Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Night Circus

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book club selection for my "other" book club. I didn't want to read this book..."Not another circus book (groan)." I had read Water for Elephants a few months ago, and I didn't think I was ready for another story about elephants, tigers and trains. Besides, I wanted to introduce some of my "other" friends to black authors.

But once I started reading, I realized, this is not another circus book. It's more about magic and illusion, and a contest between two old dudes. Prospero the Enchanter, and his old nemesis "The Man in the Grey Suit," begin another challenge involving Prospero's newly discovered daughter and a young man plucked out of an orphanage by the mysterious Mr. H. Neither child knows who their opponent is, and it is never said what exactly the challenge is. Some reviewers have likened Marco and Celia to Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers. On the contrary, I think of them more like Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in the old "Trading Places" movie. When Murphy and Aykroyd's characters discover how their lives have been manipulated for a contest, they get even with their old dudes. Just as in The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peetah suddenly remember who the enemy is.

The circus is the playing field, a chess game where most of the other characters are merely pawns. It's a quirky story with performers who cross the line from illusion to real magic, or is it witchcraft. And a movie is in the works. I give the book four stars.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

November is a hard month!!

Yes, I will be doing the Nano-thing again this year. NaNoWriMo. (The National Novel Writing Month)

I did it for the first time in 2009, churning out 7000 words. I thought that was pretty good for a first timer, considering that November is hard. The last two years we have done a cruise in November, and then there is Thanksgiving. Last November I wrote about 2000 more words on the same novel. That's no better than I do without Nano to prod me on. I won't volunteer to do Thanksgiving this year. Last year we had 25 family members with us for dinner. This year the cruise will be in December.

Once you sign up, Nano sends regular emails to nag you into doing that thing. Last year I deleted a bunch without reading them. I promise myself I'll do better this year. With my declining memory, I need to finish before I forget where this story is going. It's an old people's internet romance. You know...old boy meets old girl, somebody has a heart attack, somebody winds up in the hospital. Old boy loses old girl to a middle-aged guy. Old girl forgets her meds. And have you noticed this year how many stories lead to Brazil? Somehow there will be a happy ending.

I'll have to appoint a designated nagger to get me moving. Any volunteers? Can I do 1000 words for each of 20 days in November? I would have to stay away from Facebook. That would get me to the finish line.