Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dusty, Vivid, Telling, Full of Heart...

...just a few words I would use to describe my latest read:Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, came highly recommend from two trustworthy sources: 1) Dan's Aunt Jane Carney, who I absolutely love. She never married, recently retired from her job as a librarian in an Erie, PA school, and now enjoys traveling and her book club that she has belonged to for ages. I have always wanted to be in a book club. Anyways, I was lamenting to her on a visit over the summer, complaining about how I absolutely adore reading, but never know where to look next for a good pick. Part of the reason is that I came out of a conservative background where everything I read was "Christian," and there is only so much of that genre I can take, although I do still enjoy a good Karen Kingsbury or Francine Rivers, don't get me wrong.

But I digress. The point is that Aunt Jane told me about Water for Elephants and I jotted down the title in my journal. And then promptly forgot about it.

Until source number (2) reminded me: my beloved Real Simple magazine. Last month they did a write-in survey entitled "What's Your Favorite Book Club Book?" I hungrily read every last response, and Water for Elephants was the very first novel listed. Convinced, I placed a hold online through our local library's website (how much I absolutely LOVE the fact that I can request a book online and then have it set aside, waiting for me, when I arrive at the library is, entirely, another post altogether.) I picked it up and read it in a matter of two days, tops.

I loved it.

Here is my disclaimer: there are some sections that are, um, not suitable for readers under maybe 21, or preferably not for non-married readers. But those are short in length. The overall tone of the book is so rich and deep. You will keep turning pages. There is just enough sentiment, just enough mystery, just enough of your own memories of the circus to keep every one of your senses engaged. You can taste the cotton candy, feel a fine layer of dust and sweat on your skin, and hear your heart pounding when the acts begin. And there are unexpected layers and emotions you won't anticipate in a circus novel.

The story is beautifully crafted, and the ending is absolutely what every author aspires the ending of her novel to be: perfectly satisfying and just a little cheeky.

O-kay, I promise to end what it beginning to feel like a book report (wow, it's been awhile since I've done one of those!), but I do promise to keep posting about the books I read, because I know how much I appreciate a good recommendation.

As a side note, Real Simple has started what they call a "no-obligation" book club online that you can check out. I'm planning to follow along, so I'll post some thoughts here.

Go forth and read, fellow bookworms!

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