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Gone Racin' - The Old Car Nut Book #1

Gone Racin' - The Old Car Nut Book #1
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     The editor of THE OLD CAR NUT BOOK series is David Dickinson and he has a goal; to save as many stories as he can and publish them.  He collects old car and hot rodding stories from many people and then creates an anthology.  Reader’s Digest is a magazine anthology of short stories and articles that is widely read.  Several anthologies in book format have been published; one that I reviewed recently was ROAD TRIPS, HEAD TRIPS, AND OTHER CAR-CRAZED WRITINGS, edited by Jean Lindamood with an introduction by well-known writer P. J. O’Rourke.  Anthologies are hard to review, for each short story by a writer differs remarkably from another writer in quality, timeliness and appeal.  I might laud the book and tell readers that the series of stories are remarkable and yet the public might hate the various stories.  Or I might hate the stories and the public might love them.  As a reviewer I scan the books, reading fast and so there may be parts that I miss or that I give short shrift too.  Some stories grow richer with time and take a while to deliver their message.  When I was younger I enjoyed many of the anthologies that I now find boring.  The opposite is true, some stories that I disliked years ago I now find much more interesting.
     That said, the collection of short stories, whether they are true or fiction, fulfills a crucial need for the automobile age is young, yet and we need to save as much of the history and heritage that we can.  The first automobiles began appearing sometime around the end of the 19th century, and the years before First World War saw the world change drastically because of motor driven vehicles.  Some historians posit that the piston driven vehicle (cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles) altered the environment and made our lives healthier as we no longer had streets filled with horse manure.  In 125 years our world has been transformed.  Dickinson and other editors have made it their goal to find and save for posterity the story of the “old cars,” and the people who love and drive them.  Right off the bat I can sense that Dickinson, the editor and sometimes author of a tale or two, has the right idea.  I just want to warn readers that it is important to consider all the writers of the stories as a whole and not to misjudge this fine series by some of the works that are not as well written as others.  Just as a story can be told orally by a witty and engaging story teller, so can it also be underplayed and poorly told by a person without humor, timing or comedic talent.  In fact it is harder to write a short story or bench racing tale than to orally tell your friends at a party or event.  Stories always go over better when they are spoken; the cadence, tempo and sound of one’s voice make a great difference.
     THE OLD CAR NUT BOOK #1 is a paperback book measuring six inches in width by nine inches in height and is an inch thick.  It contains 290 pages with 59 short stories, with additions; Dedication, Excerpts, Acknowledgments, Foreword, Introduction and a short two page bio on the editor, which should have been longer.  Most readers grab a book and open at the middle.  I do that; it is a normal habit in a world where people have little time and are inpatient.  But knowing something about the author/editor, looking at the people the editor used in the acknowledgment and who introduces the book is important to knowing how much we can expect out of the book.  Robust, stocky, white bearded Dickinson is from the Pacific Northwest and has always been a car guy and appears he always will be.  His picture looks like so many of my hot rodding buddies.  Dickinson plans on publishing five old car nut series books.  The first two books contained stories he wrote or collected from friends and people he met in this project and are simply about cars and the people who love them.  Book three in the series is about road trips, book four will contain stories on racing and book five will be devoted to stories for those who were born before the end of World War II.  The books sell for a very reasonable $14.99 and you can order them through Evancourt Press located in Seattle, Washington.  I would check with book stores, especially my favorite, Autobooks/Aerobooks out of Burbank, California.  You can also contact the editor at [email protected].  I have an idea that the Dickinson would like to talk to his public, maybe to glean more stories in the future.  The quality of construction is very good, but the paper is not photographically the best, although I found the photographs to be adequate.
     I recognized Ky Michaelson, the Rocket Man, and Lance Lambert, the host of Vintage Vehicle Show on television.  Remember though that it is the quality and ideas in the story that matter, not the author’s reputation.  A number of writers seemed familiar and perhaps I have met them at car shows and races.  The quality of the stories seemed very good.  Carl King and Gary Hughes told interesting stories of their first car.  Gary lost his car, a typical story and found it again, each time it cost him more than he bargained for.  The car stories are a sort of Holy Grail, a path to be taken, a crusade of the mind and spirit and in the end a coming of age tale.  The short stories average only a few pages and that is both a blessing and a curse.  For stories that are familiar to what we have heard before then the shortness is just the right size.  But occasionally there is such an interesting and completely new story told in such a way that I kept hoping Dickinson would allow the writer to take 20 or 30 pages and follow the story into more depth.  Some tales just simply demand more.  Dickinson compensated somewhat by asking a few writers for multiple stories.  Overall though I found every story interesting though some were more amusing than others. 
     There was only one woman author listed, Sue Nader, and her story was only three pages long.  Women are often overlooked in car stories and bench-racing tales.  It’s a big oversight, because I know they are observing their husbands and boyfriends and someday we will tap into that huge reservoir that the ladies possess.  Sue Nader’s story is so much like most of the women that we know; she hated the car scene at first.  When she married she went along with her husband out of loyalty and to show a sense of commitment to his love of the car culture.  Along the way she began to find an appreciation for the culture that her husband was immersed in.  Now she finds car shows and car events to be a fascination that she looks forward to.  Her story is the story of most women married to car guys.  One of the shorter tales in the book, it is also one of the most important.  The old car nut book series is worth having.  It is worth reading and then at car shows hand the book over to your better half and have her read it while you bench race with the guys.
Gone Racin’ is at [email protected].