Book Review: “The Night Circus” (2011) by Erin Morgenstern

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Cover art.

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Now that National Novel Writing Month has officially kicked off, I thought it might be nice to take a look at a novel that started out as a NaNoWriMo project and later became an international bestseller. In 2011 Erin Morgenstern wrote in her NaNo pep talk:

The circus was my variation on the wise and ancient NaNo wisdom: when in doubt, just add ninjas. I had this plodding, Edward Gorey-esque thing with mysterious figures in fur coats being mysterious and doing very little else. I got tremendously bored with it because nothing was happening so I sent the otherwise boring characters to a circus. And it worked. I ended up tossing that beginning and focusing purely on the circus. An imaginary location I created out of desperation expanded and changed and became its own story over many non-November months of revisions and more revisions and now it is all grown-up and book-shaped and published and bestselling. And it all started with NaNoWriMo.

Brilliant. Bring on the metaphorical ninjas! Read more

Reading List: Carnivals and the Circus

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Concept art for the movie “Coraline.”

A place outside of reality, a magical illusion, a sanctuary for freaks and misfits spat out by polite society… Who knows what you may find inside that tent.

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