Garth Stein

Thanks in part to his novel being nationally featured at Starbucks, the local author's The Art of Racing in the Rain (about an ugly child-custody case, motor sports, and a talking dog) is No. 13 on The New York Times bestseller list. As his widowed protagonist tries to keep his sanity, Stein recently told me over coffee, his dog teaches him to appreciate "this whole Zen of racecars, the balance and anticipation and being in the moment." The dog actually narrates the book, and learns about Zen while watching car racing on TV. Stein himself used to race sports cars but, he's quick to add, his dog has never spoken to him. (Also: Eagle Harbor Books, 7:30 p.m. Thurs. June 26.) BRIAN MILLER

Wed., June 25, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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