by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & Turn Into the Skid & r & & r & A race car driver lives in Seattle with his cancer-ridden wife, their toddler daughter and a dog. In Garth Stein's novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, the narrator, wouldn't you know it, is the mutt. And with scenes set in Spangle and Whidbey Island, the novel provides fun for Northwest readers. (Stein will appear at Auntie's on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 pm.) As the narrator, Enzo is sentimental (but able to laugh at himself), nerdy and philosophical. Drivers manifest their own destiny by looking at the racing line, not at the wall where they might crash, he says: Your car goes where your eyes go, so don't fixate on your fears. Stein's book tugs at heartstrings, often too hard, but then it's told through the perspective of those adorable puppy eyes.
He's nearly 100 years old and has forgotten more about rhythm and tempo than you ever knew. Composer Elliot Carter is still bangin' around, too: Just this year, he composed "Tintinnabulation for Percussion Sextet." Tuesday, Sept. 30, attend the 2 pm lecture about Carter's career at UI's Lionel Hampton School of Music, then take in the Carter Festival at WSU, with a 7 pm lecture and 8 pm concert at Bryan Hall, where a dozen of Carter's compositions for a wide variety of instruments will be performed. Call (208) 885-6709.
History Can Be Cheap
Quick, where was the first city-owned airport in the U.S.? At the Museum of North Idaho, they know the answer (Coeur d'Alene), and they'll tell you all about it for free (on Saturday only) as part of a national get-out-of-jail-and-into-a-museum-free program. Visit www.museumni.org or www.Smithsonian.com or call (208) 664-3448, then fly with your "Wings Over North Idaho."
Let's Go! Alpaca Lunch
There are "days" for everything else, so why not National Alpaca Farms Day? With nearly 50 of the Peruvian animals -- smaller but softer than llamas -- on display out at 17005 E. MacMahan Rd. (east of Forker Road, west of Newman Lake), why not come by on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-4 pm? You can stroke the smooth "blanket" of alpacas with names like Aspen, Chablis and Orion. They promise not to spit. Visit foothillsalpacas.com.