Just finished off Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. Thought it was well written, and had an interesting setting--the train circuses of the 1920's and 30's. Because that is a rough era and place, the book is correspondingly harsh. But I didn't take it to be very gratuitous in its violence or its focus on the circus. I had feared that it would focus too much on the "freaks", in a voyeuristic way, but it didn't.
But it says something that the character that I most identified with was an elephant. I thought the back stories of the characters were generally not very believable. And the ending? I liked it, but I didn't buy it.
The author does have a talent for describing old age, though. Her words rung very true with a lot of the things my mom told me about aging.
Worth a look, I think. Just not my favorite.
Spiritual reading? I'm still working my way though Tortured for Christ. Harrowing, uplifting, amazing.
Next on the agenda? Two books sitting on the nightstand: Vespers in Vienna by Bruce Marshall (author of The World, the Flesh and Father Smith, which I read last year) and Not Buying It by Judith Levine. It didn't get very good reviews on Amazon, but I am intrigued by her quest - to buy nothing but necessities (as she defines them) for a year.
How 'bout you?