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Rachel-K
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First Impressions

Please use this thread to share your expectations and first impressions as you dive into "Water for Elephants." If this isn't your first time reading it, please share how you first discovered the novel!
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vivico1
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Re: First Impressions

I wasn't sure what to expect. I had no desire to read a circus book and am not one of the old circus movies fans, so actually stayed away from it when it first came out. But then, kept hearing such good things about it, but not why so when I saw it listed on here as a club and I knew one of my friends was reading it for another club last month, I decided to give it a go and I am really glad I did. It is a very good book and written well with great transitions in the "two" stories.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Peppermill
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Re: First Impressions


vivico1 wrote:
I wasn't sure what to expect. I had no desire to read a circus book and am not one of the old circus movies fans, so actually stayed away from it when it first came out. But then, kept hearing such good things about it, but not why so when I saw it listed on here as a club and I knew one of my friends was reading it for another club last month, I decided to give it a go and I am really glad I did. It is a very good book and written well with great transitions in the "two" stories.

Vicico -- first, I really like your quotation!

Second, I am another who was neutral about reading WFE, but am so glad that I did. I read it as one of our book club's selections. I found it an insightful, easy, pleasurable, yet thought-provoking read -- both tragic and comic.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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vivico1
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Re: First Impressions


Peppermill wrote:

Vicico -- first, I really like your quotation!

Second, I am another who was neutral about reading WFE, but am so glad that I did. I read it as one of our book club's selections. I found it an insightful, easy, pleasurable, yet thought-provoking read -- both tragic and comic.


Thanks. :smileywink:, ran across the quote while researching some things about Chinese customs in here for the book Peony in Love two months ago and thought it was a very good one lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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cindersue
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Re: First Impressions


vivico1 wrote:
I wasn't sure what to expect. I had no desire to read a circus book and am not one of the old circus movies fans, so actually stayed away from it when it first came out. But then, kept hearing such good things about it, but not why so when I saw it listed on here as a club and I knew one of my friends was reading it for another club last month, I decided to give it a go and I am really glad I did. It is a very good book and written well with great transitions in the "two" stories.




My friend who works at the library recommend the book, and several of us ladies reviewed for our Mom's Group. At first I thought it was somewhat depressing when he was talking about his first encounters on the train. I kept thinking ... when is this poor guy going to shower? LOL And, what a tough crowd to get to know. But then, I couldn't put it down. Glad I read it. :smileywink:
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noberly
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Re: First Impressions

I found it a little tough to get through the first part. Once I got into the book, I really enjoyed it for a variety of reasons.
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IBIS
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Re: First Impressions

I've never been a circus fan. I've always felt badly for the animals in the circus acts. No matter how well trained their acts are, the acts always seemed forced and unnatural to me. And when the Las Vegas white tiger attacked its poor trainer, that clinched it for me.

The only circus that I've ever seen are Cirque de Soleil where they only use human acrobatic acts. And part of the thrill is the original music and the wonderfully, colorful and creative costumes.

My good friends recommended Water for Elephants, so it was with great trepidation that I started to read it. And the first thing I read is a violent murder.......

And then Jacob's parents get killed, and he can't focus enough to finish his vet exams... I cried for him. Oh that poor poor boy! What else can possibly go wrong?

I wondered, what did I get into here?

And that was the first 50 pages!
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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vivico1
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Re: First Impressions


IBIS wrote:
I've never been a circus fan. I've always felt badly for the animals in the circus acts. No matter how well trained their acts are, the acts always seemed forced and unnatural to me. And when the Las Vegas white tiger attacked its poor trainer, that clinched it for me.

The only circus that I've ever seen are Cirque de Soleil where they only use human acrobatic acts. And part of the thrill is the original music and the wonderfully, colorful and creative costumes.

My good friends recommended Water for Elephants, so it was with great trepidation that I started to read it. And the first thing I read is a violent murder.......

And then Jacob's parents get killed, and he can't focus enough to finish his vet exams... I cried for him. Oh that poor poor boy! What else can possibly go wrong?

I wondered, what did I get into here?

And that was the first 50 pages!


LOL IBIS, stick with it, there are hard parts to read but aren't there always in good books? I read somewhere that a critic who loved the book, felt the murder at the first was a bit heavy handed tho LOL. Hey wait till you get to the part of the sinking of the Titanic in here! I love Cirque du Soliel! How they do that stuff is amazing.

OH, btw, no Titanic scene in this book hehe, so seee, could be worse :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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IBIS
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Re: First Impressions

Viv, you're a hoot! I'm glad you're on this club. Looking forward to sharing your insightful posts!!!

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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vivico1
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Re: First Impressions


IBIS wrote:
Viv, you're a hoot! I'm glad you're on this club. Looking forward to sharing your insightful posts!!!

IBIS


:smileyvery-happy: :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Wrighty
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Re: First Impressions

When I first saw the book I didn't know what it was about and had no idea what the title meant. I didn't pay too much attention to it at first but I kept seeing it on book lists. I heard good recommendations and this club got me started. I couldn't imagine how this topic could make a good story but it really does. There are so many highs and lows, I hate to hear about the tragedies but I can't put it down either. All of the different personalities in this story are so complex and interesting. I would love to be in a club with the author someday to ask questions and hear how she was inspired to write this.
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Peppermill
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Re: First Impressions

I would love to be in a club with the author someday to ask questions and hear how she was inspired to write this."

Wrighty -- in the meantime, you might find these interviews of Sarah Gruen of interest:

http://bestsellers.about.com/od/authorinterviews/a/sara_gruen_intv.htm

http://www.powells.com/authors/gruen.html

"Tell us how you came up with the idea for Water for Elephants.

"SG: I was actually looking through the newspaper and I saw a photograph–a vintage circus photograph–and that was really pretty much it. I ordered the book of photographs and next thing I knew I was researching it and there we are."
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Fozzie
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Re: First Impressions

I love the circus! Moreover, historical fiction is my favorite genre, so Water for Elephants interested me immediately. I just hadn't gotten to it yet before this group discussion.

The pictures intrigued me, especially the one proceeding Chapter Six. I couldn't figure out what was going on with the middle of the bottom row until I read it was a Siamese twin of sorts that was part of the man and he dressed it up. Weird! But, tidbits like that make a book for me.

The last sentence of the Prologue hooked me:
"In seventy years I never told a blessed soul."
I expected that Jacob was ready to reveal the secret!
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Wrighty
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websites


Peppermill wrote:
I would love to be in a club with the author someday to ask questions and hear how she was inspired to write this."

Wrighty -- in the meantime, you might find these interviews of Sarah Gruen of interest:

http://bestsellers.about.com/od/authorinterviews/a/sara_gruen_intv.htm

http://www.powells.com/authors/gruen.html

"Tell us how you came up with the idea for Water for Elephants.

"SG: I was actually looking through the newspaper and I saw a photograph–a vintage circus photograph–and that was really pretty much it. I ordered the book of photographs and next thing I knew I was researching it and there we are."




Thanks so much Peppermill! I will definitely check into those sites. The quote from the author was great too! :smileyhappy:
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Frank_W
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Re: First Impressions

[ Edited ]
I received this book as a gift. I had seen it on best sellers lists before receiving it, but wasn't sure if I was interested in reading a book about the circus. Seeing it was a gift, I felt I had to read it to be polite to the giver. She's an avid reader and knows good books. The title threw me a bit. I was expecting the circus to have multiple elephants with Jacob in charge of them. (Hence the title Water for Elephants --plural.) I wasn't thinking about how hard it would be to water elephants seeing they had many other animals who needed water too, and they managed to water them. But none probably drink as much as an elephant I guess. =)


PS. The "elementary teacher" part of me just had to know how much water an elephant drinks per day ... so I "Googled" it:

They can drink 100-200 L per day.
I'm pretty sure 2.2L = 1 gallon.
Therefore 45-90 gallons per day. (I hope that's correct.)

I also just read a thirsty adult bull can drink 90 gallons in 4 minutes!

http://www.australiazoo.com.au/our-animals/animal-diaries/index.php?month=january&year=2007&departme...

Message Edited by Frank_W on 11-28-2007 12:38 AM
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vivico1
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Re: First Impressions


Frank_W wrote:
I received this book as a gift. I had seen it on best sellers lists before receiving it, but wasn't sure if I was interested in reading a book about the circus. Seeing it was a gift, I felt I had to read it to be polite to the giver. She's an avid reader and knows good books. The title threw me a bit. I was expecting the circus to have multiple elephants with Jacob in charge of them. (Hence the title Water for Elephants --plural.) I wasn't thinking about how hard it would be to water elephants seeing they had many other animals who needed water too, and they managed to water them. But none probably drink as much as an elephant I guess. =)


I read that the average elephant drinks 50 gallons of water a day. Now imagine trying to haul that onto a train for just one elephant, much less more than one. From what I could tell in the story too, with train circuses, they offloaded all the animals to feed or water them, well the caged animals had to stay in the cages. The book talks about running out of food for the animals, fresh meat for sure, but what it didnt say was imagine how quickly they needed to get to water because it would take more water to give all the animals than you could even haul on a train.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Frank_W
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Re: First Impressions

Thanks Vivian.

I saw your post after I edited my original post.
It's cool to see that our sources match! =)
I think it's easier to bring the elephant to
the water, than the water to the elephant.
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vivico1
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Re: First Impressions


Frank_W wrote:
Thanks Vivian.

I saw your post after I edited my original post.
It's cool to see that our sources match! =)
I think it's easier to bring the elephant to
the water, than the water to the elephant.


I read somewhere too, that there was an old myth that people believed if you would go water the elephants you could get in free for the day, which may be why Uncle Al asked Jacob if thats what he was there for and they all laughed. First you werent going to get to do it and second imagine again, trying to haul 50 gallons of water to each elephant, however many and then even having the time or strength left to see the circus in one day lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Peppermill
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Re: First Impressions

Frank and Vivian -- thank you for a fun and educational series of posts!

Frank_W wrote:
I received this book as a gift. I had seen it on best sellers lists before receiving it, but wasn't sure if I was interested in reading a book about the circus. Seeing it was a gift, I felt I had to read it to be polite to the giver. She's an avid reader and knows good books. The title threw me a bit. I was expecting the circus to have multiple elephants with Jacob in charge of them. (Hence the title Water for Elephants --plural.) I wasn't thinking about how hard it would be to water elephants seeing they had many other animals who needed water too, and they managed to water them. But none probably drink as much as an elephant I guess.)

PS. The "elementary teacher" part of me just had to know how much water an elephant drinks per day ... so I "Googled" it:

They can drink 100-200 L per day.
I'm pretty sure 2.2L = 1 gallon.
Therefore 45-90 gallons per day. (I hope that's correct.)

I also just read a thirsty adult bull can drink 90 gallons in 4 minutes!

http://www.australiazoo.com.au/our-animals/animal-diaries/index.php?month=january&year=2007&departme...

Vivco wrote:
I read somewhere too, that there was an old myth that people believed if you would go water the elephants you could get in free for the day, which may be why Uncle Al asked Jacob if thats what he was there for and they all laughed. First you weren't going to get to do it and second imagine again, trying to haul 50 gallons of water to each elephant, however many and then even having the time or strength left to see the circus in one day lol.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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fordmg
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Re: First Impressions

I passed over this book many times thinking I wouldn't be interested in a circus story, however, I took my granddaughter on vacation to Baraboo, WI and we visited the Circus World Museum. This book kept popping up so I got the CD version from the library and listened to it for a week while driving to work. I highly recommend this book. The two stories intertwine well, and I could relate to the young Jacob and the old Jacob. Look forward to the discussion.
MG
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