Monday, March 15, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I read, a lot. I read in airports, on planes, in restaurants, in quiet hotel bars. I read in convention center food courts and tiny, dark back rooms of auto show sets. I read in strange hotel beds, in first class and coach, from sea to shining sea. I read at home with the back door open so I can hear the birds singing -- it relaxes me more.

I read fiction and non-fiction, classic literature and obscure modern writers, comedies, tragedies, coming-of-age tales. I'm not big on courtroom dramas (although I enjoy watching them on TV but not movies). I hate trashy romances. I like books that help me feel better about the human condition, a feeling which often needs repair after a ten-day auto show.

I read real books, books that I can hold in my hand with pages I can turn and paper and ink I can smell. I've toyed with the idea of getting a Kindle or an iPad because it sure would make my carry-on a lot lighter, but I like real books. I like the way they feel in my hands and the way they look on a bookshelf. Few things tell more about a person than what's in his bookshelf or the condition of her garage. Always investigate those two before investing in a friendship.

Last night I began reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This morning, at 3 AM, I finished it. I'm a sucker for dogs (any animals really, anthropomorphized or not) and stories of triumph over adversity. Plus, hello, hot fast cars! 

You must. READ. THIS. BOOK.

Here's the thing about life: it often sucks. People are mean a$$holes, jobs are lost, people you love die, houses burn down, kids are ungrateful, your underwear is too tight, you paid $10 to get into the auto show but are not allowed to sit in the Ferrari. You have unrealized dreams. Do you want to sit around and whine about the injustice of it all, or do you want to do something about it? Do you want the car to drive you, or do you want to drive the car?

Life isn't about what you can't do, it's about what you CAN do. And sometimes you have to fight through all the "can't" people to get to the "can"s. Actually, in my experience 95% of the time you have to do this. It's exhausting, but such is life. Most people either give up sometime in their 20's or never start at all, giving up on their dreams either out of complacency or simply because they have no one to believe in them. 

Maybe they just need a good dog. 

 Read more about The Art of Racing in the Rain at Garth Stein's website.


  1. I loved this book! And I'm really looking forward to the movie, but I know it won't be as good. I finished it on a plane coming back from an auto show and cried.

    Then I got home and hugged my "good dog."

  2. The movies are never, ever, ever as good - one reason why I didn't go see "The Lovely Bones." I mean, Marky Mark? Really? Anyway, last I heard Patrick Dempsey was attached to the "Art of Racing" project, and he's both a decent actor and a decent driver, so perhaps it won't totally suck.

  3. "decent" actor and "decent" race car driver?
    Sorry, but PD is a little better than "decent"!!!

    I read the book too and I loved it! Can't wait to see PD's portayal of Denny!

  4. Maybe in a few years he'll be Paul Newman, but for now "decent" will have to do : )

  5. If your carry-on is too heavy, bring one book with you and when you get to your destination, find a book store and buy yourself books at the destination.

    When you are ready to move on to your next destination, stop at the post office, grab a flat rate box and mail your read books home. Then travel lightly to your next destination and repeat. When you return home, your books will be waiting for you with the rest of your mail.

    I traveled extensively myself for a while for work and I liked getting souvenirs for myself and gifts for those at home. Rather than pack all my items in my bags and incur hefty weight charges at the airline desk, I would stop at a UPS or FedEx or even the post office and pack all my items in to a box or two and mail them home. The shipping charges were usually a fraction of what the baggage charge at the airport was.

  6. Ah life; it does often suck but without the suck or the can'ts, the good wouldn't be so sweet and the cans wouldn't rise to the top. My granny used to say "can't never could" which I thought was bull at the time but somehow has carried me far in life. I hope to drive it into my kids brain but may have to resort to implanting subliminally. keep up the good work and thanks for reminding me about the book.

    Agree on PD who seems to be acting to support his racing habit. If he sticks with both for another decade or two we'll forget how great Paul was at both and he'll seem like a worthy replacement

  7. Very nicely put, Glad to see some can still under stand that about life/goals. Keep on reading!

  8. I also read this book in a single day. I loved it that much. I live in Seattle, so it was great to have a local guy write something so great that takes place in my city. As for the movie, I think Dempsey would be a good choice.

  9. Oh, now I have to read this! I saw it featured in a magazine (Forever MX-5 for the curious) and knew I should pick it up... To see it mentioned again makes it a must. :)


Please leave a comment below - I do so love to hear from my public. I reserve the right to delete anything I want because it's my blog. Any guesses as to my identity will be deleted immediately. Spammers will be forced to attend a full season of monster truck rallies.