Water for Elephants

by Sara Gruen | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 7815651256 Global Overview for this book
Registered by passiontoread of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on 4/25/2007
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12 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by passiontoread from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I've heard people talking about this book and how good it was so I decided to buy it and try it out.

Journal Entry 2 by passiontoread from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Oh, what a great book! I really enjoyed this. Very much like the HBO series "Carnival" which I also liked. Truly is amazing how circus people lived back then. I started a bookring with this book. I lent it to my neighbor before mailing it out to the bookring members since I had promised her the book before deciding on a bookring. She said she would read it quickly to get it moving on.

Journal Entry 3 by passiontoread from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on Sunday, August 05, 2007
When I get the book back from my neighbor, this will be the order for the bookring. I tried my best to make everyone happy with their shipping preferences. Here are the usual rules:

1. Please make a journal entry when you receive the book and after you've read it.
2. Please PM the next person in line when nearing the end of the book as to keep the book traveling.
3. Please read within a month.
4. Enjoy it and happy reading!

List of participants:

1. PrincessJCM (Ireland)
2. madmadge (UK)
3. Annodyne (UK) ship anywhere
4. Kizmiaz (Portugal) Europe only
5. QueenSissi (Portugal)
6. virgulina (Portugal)
7. preciousarwen (Portugal)
8. pedrogamavieira (Portugal) <<---the book is here!
9. followdream (Switzerland in Oct.) ship anywhere
10. ana-b (Netherlands) ship anywhere
13. Bluestocking88 (Washington) only in US
15. dabercro (Utah) only in US
16. vzfamily (Ohio)
17. Bookbug79 (Pennsylvania) ship anywhere
19. ndspider (Georgia)
20. Gran-ducato (Chile) ship anywhere
21. snufkin81 (South Africa) international surface mail only
22. Elsita (Portugal)
23. arugh48187 (India)
24. passiontoread (Pennsylvania) home!

Journal Entry 4 by passiontoread from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on Monday, August 13, 2007
The bookring has started! Mailed today, first class, to princessJCM. Enjoy and happy reading!!

Journal Entry 5 by PrincessJCM on Friday, August 17, 2007
Received today! I''ll be starting it tonight. Perfect timing b/c I just finished my current book this afternoon :-)

Journal Entry 6 by PrincessJCM on Friday, August 31, 2007
I finished the book. It was a wonderful story! I loved all the details and the info the author provided. The main character Jacob was so sweet. I was very happy with the ending. PM'ing the next person now.

Journal Entry 7 by PrincessJCM at -- Controlled Release in Bournemouth, Dorset United Kingdom on Friday, September 14, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (9/14/2007 UTC) at -- Controlled Release in Bournemouth, Dorset United Kingdom



Mailed today - happy reading :-)

Journal Entry 8 by madmadge from Alderholt, Hampshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The book arrived today and I'm really looking forward to reading it. I will take great care of the Pennsylvania postcard and send it on when I've finished reading it. Thank you passiontoread for including me in the ring.

Journal Entry 9 by madmadge from Alderholt, Hampshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I am constantly amazed by all the wonderful books I am reading through joining bookcrossing and this book was no exception. It gripped me from beginning to end. The characters were all so wonderfully portrayed and the story told by the main character Jacob looking back on his life when he is in his 90s was exactly the right way for me. Life in a circus in the US in the 30s was no bed of roses and Sara Ruen made this very clear to me. I could not believe that she had never been to a circus in her life and that the story was told purely through research. I loved Rosie the 'larger than life' character in the book and was so glad that it ended well.

I'm PMing the next in line and will send it out when I get the address. Thank you so much passiontoread for giving me the opportunity to read Water for Elephants - it will stay with me a very long time.

Just about to pop to the Post Office to post this to Annodyne. Happy reading.

Journal Entry 10 by Annodyne from Sale, Cheshire United Kingdom on Saturday, September 29, 2007
It's arrived! Thank you to passionread for sharing, and to madmadge for posting so promptly. Your postcard brought back happy memories of days spent camping near Maiden Castle when my back and I were still young :-)

I'm really pleased to be taking part in this bookring, which judging by previous Journal Entries is for a great book! Going to make a start on this right away....

Journal Entry 11 by Annodyne from Sale, Cheshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I found this a really entertaining and enjoyable read. The best writing has the ability to take the reader to a different place, and Water For Elephants certainly does that. I loved the circus setting, and the story moves along at a cracking pace, with a very satisfying ending.

Just one thing - animals like Rosie certainly have the ability to remember both kindness and cruelty, but do elephants really smile?

I have kizmiaz's address, and hope to post it on tomorrow.

3/10/07 - Edited to confirm that the book is now on its way to kizmiaz in Portugal.

Journal Entry 12 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Monday, October 08, 2007
Just got it, thanks.
I'll get to it soon.

Journal Entry 13 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Monday, November 05, 2007
I guess it’s unanimous then, this is a great book.
At first I wasn’t expecting much, the thing that drew to me to it was the cover and the title, I hadn’t heard of the author before and didn’t even looked it up before I got the book, but once I started reading that prologue I was pretty much hooked.
I really enjoyed the story and especially the way it’s written. The narrative is very well structured and as we accompany Jacob’s delusion at old age, with its natural limitations, we get the rush of his younger day’s adventurous life in the circus, it’s a good balance.
The characters are great and the research done by the author really shows all through the circus part of the book.
Once I started getting into the story, especially the one about young Jacob, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how good these guys in the circus had it, even though it doesn’t look that way, in a time when millions of people were unemployed and starving all over the US. The hobo alley episode really brings it to perspective, those were bad times indeed.
To wrap this up I just want to say that it was a darn good time I had reading this book, right up to the very last page.
The interview with the author and the Book Club questionnaire are very interesting and make this edition the more valuable for that.
I’ll be sending it on today (06.11.2007).

Journal Entry 14 by QueenSissi from Queluz, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Friday, November 09, 2007
Received it today. Thanks.

Journal Entry 15 by QueenSissi from Queluz, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Friday, December 21, 2007
It took me a while to get into this book but then I just couldn't stop. It was really a wonderful setting, besides I enjoy the circus very much and was always puzzled about life there.

Sending it to Virgulina as soon as I get an address.

Journal Entry 16 by usedtobe on Thursday, December 27, 2007

It arrived today, I'm really curious about this story. :-)

Journal Entry 17 by usedtobe on Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I finished this book yesterday and am completely in awe, I can't thank you enough passiontoread for letting me be part of this BR. Today I'll be passing it along to PreciousArwen and after gathering my thoughts I'll make a proper review. :-)

Journal Entry 18 by CenouraDoLado from Seixal, Setúbal Portugal on Thursday, January 31, 2008
It's with me now!
As we promised to the ring's organizer, my friend Virgulina passed it to me, yesterday, during a lovely dinner we had together.
Her comments were so motivated that i'm really looking forward to start reading it.

(Pic: Circus, Georges Seurat, 1891)

Journal Entry 19 by CenouraDoLado from Seixal, Setúbal Portugal on Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Well, *sigh*, I just want to say that this was one of the most beautiful books I have recently read.
I have some ideias to share with you all:

*I think Jacob could have been a stronger person but, at the same time, he is the only one in the book who has a handle on a moral compass and as a reward he spends most of the story beaten, broken, bleeding, swollen and hungover.

*I'm sure Marlena wasn't the only woman-performer in the show and I think this book is a bit lacking in feminine characters...

*I wanted more... For example about other performers and about the animal trainning.

*I have a passion for Elephants and I fellt in love with Rosie. I just can't imagine, even with a special wagon, how it was possible on those days to transport such a huge animal by train. I know they were transported like this but it's difficult to imagine. Probably dangerous for the animal!

*I was never a circus fan but I think this book can really give us a glimpse of the magic of this kind of show. I can even imagine Uncle Al under the spotlights saying "Welcome to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth!"

*Some of the dialogs in Polish should be translated...

*The research was superb: the circus vocabulary, the detail of the music they play when there's trouble, the day-by-day life on a train, the set-up and take-downt each time the arrive to a new city, the show choreography... everything. The photos are a 'must'...

*Jacob's life in the present is very plausible and the book ending is lovely (less plausible but lovely even so)... The articulation between past and present is very well balanced.

*I delighted myself with Albert's fate. Not a stupid bull at all ;)

*It was a really cozy read. :)

[This book reminded me of a very old film (Trapeze, 1956). The first movie I saw with Burt Lancaster where Gina Lollobrigida plays the game of love with Tony Curtis and Lancaster (trapeze artists). I saw it 20 years ago and i liked it because i think this film shows well the atmosphere of the circus also].

I have send it to PedroGamaVieira yesterday (Feb 19th) and i have to thank kizmiaz who recomended this book at the portuguese forum and to passiontoread for organizing this ring. Thanks you a lot. I will look for more Sara Gruen's books. :)))

PS-I forgot to tell passionread that i have changed my screenname from PreciousArwen to CenouradoLado.

Journal Entry 20 by PedroGamaVieira from Ponta Delgada (São Miguel), Açores Portugal on Friday, February 29, 2008
I got it! Thanks CdL aka PA, and Passiontoread

Journal Entry 21 by PedroGamaVieira from Ponta Delgada (São Miguel), Açores Portugal on Tuesday, April 22, 2008
First of all, I'm sorry it took me so long to finish it, but I'm having a real hard time getting time to read. The time is so fragmented that when I start getting rithym I allready have to stop.

Now, about the book... it is enchanting. It's is great the way the author crates the atmosphere of the circus and you can really enter it and live it deeply. That's the most interesting there is to this book. The pictures are fantastic, they really help create the atmosphere.

WARNING: From now on there may be some spoilers, so if you haven´t read the book, proceed at your own risk...

The story of the young Jacob is actually very trivial. You know it immediatly. You can see it coming, and if you can't the prologue is there to take care of it. There's a poor, pure young stable boy (almost a vet, though), the princess of the horses, and bad, bad dark knight, tied up by marriage to wich, she was trapped. The bad, bad dark knight gets to be a victim of hymself and all his bad deeds and the dragon, a dragoness, actually, like in Shrek, but is actually an elephant, like Dumbo or Dumbo's mother gets him right. He dies and the pricess is now free to marry stable boy, "as soon as the ink dries out".
But at the same time that is one of the marvels of the book: the story is so simple and the ambiance is so penetrating that you open it like a music box: like a beautifull, fragile secret. You know you heard it before, and since the music quickly repeats itself over and over, if you didn't know the tune, you will soon. But still you don´t want to close it, you don´t want it to end, you want to believe the litle toy is actually a ballerina dancing to that tune.
And that is the big marvel of ilusion: you are an active part of it, you make it with your will and you sustain it. You know there´s a trick, but you want to believe it. Just like the circus, is it not?

Loved the story of the old Jacob. I feel very attached to it. I do agree thar the end of the story isn´t very plausible, but still, once again, I would love to believe it.

Thank you so much, passion to read and CenouradoLado.
I'll send a pm for followdream to pass it on right away!

Picture: Marc Chagall - Le Cirque

Journal Entry 22 by Elsita from Almada, Setúbal Portugal on Friday, August 01, 2008
It's with me now!
Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 23 by Elsita from Almada, Setúbal Portugal on Thursday, August 28, 2008
Lovely story!
I just adored Rosie, she's just a love!
When I read this book, I always remembered a Christina Aguilera's videoclip with the song Hurt, about a circus...

I won't write more, because all of you wrote so much about the book already!

Thanks for sharing, passiontoread!
I think I'm sending the book to ana-b, because followdream only receives the book in October...

Journal Entry 24 by Elsita from Almada, Setúbal Portugal on Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Sorry for being so long with the book! (passiontoread and ana-b were informed)
Sending this to ana-b, I have her adress already.

Journal Entry 25 by Elsita at to next participant, a ring/ray -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (7/8/2009 UTC) at to next participant, a ring/ray -- Controlled Releases



To ana-b.
Sorry for the delay!

Journal Entry 26 by ana-b from Gouda, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, July 25, 2009
The book has arrived. Tnanks passiontoread and elsita.

Journal Entry 27 by ana-b from Gouda, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Monday, August 31, 2009
I liked the story. A new world to me, the circus. What a life Jacob had.


On its way to Ohio.

Journal Entry 29 by vzfamily from Willard, Ohio USA on Thursday, September 24, 2009
I received this in the mail last weekend and I just started it! Sorry it took so long to journal ana-b:) And yes, my father in law is 100% Dutch! His parents were born here just after his grandparents arrived in the US. Thank you for the post card!

Journal Entry 30 by vzfamily from Willard, Ohio USA on Monday, October 05, 2009
Wow! This is one of those books that I decided to try since 'everyone was reading it...'. I have found some of my favorite books that way. This one was no exception. WONDERFUL BOOK! It was so compelling, it felt like it was a true story. It really sucked you in and made you feel like you were there. I could invision myself with Walter, Jacob and the horses. I could picture myself helping tend to Rosie's wounds. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone! Jacob in the nursing home was heartbreaking. What an honest portrayal of someone towards the end of their life. The display of how obsolete he felt was truly touching and made me think. Thanks so much for including me in this bookring!

Journal Entry 31 by passiontoread from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Thanks so much vzfamily. Hope all is well. Will notify next in line.

Journal Entry 32 by madmadge at Christchurch, Dorset United Kingdom on Saturday, February 12, 2011

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