’s gem, get it. And you tough guys, be sure to buy a box of Kleenex, too, because you’ll need it.
|Garth Stein signs ‘Racing’ for Lou and pal Robby Mazza, foreground|