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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


15/100: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

I feel a bit like something might be wrong with me for not loving this book as much as a lot of people whose opinions I trust said I would. Was I missing something? Was it the wrong book at the wrong time? Or was it just not my cup of tea after all?

What I liked about this story was the package it arrived in. I found the setting of the Night Circus to be truly exquisite, described and luscious detail and haunting me with its imagery, sounds, and scents long after the book was complete. I think this is the reason that so many fall in love with this book -- it creates a place that you really do want to return to, and a place that you find yourself longing to somehow see in real life.

But that wasn't quite enough for me in a book that felt a little bit cluttered with too many characters, some of whom I never really did get a clear handle on, and none of which I really connected with or liked as much as I liked the setting. The love story didn't capture my heart. The writing was good, but felt as though it tried to be a little too artsy fartsy -- the decision to tell a historical, third-person story in the present tense never stopped feeling out-of-place to me. Same with the interspersed second-person descriptions of the circus.

I did find the book's ending to be truly satisfying, and being able to write a satisfying ending truly is a gift. It was almost enough for me to bump my star rating for this up to four -- but then I remembered that I was fairly bored throughout the majority of the book.

Perhaps this is one of those books I would have liked more without the hype. I can see its appeal, but didn't quite feel it for myself. Although I do think it would make a truly stunning movie and look forward to its cinema debut.