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NaNoWriMo and Book of the Week: The Night Circus

November 1, 2011

November is National Novel Writing Month (otherwise known as NaNoWriMo), during which writers of all kinds (new, experienced, young, old, amateur, published…) buckle down and get to work on writing a novel. There’s a great website full of resources and support for participating novelists. If you’ve been meaning to write the next Great American Novel, now is the time to get started.

This week’s Book of the Week, The Night Circus, is a NaNoWriMo success story. The author, Erin Morgenstern, began writing the manuscript during NaNoWriMo. In fact, she’s participated in NaNoWriMo no fewer than eight times. That’s eight full Novembers spent writing, writing, and writing. That kind of dedication to the craft is how she ended up with a bestselling novel, one of the most talked-about books of this Fall.

The Night Circus is the story of two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who by circumstances beyond their control are pitted against one another as opponents, ¬†pawns in a magical duel between their instructors. Each has been trained since childhood to compete against the other in an epic battle that lasts for years. The venue for their ongoing competition is Le Cirque des Reves, which, to the delight of people all over the world, tours the globe, appearing without warning and inviting the townspeople in to a magical world that is open only from sun-down to sun-up. Against the backdrop of the enchanting Cirque des Reves, Celia and Marco compete, each outdoing the other in feats of breathtaking magic and imagination. And then they fall in love…

In addition to the plot–the battle, the story of the star-crossed lovers–there is the circus itself. The world of The Night Circus is enchanting and original. The circus is the ultimate playground for adults and children alike. Visitors can get lost in a maze made of clouds, explore an astounding hall of mirrors, wander a garden made entirely of ice, and experience things that stretch the limits of the imagination. Erin Morgenstern describes all of this so vividly that you can nearly smell the caramel popcorn and the smoke from the magical bonfire. The Night Circus is a perfect book to read as an escape from everyday life; you’ll be transported and completely absorbed in its world.

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