Garth Stein is a former car racer turned bestselling novelist.
Garth Stein, who left car racing after a serious crash, is now a bestselling novelist. Courtesy of Garth Stein

Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 13, and in light of the reading party being tonight, we thought we'd ask an author to give this morning's message.

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Garth Stein, the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain (made into a Kevin Costner movie* last summer) and other novels, says, "You guys tired of this yet? We're on day 40, at least by my accounting. I'm not sure if I'm right or not."

He's not.

"I'm just sick of it," he goes on to say. "Part of me thinks that we're, like, preparing. You know, the world is going to end and there's an asteroid headed our way and what they're really doing is getting us ready for abandoning Earth and taking that long trip to Mars. I looked it up. It's like 150 days if it's the orbit's right and you have the right rocket. We're at day 40. So we're a quarter of the way there."

In his message, Garth also says, "Have you noticed that they're basically shutting down the arts? You noticed that, right? Like, movie theaters, legitimate theater, art museums—everything. Shut down. They're shutting down the arts. Book launches and all this kinds of stuff."

Garth has a graphic novel, The Cloven—he did the words, Matthew Southworth did the drawings—coming out this summer from Fantagraphics. He was supposed to go to San Diego Comic-Con in July to promote it. Obviously that's not happening.

"So, look: coping mechanisms," he says. "I'm here to give you some advice of what I'm doing to deal with things. I do listen to a lot of audiobooks. And this is something I picked up when I was doing a whole lot of traveling for The Art of Racing in the Rain. I would be on airplanes all the time, and I've learned this thing about myself: When I open up a book and start to read it on an airplane, I fall asleep. It's kinda cool, if you want to fall asleep. But if you want to read the book, it's difficult. So what I started doing is listening to audiobooks, and then I thought: Well, I've got to do something with my hands."

Garth recommends doing jigsaw puzzles on an iPad while listening to audiobooks.
Garth recommends doing jigsaw puzzles on an iPad while listening to audiobooks. Courtesy of Garth Stein

You can read more about Garth's life here and find out more about his many projects (did you know he's also a playwright?) here. He is also the cofounder of Seattle 7 Writers, a nonprofit collective dedicated to energizing readers, writers, and their communities by providing funding, programming, and donations of free books to those in need.

Thank you, Garth, for your message, and your books, and all the ways you give back to the literary community. And thanks for the tip about audiobooks + jigsaw puzzles. And for your thoughts about Mars. Good luck with that wooden puzzle marble explorer thingy.

Everyone else: Good luck getting through today and into tonight. We hope that when you do, you'll join us for the Silent Reading Party at 6 pm.

It's a great way to unwind, even if you don't get any reading done and just do jigsaw puzzles.

* Kevin Costner doesn't appear in that trailer, but in the movie he provides the voice for the dog Enzo's thoughts, which you can hear here.


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Previously in this series:


Zoe Scofields message to the city on May 11.
Zoe Scofield's message to the city on May 11.

Aham Oluos message to the city on May 8.
Aham Oluo's message to the city on May 8.

Pete Rushs message to the city on May 7.
Pete Rush's message to the city on May 7.

Trent Moormans message to the city on May 6.
Trent Moorman's message to the city on May 6.

Renée Valencias message to the city on May 5.
Renée Valencia's message to the city on May 5.

Justin Huertass message to the city on May 4.
Justin Huertas's message to the city on May 4.

Charles Mudedes message to the city on May 1.
Charles Mudede's message to the city on May 1.

Kathryn Rathkes message to the city on April 30.
Kathryn Rathke's message to the city on April 30.

Anthony Whites message to the city on April 30.
Anthony White's message to the city on April 30.

Miss Texas 1988s message to the city.
Miss Texas 1988's message to the city.

Matt Bishops message on April 27.
Matt Bishop's message on April 27.

Cherdonnas message to the city on April 26.
Cherdonna's message to the city on April 26.

Shenandoah Daviss message to the city on April 25.
Shenandoah Davis's message to the city on April 25.

Lorena Gonzálezs message to the city on April 24.
Lorena González's message to the city on April 24.

Clyde Petersens message to the city on April 23.
Clyde Petersen's message to the city on April 23.

David Ritts message to the city on April 22.
David Ritt's message to the city on April 22.

Sara Porkalobs message to the city on April 21.
Sara Porkalob's message to the city on April 21.

Julia Sweeneys message to the city on April 20.
Julia Sweeney's message to the city on April 20.

Linda Derschangs message to the city on April 19.
Linda Derschang's message to the city on April 19.

Molly Sidess message to the city on April 18.
Molly Sides's message to the city on April 18.

Nick Garrisons message to the city on April 17.
Nick Garrison's message to the city on April 17.

Tomo Nakayamas message to the city on April 16.
Tomo Nakayama's message to the city on April 16.

Rebecca M. Daviss message to the city April 15.
Rebecca M. Davis's message to the city April 15.

Heather McHughs message to the city on April 14.
Heather McHugh's message to the city on April 14.

Brandon ONeills message to the city on April 13.
Brandon O'Neill's message to the city on April 13.

Kate Wallichs message to the city on April 12.
Kate Wallich's message to the city on April 12.

Rebecca Browns message to the city on April 11.
Rebecca Brown's message to the city on April 11.

Lucien Postlewaites message to the city on April 10.
Lucien Postlewaite's message to the city on April 10.

Betty Wetters message to the city on April 9.
Betty Wetter's message to the city on April 9.

Amanda Morgans message to the city on April 8.
Amanda Morgan's message to the city on April 8.

Nancy Guppys message to the city on April 7.
Nancy Guppy's message to the city on April 7.

Jonathan Bisss message to the city on April 6.
Jonathan Biss's message to the city on April 6.

Chris Jeffriess message to the city on April 5.
Chris Jeffries's message to the city on April 5.

Lesley Hazletons message to the city on April 4.
Lesley Hazleton's message to the city on April 4.

John Rodericks message to the city on April 3.
John Roderick's message to the city on April 3.

Bill Cartys message to the city on April 2.
Bill Carty's message to the city on April 2.

Price Suddarths message to the city on April 1.
Price Suddarth's message to the city on April 1.

Kary Waysons message to the city on March 31.
Kary Wayson's message to the city on March 31.

Ellen Forneys message to the city on March 30.
Ellen Forney's message to the city on March 30.

Major Scaless message to the city on March 29.
Major Scales's message to the city on March 29.

E. J. Kohs message to the city on March 28.
E. J. Koh's message to the city on March 28.

Ken Jenningss message to the city on March 27.
Ken Jennings's message to the city on March 27.

Demarre McGills message to the city on March 26.
Demarre McGill's message to the city on March 26.

Lynn Sheltons Message to the City on March 25th.
Lynn Shelton's Message to the City on March 25th.

Timothy White Eagles message to the city on March 24.
Timothy White Eagle's message to the city on March 24.

Cookie Coutures message to the city on March 23.
Cookie Couture's message to the city on March 23.

Sarah Rudinoffs message to the city on March 22.
Sarah Rudinoff's message to the city on March 22.

John Osebolds message to the city on March 21.
John Osebold's message to the city on March 21.


Ben Gibbards message to the city on March 21.
Ben Gibbard's message to the city on March 20.

Nathan Chans message to the city on March 19.
Nathan Chan's message to the city on March 19.

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