For your summer reading, we invite you into the world of the circus…

Grab your popcorn, cotton candy and lemonade from the butcher ( refreshment merchants, peddler of  candy, pretzels, etc.) and brush up on your circus lingo! (Did you know a cat in the circus refers to a lion, tiger, leopard or panther, while a bull refers to an elephant?) Because you have some reading to do!

 Three incredible tales, two first-novels that bring the circus with all of its’ wonder, excitement and drama to you in a way that  makes these unbelievable worlds part of yours.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; 1st novel 

In this mesmerizing debut, a competition between two magicians becomes a star-crossed love story. The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box. Welcome to Cirque des Rêves  Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway—a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in “a game,” in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

Among the Wonderful by Stacy Carlson 1st novel

In 1842 Phineas T. Barnum is a young man, freshly arrived in New York and still unknown to the world. With uncanny confidence and impeccable timing, he transforms a dusty natural history museum into a great ark for public imagination. Barnum’s museum, with its human wonders and extraordinary live animal menagerie, rises to become not only the nation’s most popular attraction, but also a catalyst that ushers America out of a culture of glassed-in exhibits and into the modern age of entertainment. In this kaleidoscopic setting, the stories of two compelling characters are brought to life. Emile Guillaudeu is the museum’s grumpy taxidermist, who is horrified by the chaotic change Barnum brings to his beloved institution. Ana Swift is a professional giantess plagued by chronic pain and jaded by a world of gawkers. Both Ana, and Guillaudeu move toward change, one against his will, propelled by a paradigm shift happening whether he likes it or not, and the other because she is struggling to survive.


The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity. She used her limited height to her limitless advantage. Melanie Benjamin pens an autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, a barnstorming tale of the antebellum south, of a bygone era, of a woman’s public triumphs and personal tragedies. Here are some of the most memorable figures from the era, and a portrait in an unforgettable, singular voice–that of Vinnie—a woman who knocked the Civil War from the headlines.

Three great books for reading groups, vacation picks, summer reads, or anywhere a gilly (Anyone not connected with the circus, an outsider or towner) likes to read. You get the point- we hope our three-ring circus of titles will entertain and enrich your lives over the summer- we also hope you fall in love with the vivid charachters in these books these are the kind of people that will stay with you.

Random House presents a three-ring circus…The Night Circus, Among the Wonderful, and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

Category: Musings

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