One of my favorite novels of all time is Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. I wanted to share my list of books that I found to have a similar theme to this book. If you haven’t read Water For Elephants yet, where have you been? Amazon (as of this date) has Water for Elephants for only $4.17 on Kindle. You can’t beat that price. Please add your favorites in my comments, I am always looking for my next favorite book. Have you watched the movie with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon yet? Let me know if it is worth watching:)
I LOVED this book. Very similar to Water For Elephants with the circus theme and even more amazing, it is based on a true story. This book revolves around five inches tall tiger trainer Mable Stark who worked for the Ringling Brother’s circus in the early 1900′s. The story takes you through at least a dozen tiger maulings, 5 husbands and countless mishaps. Mable Stark lived quite an adventurous life and this book tells us her wonderful story.
Another circus themed book, Geek Love is a cult favorite for many readers. Once you read it, it will become your favorite too. It is in my top five list of favorites and lingered in my mind for months. It is a difficult and dark read, not for the faint of heart or PG readers. Most of the time, I am in this category, but I had to pick it up. If this type of book doesn’t disturb you, then go, run, now to buy it. The story is just too good and like no other book I have read or probably will ever read. Believe me, I’ve been trying to find one.
This delightful and lovely book featuring another animal is recommended by Sara Gruen herself. This is what she has to say about it. “The Art of Racing in The Rain has everything: love, tragedy, redemption, danger, and–most especially–the canine narrator Enzo. This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human.” (Sara Gruen, Author of Water for Elephants )
Grade 9 Up– Abel, 17, is the normal son of a legless father and an armless mother. He lives with other oddities in a midget village where they put on shows. He is restless and wants his own life. His romantic experiences have been limited to kissing the hairy Dog-Faced Girl. He runs away and joins a traveling circus, unaware that Apollo, 12, the hairy Puppy Boy, has followed him and stowed away aboard the circus train. Apollo is discovered and caged like an animal and Abel is thrown from the train by his fellow performers. Apollo escapes and they are reunited, working as servants in a brothel until Dr. Mink’s Traveling Monster Menagerie arrives in town and Apollo is lured into joining them. Most of the show’s monsters are children who were born with deformities and have been sold to or kidnapped by Mink. As Abel attempts to free them, he is plagued by dreams of a beautiful Egyptian woman who repeatedly throws herself at him. Somehow a ring he received as a gift allows this female mummy to come alive. Set in 1899, this gripping and sensual, but never explicitly sexual tale is a fascinating mixture of fantasy and reality. Abel’s growth from an immature, irresponsible teen into a more mature, dependable young man ready to take charge is well done. The author never loses sight of the fact that despite their unusual appearances, all of the characters are human.
I printed a list from LibraryThing.com of the most common books that readers of Water For Elephants recommend below. I have read almost all of the books on the list and these are some fabulous titles that I would also recommend.
My favorites books from the list that I would tell you to read first. These are books that I wished I hadn’t already read, they are that great! Happy Reading!
LIBRARY THING LIST OF SIMILAR BOOKS
1. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (3120/10353)
2. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (2288/6298)
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2571/8128)
4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (2596/8210)
5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (3671/15472)
6. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (2675/9416)
7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (1801/4802)
8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (3390/15744)
9. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (1400/3632)
10. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001/7227)
11. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (2403/9933)
12. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (1526/4768)
13. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (1024/2494)
14. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (865/1889)
15. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (2970/14992)
16. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (1003/2615)
17. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (4745/30054)
18. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (1104/3048)
19. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (1389/4492)
20. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
21. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
22. The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve (
23. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
24. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
25. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
26. Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
27. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
28. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
29. Three Junes by Julia Glass
30. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
disclosure: I am an Amazon associate. thanks for your support:)