All Henrico Reads – One Week Later

(Guest post by Bev @ Library HQ)

We had such a great day last Thursday! We wanted to give you some of the highlights. Thank you so much to everyone who attended one of the events! Garth Stein was fantastic and we hope everyone enjoyed hearing him speak as much as we did.

Our morning event included approximately 1000 middle and high school students with their teachers. Garth’s remarks were absolutely right on target according to several of the teachers who were there. He shared several nuggets of great advice for the students, talked a lot about the book and the writing process, and was so relaxed as a speaker. Students had the added bonus of seeing two 18-year-old race car drivers (Sam Hunt and C.J.Faison) outside the building prior to the program, along with their cars and they even got to go in the haulers to see how the cars are transported. Quite exciting for them.

Garth Stein reading from The Art of Racing in the Rain during the morning event.

Our lunch event was held at the Torque Club which is the corporate room that overlooks the Richmond International Raceway. Our race car drivers introduced Garth again. We had about 75 people at the luncheon and were pleased with a smaller, more casual atmosphere there. He thoroughly entertained that audience with some of his racing stories, and our bookstore was thrilled with how many books were sold to that small audience.

Afterwards, our two young drivers went down on the track and met about 200 students from the Highland Springs and Hermitage Technical Centers to talk about their jobs in racing. A great career event for the students. And the highlight was my 86-year-old friend, a former Executive Director of Virginia’s Center for the Book, who won one of the pace car rides around the track after the luncheon. To say she was thrilled with meeting another author and riding 90 miles an hour around a race track all in the same day doesn’t begin to describe her excitement.

Our crowd for the public evening event was around 900. We were thrilled with our audience! He was entertaining, thoughtful and funny. He shared his experience writing the book and the difficulty he had finding someone to publish it. We are all glad he persevered and was able to have The Art of Racing in the Rain published. After he spoke, approximately 300 people stood in line for over an hour to get their books signed by Garth.

Garth is an exceptional personality and storyteller. He gave three very different and distinct talks to the three audiences. Very impressive!

Thank you to everyone who attended one of the three All Henrico Reads events! We have posted many pictures from our day on our Flickr site. Enjoy!

We look forward to his next book!