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Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: "The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures, including an elephant who only responds to Polish commands. He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show's star performers-a romance complicated by Marlena's husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for." (Publisher's Weekly Review)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen has become a favorite for book club discussions because it is so rich in interesting characters, historical background and compelling plot. Here are several other titles that are popular with book clubs because there is so much to discuss in all of them.
The Adventures of Miles and Isabel by Tom Gilling
"Writhing with labor pains, the very pregnant actress Eliza McGinty is on stage portraying Hamlet in lieu of the drunken actor originally slated for the part, while in the audience the demure Mrs. Ernest Dowling is having contractions of her own. Miles and Isabel would share more than the same birth date in 1856; they would be children of the Industrial Revolution, fascinated by the power of turning cogs and flying machines. Isabel is the child of privilege and a victim of her own femininity in a male-dominated society, and Miles is the illegitimate son of an actress traveling as part of a levitation act, but their common love of invention and possibility would put them on a journey of souls destined to meet. Fantastical and magical, this novel is peppered with humor and the excitement of a time period laden with anticipation and opportunities for the creative, restless minds of innovation."-Booklist review
The Bee’s Kiss by Barbara Cleverly
“It's 1926, and Joe Sandilands is back from Ranipur, yet there is a darkness behind all the postwar gaiety. Against the background of a looming general strike and pressure from an unseen governmental presence, Joe struggles to solve four murders, picking his way through the political panic and rebelling against authority.”—catalog summary
Bel Canto : A Novel by Ann Patchett.
From the bestselling author of "The Magician's Assistant" comes a marvelous novel of love, opera, and terrorism set in South America. Two couples, complete opposites, fall in love; sexual identities become confused; and a horrific imprisonment is transformed into an unexpected heaven on earth.
If You Like the “Savannah Reid" Mysteries by G.A. McKevett
You Might Enjoy…
Susan Wittig Albert - The China Bayles Herbal Mysteries Series
Set in Texas, this series features herbalist China Bayles, who abandoned her career as a Houston criminal attorney to buy an herb shop in a small town located half-way between Austin and San Antonio, Texas. Each of her mysteries has a signature herb that is connected to a major theme, and each is liberally sprinkled with information on growing and using herbs.
"An Unpardonable Crime" by Andrew Taylor best fits into the category of literary mysteries in a historical setting. This is a genre that I personally enjoy reading, especially if a real person from history is featured in the story. Here are some other good titles in this genre.
Posted - 01/24/2005 : 09:32:12 AM
These fantasy titles are NOT in the McCaffrey, Bradley, or Lowry
vein and will, hopefully, satisfy your reading appetite!
"Little, Big" by John Crowley
One of my all-time favorite books - big, romantic; with plotlines
following many characters: