Reading Challenge #18: A Book You’ve Read Before that Never Fails to Make You Smile

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Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

How it fulfills the challenge: The Night Circus is one of those books that uses its imaginative and fantastical powers to charm and delight. The circus Morgenstern creates is one that I would love to experience. It’s a book that made me happy the first time I read it, and it didn’t let me down the second time.

Genre: fantasy/historical fiction

Quick Description: The circus is merely a venue for two opponents to exhibit their skills. But more than just the two of them are involved in the complicated game, and their own attraction for each other could lead to disaster.

Opening Line: The Circus arrives without warning.

The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.

Highlights: My absolute favorite part of this book both on my first and second reading is the nature of the magic both contestants perform and the illusions they create for the circus. The circus has to be one of the most enchanting settings I’ve ever seen. If it were real, I would definitely be someone you would see wandering around with a red scarf.

Low points: The ending of this book is definitely where it falls flat. The end comes quickly and is vaguely unsatisfying. Not only that, you’re removed from what little action there is and so the suspense and intrigue just isn’t there. Plot is definitely not the point of this book.

My Goodreads Rating: 5 stars (I kept my rating of this book the same because myenjoyment of it overshadowed my issues with it. It still feels magical)

 

(photo from Goodreads)

 

Women Writers Reading Challenge #66: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

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There are some books that leave an indelible mark by dint of their incredible strangeness–books that startle and make you wonder how an author ever could have come up with it. This is one of these books. But it’s brilliant.

Geek Love follows the story of Oly, an albino hunchback who her parents deplore for being too normal-looking, unlike her Siamese twin sisters or either of her brothers, one who seems to be part fish, and one with mysterious powers. Oly and her siblings have been made in this fashion, through a strange combination of drugs her parents decide on. They figure that if you own a circus, you need a regular, loyal supply of freaks to fill its bleachers.

And it just gets better and more twisted from there. The writing is absolutely superb and the story is ingeniously crafted, building and building on itself in shocking and strangely satisfying ways. If you’re looking for something like you’ve never read before, if you’re entranced by the world of the circus, if you need an amazing book to read–you should pick this one up.