‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern/A Review

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Length: 519 pages
Publisher: Anchor Books
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy
Purchased at Barnes & Noble
Release Date: July 3 2012

Synopsis:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

My Thoughts:

I meant to end the month of January with reading and reviewing The Night Circus, but life called me to focus on family for most of the month. Although reading The Night Circus became an unexpectedly long task, I’m so glad that I stuck with it!

The Night Circus tells the story of Celia and Marco, destined to become players in a game filled with magic, skill, and illusion. Their playing field involved a circus woven with fantasy and dreams, all of the major figures and performers wrapped up in an intricate puzzle that no one can master.

This story is told in present tense, alternating between two different timelines. One features the origins of Celia and Marco’s abilities within the circus, and the other highlights a patron’s experience throughout his visit at the circus, struggling to figure out his calling in life. These two timelines are so descriptive in emotion, all the characters involved fighting to define their true calling in life.

I’m thankful that I finally made the time to read The Night Circus. It was such a wonderful book!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Reading Blog: January 28

Happy Book Birthday to ‘Don’t Read the Comments’ by Eric Smith! You can catch my review of the story here!

I’m still deep into ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern. It’s highly enjoyable, yet recent events have prevented me from finishing it as quickly as I would’ve wanted. Life brings surprising events at your door, and you just need to accept that level of unpredictability.

Will I finish the story? Of course! I love it a great deal. It has such a wide cast of characters.

Life will continue to be unpredictable, but I’m hanging in there. I just need to remember to breathe.

Friday Reads: January 24

I’m about 40 percent into ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern. I find it very curious that each chapter does a time jump. Considering that the book only focuses on a small cast of characters, the time jump holds some significance in the story. I also love the circus setting, and the thread of Celia and her lineage.

I have memories of an old relationship, in which this other person had a fascination with magicians. He would watch films and television shows that featured magicians highlighting their craft. Although that relationship ended a few years ago, I’m glad that those past experiences didn’t dull my interest in magic!

Books I Discovered Through iaPOETRY

     My passion for writing and poetry stems from my years in training as a Poetry Therapy Practitioner in iaPOETRY, based in New York City. iaPOETRY (International Academy for Poetry Therapy) is a strong and supportive network of teachers and clinicians founded by Lila Weisberger (now headed by Jill Teague and Geraldine Campbell). I trained as a Poetry Therapy Practitioner from 2004-2011.
Since my start in the organization 15 years ago, Lila and her supportive community paved my way in becoming a strong writer and poet. They’ve shared some valuable reading material throughout my journey in Poetry Therapy. These are just some of the books that hold a special place in my heart.

Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making by John Fox
Genre: Poetry/Education
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: TarcherPerigree
Release Date: September 1995

My first conversation with Lila Weisberger was over the phone in early 2004. During that first discussion, she shared with me the value of John Fox’s book for implementing poetry as a creative healing tool. Fox describes many ways to build your words with creativity and expression. There are many exercises in the book that allows people to use everyday items in your home and work setting to express your thoughts.

Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Genre: Education/Literature
Length: 237 pages
Publisher: Anchor
Release Date: January 1994

This book serves as a useful tool for writers/poets who wish to learn new techniques on their craft. Using her own experiences in the writing process, Lamott provides the reader multiple exercises in applying brainstorming and free writing in order to flesh out a first draft for a book and/or a collection of poetry. I appreciated the advice that a draft is a document that can always be edited later. I could greatly relate to the advice in marketing yourself…that the process of marketing is a job in itself. My first collection of poetry (A Blossoming Journey) was through a self-publishing company, and getting your work out there is truly a process you must take on yourself. As overwhelming as it seems, I continue to push along and create. The most important thing to do, first and foremost, is to write!

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh
Length: 227 pages
Genre: Self-Help/Spirituality
Publisher: RIverhead Books
Release Date: August 2001

Many of my poetry therapy colleagues apply Thich Nhat Hanh’s wisdom in achieving peace and mindfulness, yet I picked up one of his books for the first time 5 years ago. During this time, I lost my job in New York, then my apartment a couple months later (no money=no lease renewal). I moved back to New Jersey with relatives, feeling very frustrated about my life journey at that stage. It was at that point when I picked up Thich Nhat Hanh and took in his valuable advice for the soul. The words in Anger served as a soothing balm for my soul. My hurt feelings didn’t dissipate overnight, yet Thich Nhat Hanh allowed me to breathe, to think about what I really needed to guide my soul to heal.

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman
Genre: Non Fiction
Length: 390 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books
Release Date: March 2006 (2nd Edition)

10 years ago, my mother passed away from heart failure. This was no doubt the darkest moment of my life. Along with my family, my poetry therapy community was there to guide me through this difficult time. While working my way through the grieving process, some dear colleagues recommended that I read Motherless Daughters as a healing tool. This book was just what I needed in that rough time, as Edelman shared story after story of women enduring the heartbreak of losing their mothers. The pain from losing my mother never truly fades, yet reading Motherless Daughters (along with a strong support system) helped me move through this difficult stage in my life. 

And StillI Rise: Poems by Maya Angelou
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Random House
Length: 54 pages
Release Date: August 2001 (1st edition: 1978)

     Still I Rise is part of this memorable poetry collection by Maya Angelou. I first became aware of its powerful message while training in Poetry Therapy. Maya Angelou is a powerful poet and storyteller. She endured so much trauma throughout her life, yet she persevered in sharing her story with an unflinching voice as an African-American woman who created rich tales and poems to empower others. I came across Still I Rise in my studies several years ago, and I loved the strong voice it contains. Angelou’s message comes from triumph in the midst of chaos. Despite slander and hate, Maya Angelou kept moving forward in her life. I turned to Still I Rise last year, since I was going through a very rough period in my life. This particular poem helped me out in life immensely.

Summer 2017: iaPOETRY gathering at Tavern on the Green

     There are many more books that I discovered in my studies as a Poetry Therapy Practitioner, but these few were instrumental in my creative growth. Along with the guidance of my wonderful community, these books helped shine a light in my journey as a poet and writer. I will forever be thankful to my iaPOETRY community.

For more information about iaPOETRY, contact:

Jill Teague: Out of the Blue Writing

International Academy for Poetry Therapy