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Frequent Contributor
Jessica
Posts: 968
Registered: ‎09-24-2006
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Introduce Yourself

Reply to this message to introduce yourself to the group, and to offer your first impressions of the book!
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourself

[ Edited ]
I seem to be the first to respond to this book of Sara Gruen's, Water for Elephants.

My first impression of this book happened within the first few pages of reading. I simply sat spellbound. This novel was, I'm trying to think of the words---so, so, vibrant, active, interesting, detailed, involved....etc., etc....until I was captivated by it's runaway dialogue! I kid you not, Sara pulled me into these characters, chapter by chapter, whether I wanted to be in their lives, or not!

The century-back-looks, had so many funny moments, and I just wanted to taste all of these adventures of this main character, Jacob Jankowski! It was so poignant, and heart wrenching at times, but joyous all the same. It throws new light on emotions, and a new perspective on what life looks like from an age that most of us will never live to see! So many personal issues to bring to light in this one novel, it simply took my breath away. The history and lives of this era, under the circus tent, was captivating. Everyone that I have talked to, about this novel, has given it two thumbs up! Bravo to the author, Sara Gruen!

P.S. My name is Kathy S., I live in Southern Calif, in a non-descript, rural community that plays golf, and basks in the sun. I've retired here, within the other community, of B&NBC, mostly hiding out in Lit. and Life.

Jessica wrote:
Reply to this message to introduce yourself to the group, and to offer your first impressions of the book!



Message Edited by KathyS on 11-20-2007 07:54 PM
Frequent Contributor
Mariposa
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourself

I read this book a while ago with another book club and it was wonderful. I don't want to say more because everyone should read it first and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I don't know how to introduce myself this morning except to say that I live in New York City.
Contributor
deacontomc
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎09-17-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

I live in the midwest and I read this book a while back, so I'm sure to pull it out again. Like the first person to introduce herself said,I enjoyed it, felt like I was smelling the smells, seeing the non-glamorous side of people, as well as the fact that so many of the characters were so vividly drawn. I'm always interested in the good and evil in a story and so I was also particularly interested in the characters here, how they coped and interacted with other.

I run a small church and am near retirement age, not that I'll do it. I started watching these book clubs because of a re-birth of my interest in Shakespeare, but nothing new seems to be happening there. I look forward to discussing this book.

Tom
New User
cedarwaxwing
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourself


Jessica wrote:
Reply to this message to introduce yourself to the group, and to offer your first impressions of the book!


I'm Dona from Maryland and I adored this book. I've recommended it to everyone I know and have bought copies for gifts for people.

I was in a reading slump and Sara Gruen's book pulled me out if it. I wish I knew exactly what it was about the book that I liked so much, but maybe I will figure that out during this discussion.
New User
Corbski
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

My name is Joan and I live in a small town in New Hampshire during the summer and winter months. Spring and fall months we get out of town and head for the west coast of Florida. I am a golfer, reader, cook, very beginner watercolor painter and still ski.

I read this book on the recommendation of a friend. Congratulations to Sara for giving us a chance to get inside the circus and also the memories of an old man. Her description of the nursing home and Mr. Jankowski's reactions to it were very poignant. Her characters were so perfectly portrayed that you know you had met each one of them sometime in your life!
Always ready for more!!!
New User
ChristopherLV
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourself

This is a story in which you can get completely absorbed. Sinners, saints and animals, you can hear the band playing and feel the straw beneath your feet.

My name is Christopher, I live in Scottsdale, AZ and I have a brand-new BN store two miles from home, it's going to be a good year! :-)
New User
maybemd
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎08-09-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hi from Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay.

I'm procrastinating. Took up the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. Am some 35,000 words into completing a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. But was searching for something to distract me from the 4,000 words I'd like to get in today. What better way than to web-surf around reading?

But this distraction is pertinent to my current project -- Gruen wrote the rough draft of Water for Elephants as a NaNoWriMo novel. Now that's inspiring.

So while I'll check back here for comments about her work, I'll be mostly tap-tapping away, creating At the River's Mouth, my very own novel.

"See" you later.

By the way, if you want to check out NaNoWriMo, here's their web address: www.nanowrimo.org
"Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing."
- Margaret Chittenden
New User
Litagent
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-21-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

I am a literary agent who reads for a living. I can be a tough critic. Overall, I quite enjoyed Water For Elephants. It is a compelling story, meticulously researched. I loved the characters and the information about the life in a traveling circus. However, I felt that the preface to the novel was a bit of a cheap trick. Gruen is clearly a talented writer, and I think she could have accomplished the same emotional surprise with more integrity.
Contributor
Gypsy
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎06-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

I read this book a couple months ago at the advice of a friend. I enjoyed it immensely, even though I'm often put off by authors who tell two stories at the same time. I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on this terrific book.

I live in Montana and work for a non-profit organization.
New User
Stormy
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-11-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

[ Edited ]
Hello,I am a 37 year old mother of 1, living in southern Ohio. I love to read just about anything, but if I don't have time to sit down with a book. I listen to them while working or driving.
This book is a fabulously thrilling joy ride! Who hasn't ever thought about running away and joining the circus? Every time I even hear the word "circus", I think of this book. My mother and 12 year old son recommended this book to me, when I first started listening to it, I was hesitant and apprehensive. After a very short time, I found myself staying at work late so I could "listen to just a little bit more". When the book was over, I just sat there thinking, "This can't be the end". We need more details about the in between years and what happens after? I won't spoil the ending but it ends about the only way it should. Thanks to Ms. Green for a wonderfully written look at the lives of some truly unforgettable characters!

Message Edited by Stormy on 11-21-2007 10:55 AM
New User
MUDSLIDE
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-21-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

I read this book last year when it first came out in hardback. Loved it! I find myself comparing it to "FRIED GREEN TOMATOES", in that is a narration trhrough an older person reviewing life when he (she) was younger. Terrific stories! Do we know if the author drew any inspiration for Elephants from Tomatoes? And I wonder if any of you have a personal perspective on whether or not this is an accurate portrayal of life in a circus during the depression years? Accurate or not, it is still a wonderful read.
Bruce, enjoying retirement in sunny Phoenix. Hot, but dry, as the tourist propaganda tells us.
New User
clarke
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-21-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

When my mother told me about this book I was not sure it was one I would enjoy.......amazing how many times your mother can be right! This book grabs you in the first several pages and just does not let go. I can't tell you how many strangers I have talked to in Barnes and Noble and told them to read this book! My name is Clarke and I am from SC. Nice to meet you all!
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourself



MUDSLIDE wrote:
I read this book last year when it first came out in hardback. Loved it! I find myself comparing it to "FRIED GREEN TOMATOES", in that is a narration trhrough an older person reviewing life when he (she) was younger. Terrific stories! Do we know if the author drew any inspiration for Elephants from Tomatoes? And I wonder if any of you have a personal perspective on whether or not this is an accurate portrayal of life in a circus during the depression years? Accurate or not, it is still a wonderful read.
Bruce, enjoying retirement in sunny Phoenix. Hot, but dry, as the tourist propaganda tells us.


Hi Bruce - As far as I can see, after reading the author's notes/interview, she did a lot of research to come as close as possible to the 'real' circus life during that period of time. Showing pictures of these actual performers in the book, and portraying these people/animals in their circus surroundings, certainly made it authentic and come alive for me.

Kathy S.
New User
rflanagan
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourself

My name is Rose and I live in San Diego. I'm not a lover of sad books so I stayed away from this book, even though Amazon kept recommending it to me based on my previous selections. My friend finished reading it and said I HAD to read it. I did, and of course I loved it and have now selected it for my book club. I don't know if it's the time period, the subject matter, the attention to detail or the characters that I loved the most but it's definitely a book that I would recommend to everyone, regardless of their reading preference.
Contributor
Duch92
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hi,
I'm a mom from ND. I had read Sara Gruen's previous novels- Riding Lessons and Flying Changes. When I heard she had a new book out- Water for Elephants I couldn't wait to read it. It turned out I waited over a year to read it since I recommended it to my book club. Everyone liked it. When I started reading I wanted to know what happened to have all the events come to a head. Further in I couldn't wait to find out what happened to Jacob. Would he stay? Would he finish school? I could go on but I'll wait until we delve into more discussion.
Frequent Contributor
fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hi all, I "read" listened to this book a few months ago. I do a lot of books on CD while I am driving. (2 hours a day to and from work). They did a wonderful job with this one using two different voices for the old and young character. I put off reading this book because I didn't think I would like something on a Circus. However, I took my granddaughter to Circus World Museum on vacation this summer and decided to give it a try. I truly enjoyed the book. I could relate to the Older Jacob and the younger one.

I live in a suburb of Chicago and am an avid reader. I look forward to the discussions.

MG
New User
ddrobney
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-21-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

[ Edited ]
Hi all!

I purchased this book when it first came out in hardcover and promptly placed it in my "to be read someday..." pile! I live in Connecticut and am a reading specialist in a primary school and often have my reading time usurped by professional books (I'm in two book groups at school right now!). I'm hoping that joining the B&N book club will encourage me to make time for this book, too! I'm enjoying the reviews and looking forward to getting into the story. I'm also just beginning The Widow's War for a January book study with a group of women teachers. = )

Dot

Message Edited by ddrobney on 11-21-2007 02:33 PM
New User
KirstenMc
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-26-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

I really enjoyed the novel (and Ms Guen's previous novels) I recommended it to my mom and her senior center book club is now reading it.
Contributor
Sappho
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-21-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hi from a reader in California:

Because Water for Elephants' author had been suggested in another of my readings, I noticed it on the "must sell now" shelf at my local bookstore. The title itself leaps at you, doesn't it? I loved finding the illustrative line inside. For me, that is always like getting to the soft chocolate center in a Tootsy Pop. (Remember finding out what the heck..the color purple...was referring to in Alice Walker's great novel?)

Anyway, by way of introduction, I like to read widely, to find books that spring off the shelf into my hands. These days, we get books from the sellers, in the good "old days," libraries were the hang out!

I think I would like to know more of what we all (you all) think about, and that is aging. Aging of course, is the topic in Water for Elephants, how one leaps aboard the train at the "beginning" of one's life, making that acute, perhaps irreversible decision as to what course shall become the future. It is definitely choice, seems to be Sara Gruen's descriptive point, but the rocking curves, sudden jolting stops, the seeming breakaways, and the ever pulling resistance to change, the imposition of other's will upon our own, and our own fears, and the ravage and beauty of suffering- this is life on a circus train, this is aging toward death, death which is simply an inevitable outcome of living!

I loved Water for Elephants: it is a wise study of the human spirit' journey, hurtling,yes, seemingly swept up in events, circumstances beyond control, yet shown to be truly, in the end , a matter of heartfelt, deeply thought out, intensely lived, choice.

A great Love story, eh?

Well, I hope I didn't bore you. What do you think, of age and dying, or age and Living, to be more precise?
Sincerely, "sappho" (they wouldn't let me use a regular name, for some reason)
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