Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Water For Elephants

For the last two years or so, I've become a voracious reader - more so now than at any other time in my life. I used to hate to read books, partly because of the time commitment, but also because there are few things that can hold my fascination for any length of time. I tended to read books that were more a collection of essays rather than an actual story with a plot, dénouement, and developed characters.

But as my life seemed to calm down, so did my attention span. So I am now able to commit to reading novels and stories longer than what is considered "bathroom reading". And for the most part, I've found I read more books by male authors than female authors - mostly because I've found that female authors are a bit more descriptive and emotional in their writing. Men tend to deal more with facts (be them fiction or not).

However, I just finished reading a book titled Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. I originally bought the book for my trip to LA, but I got so engrossed in the characters and development that I was afraid I would finish the book before my trip even started. Told in flashbacks by a nursing home-ridden 90-something year old, it recounts his life following the death of his parents, finding himself virtually homeless, and running off to join a circus as the veterinarian. Every character he meets is so well-defined, and each experience so well-explained, it was like watching a movie in my head. I can easily see this made into a film, and I'd bet money on the fact that it will be. I'm aware that almost every book published is bought by a studio "just in case", but I'm sure this one will be developed.

I originally bought the book because I think elephants are so fascinating. And the story doesn't diminish my interest in them. Some parts of the book reminded me of Mitch Albom's The 5 People You Meet In Heaven, which I also enjoyed. I'm not normally a reader of fiction, preferring biographies and memoirs to anything else, but both of these books were good reads.