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A new book

April 16, 2008
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So “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, was just as I had expected.  That is to say, it was a great book I really didn’t want to end.  It’s kind of like “Titanic” where you know how it’s going to end, but  you still get heartbroken all the same.  A great love story, Water for Elephants got me upset and slightly glassy-eyed when she goes into some detail of the abuse one of the main characters puts Rosie the Elephant through.  Anyone whose ever seen the horrors on the news shows, those bull hooks some trainers use to keep the elephants, or “bulls”, in line.  Those hooks are just that; they’re sharp picks that can tear through the elephant’s hide, creating torturous pain and leave scars.  Elephants would stampede in the circus once they’ve finally had as much abuse as they can take and strike back.

The first time I ever heard about that was 20+ years ago, on “A Current Affair” and it had me extremely upset.  I had only been to a circus maybe once or twice in my life, but my grandparents would take me to Busch Gardens in Florida pretty often, and I would ride the elephants there.  After hearing about these stories at ten or eleven years old, I swore to boycotting all of it, wishing elephants the freedom in the wild, as they deserve.

To summarize, this is an excellent book!  Truly worth reading and consuming every word printed.  Ms. Gruen did a superb job, and I look forward to reading her other works now.

The next book is “People of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks, about an Australian woman who is a book conservationist who finds an antique gem of a book, and is trying to figure out the history it’s had.

First of all, this feels like CSI: Library.  I’m only 20 or so pages into it, but it’s really good so far!  Secondly, I didn’t even know you could be a book conservationist!  I’ve totally missed my calling.  Why wasn’t I told about this in the career placement classes at my high school?  I would’ve sold my eggs to get into college so I could have this profession!  

I have no idea where this book is going to take me, but I’m ready for the ride!

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What I’m Reading

April 9, 2008
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Well, somehow I went from the subject of rescue dogs (golden retrievers most specifically) to circus animals like elephants.

Let me explain.

Sunday, I had finished “The Darkest Evening of the Year” by New York Times Bestseller and favourite, Dean Koontz.  Not more than two minutes later, “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen is in my hands, and I’m back in that happy world where I don’t have to worry about my problems and can laugh at somebody else’s, fictional or non.  Mostly fictional.

So far, I’m really enjoying this book, and I’m noticing a couple of similarities between the main character, Mr. Jacob Jankowski, a man who literally does run away and join the circus, and Mr. Paul Edgecomb, from one of my favourite books and movies of all time, Stephen King’sThe Green Mile“.  They both have a wonderful sense of nostalgia to them, “Water for Elephants” remembering the “way back when” days of peep shows only costing 50¢.  50¢ for Gods sakes!!  Hefner would’ve had a field day!  “The Green Mile” reminding us that you only had to crank the phone to get help right away, whereas now you have to dial 911 only to be put on hold.  Press 1 if you’re bleeding from the head, 2 if it’s a heart attack, 3 if your rapist is standing in front of you, or 4 if the house is on fire.  I’m sorry, 0 is not a known number, please stand by for the next operator (your Muzak choice here).

I digress.  Or at least try to.

The great thing about these books, about a lot of books, is the fact it really is the best form of escapism.  Sometimes if you’re not ready for a book, you just put it to the side and get something else.  I started reading “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole a few years back, but wasn’t getting into it, so I moved on to bigger and better (in my opinion) things.  “The Bear Went Over The Mountain” is a great book by “E. T.” original creator, William Kotzwinkle.  Depression had loomed over me like a Dementor hanging over Harry Potter, and his book helped me get out of that funk.

Anyway, back to the newest gem, “Water for Elephants“.  I read it whenever I can, which is pretty much my subway time, and just before I go to sleep.  I’m already getting the sense this is going to be one of those books I won’t want to end.  It has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for a good amount of time.  It’s been out for a while, and I’m only just now getting to pick it up. 

The book list is always growing, and just when I’m able to put a line through one, 5 more must-reads have scribbled themselves all the way at the bottom!  Santa’s list looks like a grocery reminder compared to what I’ve got lined up.  And when someone tries to talk to me while I’m reading, I become part of his “naughty” list!  I don’t know why it’s taken this long to get started.

Next book, more than likely, will be Linda Fairstein’s newest addition to the Alex Cooper saga, “Killer Heat“.  I always love reading her books!  It’s crime fiction meets New York History meets Art History, and she quickly became one of my all-time favourites about 5 years back when I first started reading “The Dead House“.  Can’t go wrong with Ms. Fairstein…just not possible!

Who’s on your book list?


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