(Book)Geek Love: Erin Morgenstern Tonight!

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
Erin Morgenstern,
The Night Circus

Without any doubt, Erin Morgenstern has taken up residence in my soul. It all started with her outstanding debut novel, The Night Circus. Sometimes I’m afraid to read books that are as heavily buzzed as this one was at its release, but Morgenstern did not disappoint.

From my Goodreads review…

Erin Morgenstern has created something quite spectacular in this debut novel. Playing with ideas of magic, illusion and perception, she unveils a truly fantastic circus. I really felt as though I were walking through someone’s dream.
The story itself is not much to tell — an ongoing game/duel with participants unaware of the rules or potential outcomes. More driven by characters and imagery than by plot, Morgenstern nonetheless drew me into a labyrinth of moves and countermoves. I felt the tension, especially in the love story between the players. And, rather than fill her book with peripheral characters, she makes each person three dimensional and important.

I have never read a book that transported me so completely to another place. I could see, hear, smell and even taste the surreal world of the Night Circus. And, while I found fault in the book’s ending, I knew I had found a new author to follow. A few years ago that would have meant eagerly awaiting her next release (which I will do). But now, TONIGHT, I can see her in person.

So what if Aurora is not exactly next door – this is Erin Morgenstern people!

I saw on Facebook yesterday that there are still seats available (what?!?), so, if you’re in Chicagoland, here’s the link to register for the event if you’re in the Chicago area.

“Secrets have power. And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse, because who can tell how many eyes might see them inscribed on paper, no matter how careful you might be with it. So it’s really best to keep your secrets when you have them, for their own good, as well as yours.”

I am over the moon with excitement about this. Can you tell?

***Please forgive the fact that I’ve cobbled this post together from other bits and pieces I’ve written.

Want more?

https://alenaslife.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/monday-quote-erin-morgenstern-is-coming/

https://alenaslife.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/paperback-picks-july/

Monday Quote: Erin Morgenstern is coming!

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Without any doubt, Erin Morgenstern has taken up residence in my soul. It all started with her outstanding debut novel, The Night Circus. Sometimes I’m afraid to read books that are as heavily buzzed as this one was at its release, but Morgenstern did not disappoint.

I have never read a book that transported me so completely to another place. I could see, hear, smell and even taste the surreal world of the Night Circus. And, while I found fault in the book’s ending, I knew I had found a new author to follow. A few years ago that would have meant eagerly awaiting her next release (which I will do).

But now, authors have websites and social media. So I went searching for Erin Morgenstern and found her on Twitter @ErinMorgenstern, found her website full of info and, best of all, discovered her breath-taking blog Flax-Golden Tales. Reading these short, sweet tales is like stepping into a new Night Circus tent week after week.

of boxes and blame

It was the box’s fault. That is, if boxes can be faulted for such things.

And perhaps it was not the box itself to blame as much as the fact that the box was locked.

Which would make it the fault of the lock.

Or more precisely, the fault that it could not unlock itself at will.

Had it been able to perform such a feat, the entire ordeal might well have been avoided.

The bench was the one to suffer, though, left horribly bent and broken.

They can never resist a locked box, even when the locked box is placed on a bench that cannot possibly hold their weight without buckling under the pressure of curious claws.

The box remained intact but traumatized.

No one knows what became of the lock.

In a few short lines, she transports me once again to places of wonder and beauty. These tales make me smile, make me think, and always take residence in my soul.

And, it gets better. I belong to a group through my library called Book Lovers Club. We meet every other month (in a martini bar) to each talk about one book we love. No surprise, The Night Circus has been mentioned several times over the past year. But when it came up again this month, we had the best follow-up ever!

“If any of you are interested in meeting the book’s author, she’s coming to speak at Aurora High School on October 11th as part of our Fox Valley Reads series.”

What?!?

I just about choked on my martini. Of course I’m interested. So what if Aurora is not exactly next door – this is Erin Morgenstern people!

It took a little digging on the Oswego Public Library website, but here’s the link to register for the event if you’re in the Chicago area.

I  am over the moon with excitement about this. I’ve enjoyed connecting with favorite authors on Twitter, but to meet one in person? I recently had to miss Gillian Flynn when she appeared at my local library so I’m determined not to pass on this opportunity.

And, in true book geek fashion, I plan to wear black and white, with a splash of red.

If you’re not close enough to see her in person, you can still catch her on video. Goodreads just hosted one of their excellent and informative video chats.

Paperback Picks – July

THE NIGHT CIRCUS

by Erin Morgenstern

4 stars

Erin Moregenstern has created something quite spectacular in this debut novel. Playing with ideas of magic, illusion and perception, she unveils a truly fantastic circus.  More driven by characters and imagery than by plot, Morgenstern nonetheless drew me into a labyrinth of moves and counter moves. I felt the tension, especially in the love story between the players. And, rather than fill her book with peripheral characters, she makes each person three dimensional and important. But alas, the ending lingers on too long. Morgenstern falls trap to that author’s need to explain what we’ve just read — not trusting either her story or her readers enough. Still, I was rapt all the way through and was not disappointed by this book which I have awaited for months. It’s worthy of its buzz.

You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

STONE ARABIA

by Dana Spiotta

4 stars

I’m thinking about past events. I’m interested in recall, exact recall, of what was said, who said it and to whom. I want to know the truth, undistorted by time and revision and wishes and regrets.

So says Denise Kranis, the 40-ish narrator of Dana Spiotta’s brilliant novel, Stone Arabia. Denise is comparing her own story-telling to that of her brother Nik’s, which involves much more elaborately constructed and documented versions of reality. I love this truth-seeking premise, even more so for the way Spiotta juxtaposes the siblings’ styles and temperaments. They are both truth seekers, but who’s to say which is the real truth?

Spiotta smartly tells her story in short chapters from Denise, which move both forward and backward in time. We know she is after some explanation (some truth) to explain where (Nik’s place) and why (upset) she is the moment we meet her.  But to get to that explanation, we have to know Denise and how she thinks, what she longs for. This unveiling is where Spiotta truly shines.

I felt the memory of my father on my body, the way you feel a breeze or the heat of the sun. He did not feel – and so was not – entirely lost to me. Inside, beyond my recall of events and dates and talk, there was this hot-wired memory of his body…your experiences, the hard felt ones, don’t fade. They are written forever in your flesh, your nerves, your fingertips.

THE WORLD WE FOUND

by Thrity Umrigar

4 stars

I finished it in one day because I never wanted to put it down. I don’t know what it is about books by Indian writers, but they seem more lush and intimate to me than many American or British authors.
Here Umrigar is exploring the bonds forged by 4 women who came of age in the tumultuous India of the 1970s. 30 years later an illness brings them together again. As you would expect, there are lingering dramas, unclaimed passions and misunderstandings. All those issues are handled deftly by the author as she shifts narrators among, not just the four women, but some of their husbands as well.
She explores the cultural differences among these friends, both in light of their idealistic youth, and from the perspective of “middle age.” Muslim, Parsi, atheist, wealthy, American — all these labels come into play without being stereotyped.

So all I’m saying is, everything that seems important–our quarrels, or philosophical differences–in the end, it doesn’t matter much.  You know?  In the end, what matters is what remains.”

THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE

by Jenny Wingfield

4 stars

Jenny Wingfield has created something very special in this whirlpool of a novel. She wrote a story that continued to pull me in deeper and deeper, while still surprising me. Despite all the drama and heartache present in the Lake and Moses lives, I never felt emotionally manipulated and the plot never seemed contrived. Those are significant accomplishments, especially for a first-time novelist.

What ultimately unfolds is a story of family, loyalty and faith that I found hard to put down. At times deeply disturbing, I found these characters ultimately inspiring and very real.

Jenny Wingfield is definitely a writer to watch.

And she knew Life well enough to know that if one person in a house gets really miserable for any length of time, the misery spreads like smallpox.”