And now, for a bit of variety. Huzzah!
Following a couple of fantasy novels, we've got Sara Gruen's historical romance novel, Water for Elephants. Elephants is a newer book, published in 2006, and Gruen is a newer writer, pursuing writing full-time for the first time in 2001. She's got four books published, and animals feature prominently in all of them. According to the inside flap, Gruen lives "with her husband, her three children, four cats, two goats, two dogs, and a horse in an environmental community north of Chicago." Here's her website, which features a "Critters in Need" link for animal activist organizations.
Anyway, this book has made its way onto a slew of bestsellers lists and has garnered some pretty high praise, so I'm looking forward to the read. The story is set in a Depression-era traveling circus. It follows the protagonist's budding relationship with the girl who rides the elephant (and, in what I assume is a completely non-romantic sense, his relationship with the elephant as well). That's about all I know, thought the author has said that the backbone for her story parallels the Biblical story of Jacob, so that's an interesting twist as well.
Finally, I have to finish this book by the 5th of October, because it's on hold and I can't renew it, so awaaaaay we go!