Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Water for Elephants: A Novel

The following review is taken from and the book had an average rating of 4.5 stars:

297 of 334 people found the following review helpful:
Looking for an entertaining read? You've found it!, May 27, 2006
Lisa (NJ, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Water for Elephants: A Novel (Hardcover) What a terrific read! Water for Elephants has been lauded as a "great pick for summer", but this book is so much more. It has a depth and a substance to it that you don't usually find in your typical "beach read". It's obvious that the author did her research into the time period (post-Depression America), and the subject matter (traveling circuses). According to the author's note at the end of the book, many of the compelling anecdotes in the story were based upon real events, culled from the diaries and personal histories of old-time circus performers. As a result, Water for Elephants is a novel that boasts the rare combination of being both entertaining and informative. The main character is a cantankerous, still-sharp 93-year-old man, and his frustration at being trapped in an old man's body is palpable. The story of his incredible life and adventures with the Benzini Brothers circus unfolds in a way that is emotionally wrenching, and yet flashes of good humor pervade throughout. The characters are richly drawn, and even the animals are given complex personalities that make them a pivotal part of the story. There is something in the novel for everyone: it is equal parts adventure, mystery, fictional memoir, love story, and historical account. I highly recommend this book!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Books We Have Read (since Autumn of 1989)

1. 'Where I'm Calling From' by Raymond Carver (Jim)
2. 'The Big Sky' by A. B. Guthrie (Jeff)
3. 'Don't Worry He Wont Get Far on Foot' by John Callahan (Jim)
4. 'Siddharthra' by Herman Hesse (Jeff)
5. 'Five Smooth Stones' by Anne Fairbaine
6. 'Yellow Raft in Blue Water' by Michael Dorris
7. 'Clear and Present Danger' by Tom Clancy (Lori)
8. 'House of God' by Shem (Julie)
9. 'Athletic Shorts' by Chris Crutcher (Lori)
10. 'The Dispossed' by Ursula Le Guin (Jan)
11. 'Breakfast of Champions' by Kurt Vonnegut (Larry)
12. 'A Thief of Time' by Tony Hillerman (Jeff)
13. 'Floating in My Mother's Palm' by Ursula Hegi (Linda)
14. 'Everything/Learned in Kindegarten' by Robert Fulghum
15. 'Candide' by Voltaire (Larry)
16. 'The Shell Seekers' by Rosamunde Pilcher (Rhonda?)
17. 'From Beirut to Jerusalem' by Thomas Friedman (Jim)
18. 'The Burden of Proof' by Scott Turow (Lori)
19. 'Straight on Until Morning' by Mary Lovell (Julie)
20. 'Refuge' by Terry Tempest Williams (Jeff)
21. 'A River Runs Through It' by Norman Maclean (Rhonda)
22. 'Walden' by Thoreau (Jeff)
23. 'The Bridges of Madison County' by Robert James Waller ('group')
24. 'When Heaven and Earth Trade Places' by Le Ly Hayslip
25. 'One' by Richard Bach (Rhonda)
26. 'To Dance With the White Dog' by Terry Kay (Julie)
27. 'A Thousand Acres' by Jane Smiley (Linda)
28. 'The Naked Ape' by Desmond Morris (Jeff)
29. 'Ellis Island' by Mark Helprin (Bob)
30. 'Mary Me' by Rick Baker (Julie)
31. 'Desert Solitaire' by Edward Abbey (Jeff)
32. 'Days of Grace' by Arthur Ashe (Lori?)
33. 'In Our Time' by Ernest Hemmingway (Rhonda)
34. 'O Pioneers' by Willa Cather (Bob)
35. 'Having Our Say' by the Delany Sisters (Julie)
36. 'The Business of Fancydancing' by Sherman Alexie (Jeff)
37. 'The Starship and the Canoe' by Kenneth Brower (Jeff)
38. 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott (Linda)
39. 'Smilla's Sense of Snow' by Peter Hoeg (Julie)
40. 'Death Comes for the Archbishop' by Willa Cather (Jeff) 1995
41. 'The Hot Zone' by Richard Preston (Lori) 1995
42. 'Winter (Notes from Montana) by Rick Bass 1995
43. 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole' by Sue Townsend (Julie)
44. 'Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha' by Roddy Doyle (Julie)
45. 'Stones from the River' by Ursula Hegi (Lori) March, 1996
46. 'Snow Falling on Cedars' by David Gutderson (Rhonda)
47. 'Reviving Ophelia' by Mary Pipher Phd (Jeff?)
48. 'A Spell for Chameleon' by Piers Anthony (Jeff)
49. 'The Roaches Have No King' by Daniel E. Weiss (Julie) June, 1997
50. 'The Celestine Prophecy' by James Redfield (Julie)
51. 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde (Julie)
52. 'Homeland and Other Stories' by Barbara Kingsolver (Linda)
53. 'Myst, the Book of Atrus' by Rand Miller (Candace)
54. 'She's Come Undone' by Wally Lamb (Julie)
55. 'The Horse Wisperer' by Nicholas Evans (Candace)
56. 'The Shoot Canoes Don't They?' by Patrick McManus (Clark)
57. 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' by Mark Twain (Larry)
58. 'Ishmeal' by Daniel Quinn (Julie)
59. 'Where River Turns to Sky' by Gregg Kleiner (Julie)
60. 'Undaunted Courage' by Stephen Ambrose (Jeff)
61. ' The Shipping News' by Annie Proulx (Rhonda) February 1999
62. 'The Boys of My Youth' by Jo Ann Beard (Candace)
63. 'The Postman' by David Brin (Jeff)
64. 'Cold Sassy Tree' by Olive Ann Burns
65. 'Dandelion Wine' by Ray Bradbury (Jeff)
66. 'A Walk in the Woods' by Bill Bryson (Lori)
67. 'Wait Till Next Year' by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Candace)
68. 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' by JK Rowling (Anita)
69. 'Tales from Marguiritaville' by Jimmy Buffet (Lori)
70. 'Issac's Storm' by Erik Larson (Julie)
71. 'Third Twin' by Ken Follett (Eileen)
72. 'This Side of Brightness' by Colum McCann (Julie)
73. 'Farewell to Arms' by Ernest Hemmingway (Jeff)
74. 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' by Dylan Thomas (Deanna)
75. 'Ahab's Wife' by Sena Jeter Naslund (Julie)
76. 'Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood' by Rebecca Wells (Lee)
77. 'Downsize This' by Michael Moore (Jeff)
78. 'Shaman' by Noah Gorden (Lee)
79. 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' by David Sedaris (Julie)
80. 'Angel of Darkness' by Caleb Carr (Lori)
81. 'A Reporter's Life' by Walter Conkite (Lori?)
82. 'Deep Water Passages' by Ann Linnea (Lee) Septermber, 2001
83. 'Prodigal Summer' by Barbara Kingsolver (Julie) November, 2001
84. 'Dry Rain' by Peter Fromm (Rhonda)
**. 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens
85. 'Fried Green Tomatoes' by Fannie Flagg (Lori)
86. 'Driving Mr. Albert' by Michael Pateriti (Julie)
87. 'I, Robot' by Isaac Asimov (Jeff)
88. 'Wildlife Wars' by Terry Groze (Rhonda)
89. 'It's Always Something' by Gilda Radner (Lori) 2003
90. 'White Teeth' by Zadie Smith (Julie)
91. 'Tuesdays the Morrie' by Mitch Album (Lee)
92. 'The Professor and the Madman' by Simon Winchester (Rhonda) October, 2002
93. 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by Ray Bradbury (Candace) November, 2002
94. 'The Red Tent' by Anita Diament (Julie)
95. 'One for the Money' by Janet Evanovich (Lee) March, 2003
96. 'Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius'
97. 'Cold Mountain' by Charles Frazier (Joe) April, 2003
98. 'Bel Canto' by Ann Patchett (Julie)
99. 'Seabisquit' by Laura Hillenbrandt (Lee)
100. 'Last Days of Summer' by Steve Kluger (Lori)
101. 'Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver (Lee)
102. 'The DaVinci Code' by Dan Brown (Julie) 2004
103. 'The Immense Journey' by Loren Eiseley (Jeff) 2004
104. 'Under the Banner of Heaven' by Jon Krakauer (Lee)
105. 'When Elephants Weep' by J.M. Masson (Lee) November, 2004
106. 'Plain Song' by Kent Hauf
107. 'Hornet's Nest' by Jimmy Carter (Jeff)
108. 'Time Traveler's Wife' by Audrey Niffenger (Lee)
109. 'Counting Coup' by Larry Colton (Lori?)
110. 'Humbug' (Julie) December, 2005
111. 'Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S. Lewis (Candace) January, 2006
112. 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Jeff) February 2006
113. 'Glass Castle' by Jeanette Walls (Julie) April 19, 2006
114. 'Mountains Beyond Moutains' by Tracy Kidder (Jeff)
115. 'Bee Keeper's Daughter' by Laurie King
116. 'Confederacy of Dunces' by (Julie)
117. 'Citizen Vince' by Jess Walter
118. 'Winter Dance' by Gary Paulson (Jeff) May, 2007
119. 'Dreams From My Father' by Barak Obama (Julie)
120. 'My War' by Andy Roony (Candace)
121. 'Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold (Lee)
122. 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy (Joe) August, 2007
123. 'Girl with Pearl Earring' by Tracy Chevalier September, 2007 (group)
124. 'Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini November, 2007 (Lee)
125. 'Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates' by Mary Mapes Dodge (Jeff) January, 2008
126 'My Sister's Keeper' by Jodi Picoult March, 2008
127. 'Water for Elephants' by Sarah Gruen April, 2008 (Lee)
128. 'Three Cups of Tea" by G. Mortenson & D. O. Relin June, 2008(Lee)
129. 'Lamb; The Gospel According to Biff' by Christopher Moore, July 2008 (Julie)
130. 'Walking the Big Wild' (Y2Y) by Karsten Heurer Sept, 2008 (Lee)
131. 'My Stroke of Insight' by Jill Bolte Taylor Jan. 21, 2009 (Julie)
132. 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court' by Mark Twain March 12, '09(Jeff)
133. 'The Reader' by Bernhard Schlink May 6, '09(Jeff)
134. 'Ten Little Indians' by Sherman Alexie June 4,'09(Julie)
135. 'Dancing at Rascal Fair' by Ivan Doig July 23,'09 (Jeff)
136. 'Skeletons at the Feast' by Chris Bohjalian Sept. 16,'09 (Joe)
137. 'Seventh Son' by Orson Scott Card (Jeff)Oct 18,'09
138. 'Devil in the White City' by Eric Larson (Lee)Dec. 3,'09
139. 'The House on Mango Street' by Sandra Cisneros (Julie)Jan 6,'10
141. 'The Angel's Game' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Jeff)Feb 23,'10
142. 'Plum Wine' by Angela Davis-Gardner (Lee) March 30,'10
143. 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett (Joe) June 3,'10
144. 'Big Burn' by Timothy Egan July 15,'10
145. 'The Sparrow' by Mary Doria Russell (Julie)August, 2010
146. 'Bad Things Happen' by Harry Dolan (Julie)October 14, 2010
147. 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley (Jeff)
148. 'Patron Saint of Liars' by Ann Panchet ( ) January 11, 2011
149. 'Lacuna' by Barbara Kingsolver (Jeff)February 22,2011
150. 'Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote (Lee) March 28, 2011
151. 'Thirteen Moons' by Charles Frazier (Joe)
152. 'The Things They Carried' by Tim O'Brian (Jeff)June 13, 2011
153. 'Unaccustomed Earth' by Jhumpa Lahiri (Rhonda)
154. 'The Financial Lives of the Poets' by Jess Walter (Jeff)
155. 'Willie Mays; The Life, The Legend' by James Hirsch (Jim & Julie)
156. 'My Name is Mary Sutter' by Robin Olivier (Jim) Nov. 8, 2011
157. 'The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' by Mary Ann Shaffer (Lee)
158. 'State of Wonder' by Ann Patchett (Jeff)) 159. 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins (Julie) 160 & 161. 'On Fire' & 'Mocking Jay' by Suzanne Collins 162. 'Unbroken' by Laura Hillenbrand (Lee) 163. 'American Dervish' by Ayad Akhtar (Joe) 164. 'The Coroner's Lunch' by Colin Cotterill (Julie) 165. 'The Murder of King Tut' by James Patterson (Jim) 166. ' Animal Attraction' by Jill Shalvis (LORI)