Thursday, December 06, 2007

Water for Elephants

As I have been blabbering about for a while, I've been reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. It is a fictional account of a "train circus" during the depression of the 1930's. Her characters come to life immediately and there was no need to wade through until you got into the story (which happened to me with Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver).

The novel starts with the animals breaking out from their cages and someone being murdered during the mayhem. Then it weaves back and forth between the narrator sitting in a nursing home as a 93-year-old-man and him recalling his days in the circus.

But it was the last 100 pages that just threw me. I'm one of those people who can figure out where a plot is going (very few movies throw me for a plot loop - although I will admit that both The Crying Game and Sixth Sense did). This novel actually had two plot twists that I didn't expect. I stayed up way past my bedtime, huddled under the covers as these characters' lives unfolded. Even the mayhem/murder scene which opens the book is still a thrilling read when the story eventually gets to it. I think that is pretty amazing since you know what is coming.

And the last plot twist left me in tears. I haven't had a book reduce me to tears in years, years. If you are looking for a book to read now or on January 10, 2008, I highly recommend Water for Elephants.

And more people are joining Day to Read on January 10, 2008 - a day to put down our keyboards and pick up a book (or magazine or the newspaper) -

Goofball noted my special powers because apparently on the same day I unveiled Day to Read, she writes, "all Flemish media bring the news that we don't teach our children a reading culture anymore."

Jan just jumped right in talking about how she loves to read. Her list is exhausting but clearly she is a woman who does love to read.

New friend Wholly Burble tells of how she and her mother would read books together during lunch before her mother left to work the evening shift as a nurse at the local hospital.

Mariposa Speaks found out about Day to Read from Wholly Burble and has taken January 10, 2008 to the Philippines. She lists her favorite books and ends with "Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere. So, read with me and the rest of the world and together, let us get there!"

Dear buddy Alex Elliot has committed to spending part of the day reading. She gets a pass since unbeknowst to me I picked her birthday (so now everyone remember to wish her a Happy Birthday

DAY TO READ - January 10, 2008

And then there is the awesome Suzanne at Suzanne Says. She created the stunning alternative button that uses a calendar to remind everyone what January 10, 2008 is. When she showed it to me I was humbled and awed by her creativity. She also gives a terrific list of short reads so you can read an entire book in one sitting. Now isn't she doubly thoughtful?

So, are you joining the party on January 10, 2008? Some of you have been asking for the button code (thank you). Just let me know when you write about Day to Read so I can sing your praises.

But also, what books do you love to talk about? What book(s) have you been meaning to read?


Regina said...

I am currently reading "Book Of The Dead" by Patricia Cornwell and last month I read "Mosaic, Pieces Of My Life So Far" by Amy Grant.
I usually like suspense, thrillers and christian thrillers. I hate romance novels, uugghh! Yea, just thought I'd throw that out there!

Suzanne said...

Many thanks for your kind words, ma'am.

I do, actually, have some thoughts about books I like to discuss and books I've been meaning to read, but not tonight. I have a bad case of blender-brain going.

Flower Child said...

I went out and bought The Princess Bride - oddly enough it was not in the children's section but the adult one. Very excited! Right now I am reading Heat by Bill Bryson - spent a year with Mario Batali learning to cook. Makes me go to bed hungry.

And I was reminded this week of how lucky I am to have so many books at my disposal - my poor stepfather living in France can't get any books in English delivered before January! I'll be sending a care package - this Water for Elephants looks good.

Jenn in Holland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn in Holland said...

(spellchecking before posting this time!)

I'm currently in the middle of the latest John Irving novel, which I admit, I am slogging through slowly. Not that it's not as disturbingly compelling as his other works, it's just that I. Have. So. Little. Time.
I am picking up Water for Elephants for Day to Read, though. No doubt about it. If I can spend the entire day with it, I will be thrilled.

Stepdad in France? Maybe I should post some books to him. What does he like to read?

And, oh, yes, Suzanne's button is awesome! What a great thing you've started here SMID!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Okay... way too weird. I posted today about a book that reduced me to tears. And I never cry at books. For me, too, two of the only plots that threw me were The Crying Game and The Sixth Sense. And then there's Room with a View in terms of our reading similarities. So I think I really MUST read Water for Elephants. Check out what I had to say about No Place Like Home - I think given some conversations we've had off list that you would find that book remarkable, too. Get past the first 50 pp. - it starts off a bit like a romance novel, but it's so much, much more.

Brillig said...

I'm the same way with plot twists. I always have them all figured out. Half an hour into the Sixth Sense, I had it all figured out (and told my date, who had already seen it, and he nearly died) and I did the same with Fight Club and with the Prestige, just to name a few. Point is, I think I should read this book. I love being thrown through a loop.

Wholly Burble said...

My mom has wholeheartedly recommended this book--I'll have to get it.

I've been working on the trilogy: Fire of Heaven; Blood of Heaven; and Threshold. All fascinating. Mom and I are sharing them.

Wholly Burble said...

P.S.--did I mention my 98 year old Mom is an avid reader? She reads constantly, rich and varied. Reading gives her the most pleasure, and the most "exercise". Not a day goes by she's not hunkered over a book, or calling the library to bring her several out to fill her upcoming week at the nursing home.

Alex Elliot said...

I had the hardest time with Water for Elephants. I couldn't put it down, but the animal lover and feminist in me were just horrified by the story.

Goofball said...

I am still playing, check it out.

Heather at Grace303 said...

I just discovered your blog, and I love it. I recently read The Glass Castle, which is amazing. I could not put it down. I am now reading the Elizabeth biography by Alison Weir. It is fairly interesting, but the author tries to create a lot of suspense about whether Elizabeth will get married. Um, I think most everyone over the age of 12 knows how that one turns out...