As you know, Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants was made a runaway betseller by book groups across the country. And you can listen to Diane Rehm's reader's review of Water from her show (recorded yesterday) here.
Now what should you read if you've finished Water for Elephants and can't wait for Gruen's next novel? Good news! Water for Elephants wasn't her first book. In fact, she had written two novels previously, Flying Changes and Riding Lessons. Both are now out in trade paperback. In her debut novel, Riding Lessons, Gruen introduces Annemarie Zimmer, a world class equestrian and Olympic hopeful whose dreams are dashed by a tragic accident when she is 18. Twenty years later she comes home to tend her dying father's New Hampshire farm and struggles with her troubled teenage daughter. She finds herself drawn to the handsome veterenarian of her youth as well as a horse trainer, and then she meets a horse who reminds her of her past in this compelling story of loss and obsession. Here is the reading guide.
Flying Changes continues Annemarie's story, as she becomes increasingly anxious that her relationship is growing stale and that her daughter's dreams of Olympic glory could pull her away from her. When tragedy strikes, the family must find renewed strength to go on. Here's the reading group guide.