The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Goodreads Summary: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he 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. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it.
My thoughts: Honestly, the biggest reason I picked up this book was because it was a popular download on the library ebooks page and I saw "racing" in the title. Naturally I thought it would have something to do with running! If I'd known it was a book about a race car driver narrated by his dog, I'm not sure I would have read it. I am SO GLAD that I did though! This book was, in a word, beautiful. I adored it. I am not a dog person (helloooo allergies!), but the dog in this book plays such a unique role. He is the narrator, but really he is an observer of the life and struggles of a man and his family. Enzo the dog provides an insightful, at times philosophical perspective on real life, including its connections to racing. I recommend this book 100% even if you don't like dogs or race cars--it is so moving, and the characters are deep and real. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Goodreads Summay: The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.
The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.
The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?
Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.
My thoughts: This book was a complete 180 from the one above, but I really enjoyed reading it. Whereas Racing in the Rain ripped my heart out of my chest time and time again, Five Flavors of Dumb was a completely fun and light read. I've always been intrigued by Deaf Culture and sign language, more so since moving to a school with a deaf ed program, so a book about a deaf protagonist's experiences managing a rock band totally sparked my interest. A really fun story about a group of misfits coming together, a teenager's journey of self-discovery, and a family's efforts to grow and adjust as each of them experiences changes. Perfect pool-side read!
What are you reading this week?
*As always, all photos and italicized summaries are courtesy of my favorite site, goodreads.com :)