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Search tags: Water-for-Elephants
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text 2019-06-15 17:28
For Moonlight Reader
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Phantom - Susan Kay
Jack Dawkins - Charlton Daines
The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan

Books that would stand the test of time list. Only one published in the last five years, The Last Werewolf was 2014.

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text 2017-03-18 10:21
Why I Love Circus Books
Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus - James Otis
A Spark of Justice - J.D. Hawkins
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Joyland - Stephen King
The Life of P.T. Barnum, by Himself. Author's Ed - Phineas Barnum
Under the Big Top: A Season with the Circus - Bruce Feiler
The Advance Man: A Journey Into the World of the Circus - Jamie MacVicar
Mr. Stubbs's Brother: A Sequel to Toby Tyler (Illustrated Edition) (Dodo Press) - James Otis

Every child is enchanted by the idea of the circus at some point in their young life. For me, this began with the story of Toby Tyler, by James Otis, alternately titled Ten Weeks with a Circus. The story was also made into a movie called Toby Tyler as well as a radio dramatisation.

 

As I became an adult, I learned that the way animals were treated in the real life circus could be brutal at times and the big cats, whom I loved most, spent their lives in cages the size of a train car. Circuses are actually not legally allowed to keep animals in the UK. So, for me, the magic of the circus is relegated to fantasy; to the world of books.

 

While fiction satisfies my fascination with life behind the scenes of the circus, some non-fiction books are also very interesting, relating what this life was really like in the days when there was no regulation to speak of to keep the activities of circus folk completely legal. While circus is primarily a performance profession, there was a time when 'hooch tents' and violations of prohibition played a significant role on the seedy side of traveling entertainment.

 

Some stories relate this side of circus life as openly as the non-fiction books, like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. The author did her research well and many incidents, including a very amusing situation involving an elephant stealing lemonade, came from real anecdotes from circus people. There are some sad incidents concerning animals in the annals of real circus life as well, but these I try to avoid.

 

Circus books are my fantasy circus, where animals are never mistreated and it's all about the magic of entertainment. I am, however, fussy about authors doing their research properly. I have an aunt who traveled with the carnival in her youth and she taught me the differences between the circus and the carnival. A fast way to get me to abandon a book is to write in a carnival setting and mention a Big Top or to refer to circus people as Carnies.

 

These worlds have a few things in common, but distinct differences. I loved how Stephen King got around all that in Joyland by setting the story in an amusement park owned by someone who had worked for both the circus and the carnival sometime in his past.

 

I recently found another book by James Otis on Amazon, Mr. Stubb's Brother, A Sequel to Toby Tyler. It was even free! Naturally this is high on my tbr, but I want to re-read Toby Tyler again first. These circus stories bring out my inner child and for just a little while, allow me to enter a world where it's all about the magic.

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text 2017-01-01 16:03
Top 10 Reads of 2016
Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Letters To The Damned - Austin Crawley
The Other Einstein: A Novel - Marie Benedict
Phantom - Susan Kay
Gravity Spike: Episode Six of The Chronicles of the Harekaiian - Shanna Lauffey
Suicide Forest - Jeremy Bates
Einstein's Secret - Irving Belateche
High Moor - Graeme Reynolds
Demoniac Dance (The Goblin Series, #2) - Jaq D. Hawkins

There were several other very good reads, but these are the ones that kept me going back to read a little more or sitting up at night because I didn't want to stop.

 

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

 

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

 

Letters to the Damned by Austin Crawley

 

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

 

Phantom by Susan Kay

 

Gravity Spike by Shanna Lauffey

 

Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates

 

Einstein's Secret by Irving Belateche

 

High Moor by Graeme Reynolds

 

Demoniac Dance by Jaq D. Hawkins

 

 

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text 2016-12-31 13:52
December Wrap-Up
Claus: Legend of the Fat Man - Tony Bertauski
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
A Christmas Tale - Austin Crawley
The Elf: A Christmas Horror Short Story - I. Clayton Reynolds
War on Christmas - Edward Lorn
EMP - Wilson Harp
Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Leviathan - Tim Curran

I finished 14 books in December, which is a lot for me!

 

Several of these were short Christmas reads;

 

2 Classics:

 

The Chimes by Charles Dickens (New to me, but one read is enough)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (A favorite I will probably re-read again)

 

One other re-read: A Christmas Tale by Austin Crawley

That was fun to read right after A Christmas Carol because it relates.

 

Claus by Tony Bertauski

War on Christmas by Edward Lorn

The Elf by I. Clayton Reynolds

Supernatural Short Stories for Christmas by Denise Jay

 

All new reads with a Horror element. I tried other Christmas stories but DNF'd any not listed here.

 

Also,

The Christmas Cookie Plate by Julie Schoen (Cookbook for Christmas cookies)

 

Other non-holiday stories were:

EMP by Wilson Harp

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Leviathan by Tim Curran

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Woman Who Killed Donald Trump by Sam Bower

 

ALL of these were good. Seriously, I indulged in pleasure reading and only read books I really enjoyed. I read no samples whatsoever and I was all caught up with Netgalley, though I seem to have acquired 3 more from them now.

 

It has been an excellent reading month for me. :)

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review 2016-12-12 15:10
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

Loved it!

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