The Art of Racing In the Rain: Saturday Books # 57

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel

by Garth Stein:

These days, it is not often that I stop my life to read a book but that is what I did. I read this book basically in one sitting. From the opening lines and through all 321 pages of this book I was held spellbound by a story narrated by an old dog at the end  of his time.

Enzo’s (the dog’s name) narrative is a heady mixture of emotions and wisdom that transcends any barriers that might exist between the human world and the world of our most trusted companions.

The underlying story is about racing…formula one racing and the metal state a driver must be in to compete in this sport. I am not into formula one but it is a love shared by the protagonist and the dog that shapes both of them in a profound way. As the story unfolds the importance of that mental attitude of the racer takes on deep significance in the life of Denny the man the dog loves so completely. Their shared passion allows the story to develop on so many intriguing layers that you are not free for one single moment of this book from the wet pavement of emotion.

Reading this book is like racing in the rain. You are held in a state of complete concentration, totally focused in a place where there is no thought…because to have a thought would prevent you from just being there in the moment of this book…suspended above that slippery surface of emotion where one mistake will leave you spinning out of control.

One of the key lines in the book is “That which you manifest is before you.” Throughout the book you come back to this in many ways with the simple wisdom and insight from a dog who is sure that in his next life time he will come back as a human.

From this beautiful narrative we get words like these: “I don’t care for the heaviness of real rain; I like the misting, the feeling of the tiny droplets on my muzzle and eyelashes. The freshness of the air, which has been suddenly infused with ozone and negative ions. While rain is heavy and can suppress the scents, a light shower actually amplifies smells; it releases the molecules and brings odor to life, and then carries it through the air to my nose.” From The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel

Denny must drive his life like he is racing in the rain to get through all the hurdles that have manifest before him. With the help of his companion he runs his race and you are lifted up and carried along.

This is a moving and very emotional book and I loved every wonderful moment I spent with this haunting story. I highly recommend it for it will touch you very deeply. That is what being inspired is all about.

If you read it, or have read it, I would love to hear your comments.

Here is a video of Garth Stein talking about the book.

Nick Grimshawe

Top Five Inspirational Books for Week ending July 17 2010

1. Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
by Geneen Roth

2. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsich

3. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gadwell

4. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

5. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman

Quote about Books

“Every reader finds himself. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.”

Source:  Marcel Proust

Well that’s a wrap for this week.

Get Inspired! Read a Book!

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