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Author Garth Stein visits Feb. 26

New York Times best-selling author Garth Stein will read from and sign copies of his award-winning book "The Art of Racing in the Rain," at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Hastings Middle School.

His appearance is part of the 2013 Hastings Reads event and is open to the community. During the day, Stein will be working with students at the school.

Stein is the New York Times bestselling author of three novels: "The Art of Racing in the Rain," "How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets," and "Raven Stole the Moon." Stein has also written a full-length play, "Brother Jones," which received its first production in Los Angeles, in 2005 and was described as "brimming with intensity," by the L.A. Weekly.

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College (1987) and his Master of Fine Arts degree in film from Columbia University, School of the Arts (1990), Stein worked as a documentary film maker for several years, and directed, produced or co-produced several award-winning films.  

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Seattle, Stein's ancestry is diverse: his mother, a native of Alaska, is of Tlingit Indian and Irish descent; his father, a Brooklyn native, is the child of Jewish emigrants from Austria. After spending his childhood in Seattle and then living in New York City for 18 years, Stein returned to Seattle, where he lives with his family and his dog, Comet.  

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" is told through a dog narrator, Enzo. He knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul, who 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: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.

Other events

Hastings residents will be able to discuss Stein's book at several events before his visit here.

The Senior Center book group will discuss "The Art of racing in the Rain" at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Senior Center, 310 River St. The discussion is open to all interested.

That evening, Pleasant Hill Library will host a discussion from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the library. Librarian Gladys Kim will lead this discussion.

The Hastings Area YMCA is hosting a family fun night for elementary children and their parents from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. Hastings author Charlie Johnson and his dog Emmy will visit with the children. Several dogs from Rio Gran will also be present to lead a safety demonstration.

The evening is free and includes pizza. No registration is necessary.