Author Garth Stein at Camarillo Reads 2015

I enjoy living in an area that puts on really cool community events. I participated again in Camarillo Reads, a city-wide book club where we read one novel and then see the author speak at the library. Last year’s novel was Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford and I covered it on the blog. I was a little late to the game this year, but I was able to finish the book on time and go to the talk and book signing.

This year’s was book was The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It is a novel told in the perspective of a dog. While the premise seems light-hearted, the book actually deals with heavy themes such as family, loss, and what it means to be human. The book has a lot of metaphors for life. The main (human) character is a racecar driver. His life is about being able to race in the rain – being able to carry on through hardship. The narrator, Enzo, is his dog whose soul is remarkably human and who cares very much for his owner.

Enzo teaches the reader a lot about being a human; and seeing as how Enzo isn’t one, it’s fascinating to read a dog’s perspective on the choices humans make. He discovers ideas such as your racecar goes where your eyes go. Meaning if you focus on the good, you will see good, and likewise negativity. It was a deeply philosophical book with plenty of comedic relief from our canine narrator.

Garth Stein spoke to an audience of 291 at his book signing. He talked about his family, his newest novel A Sudden Light (added to my to-read list), and ultimately about his idea for the book. Many publishers didn’t want to publish a book written from the perspective of a dog, but this novel went on to be a New York Times bestseller. It is inspired by his experience of racing cars. And it is well worth the read.

After the talk, he signed my copy of the book. I love that I have opportunities like this to meet authors and hear them speak at such a local spot. Can’t wait for next year’s novel!

Here are some photos from the event.

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