Saturday, 29 October 2011


I will always remember this summer day in Paris, when I was to perform a great acrobatic move. I can still see myself stepping on the ring of a packed circus along real performers. 
-Tony Curtis


I hope everyone is enjoying "The Night Circus" so far! 
It definitely is magical realism at its best- I couldn't help but wish that there truly was a Night Circus out there that we can enjoy- it would undoubtedly add another sparkle to our life- but that's what books are precisely for: to explore worlds so remarkable from our own and being able to live through the character's lives for a while and channelling their emotions as if they were ours.
In this clip, the author, Erin Morgenstern, talks about her book and draws in a little bit on what inspires her- including magic.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

The October Selection

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."
-Oscar Wilde

October is such an exciting month filled with all things imaginary, thanks to Halloween! During our fifth meeting which took place on the 22nd at Marche Restaurant, not only did we discuss our previous month's pick which was Rosie Alison's "The Very Thought Of You", but we also took the time pick the next title! In addition, I welcome Aysen, Sonya, and Florence to the book club!

I am happy to announce that our October book club pick is:

About the author, Erin Morgenstern:

From what I can see, the author is truly an incredible and very interesting person whom I would love to meet sometime in the near future! Apart from being a writer, she is also an artist.

From her website:
I write. Fantastical, fairy tale-esque things with magic and mystery and tea. I studied theatre & studio art at Smith College. I currently live in Salem, Massachusetts & will be relocating to Boston in the foreseeable future. Kittens are looking forward to the impending influx of cardboard boxes.

I read a lot. I drink absurd amounts of red wine and even more absurd amounts of tea.
I collect jewelry made from old keys.
My fiction tends to be location-driven. Nocturnal circuses, subterranean libraries, townhouses dressed up as pirate ships. I got tired of living in Alice’s Wonderland and decided to build some of my own.

She also has a Twitter page, for those of you who use Twitter.

Over the next month, I will post up thoughts and inspirations in relation to all things "The Night Circus" as well as interviews of the author herself. 
The reviews and the amount of recommendations for this novel has got me incredibly excited to get started. Happy reading everyone! 


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Just For Thought...

As a stalwart reader of printed books, I'm left to wonder what will happen to the wide, slow silty river of their history, to the countless volumes waiting now in the abandoned silence of library stacks. Stacks: The word itself connects books to the harvest, to corn and hay. They were always earthbound. Smell the must, feel the brittle, browning pages between your thumb and forefinger. The tears, the cracked spines, the stains and folds. Even if we readers forget them, printed books will hold us in their memory.

- Jane Bronx, Illuminating Texts

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Author Spotlight: Rosie Alison

Dear members,

This post provides a deeper insight into our latest book club pick, "The Very Thought of You". In Chick Lit Central the author provides a descriptive account of how this story came about, her thoughts and her feelings for that time period.

Writing a First Novel
by Rosie Alison

It’s a peculiar experience, putting a novel out into the world. Particularly a personal, heartfelt novel such as "The Very Thought of You." For me, it was a long, solitary and secretive process to excavate this novel, my first: I wrote it on and off over eight years, after work, once the children were asleep, late at night. I never dared to take time off from my day job to write; I feared that pressure to deliver would have spiked my fragile private writing bubble. So the novel had a slow gestation and naturally I was delighted when I finally finished it and found a publisher.

But I had very mixed feelings about publication: a part of me longed for the book to find readers – yet at the same time, I dreaded discovering that those readers might just be left cold or puzzled or irritated. To begin with, I was euphoric whenever anyone wrote a kindly blog, and sliced to the marrow if someone disparaged it. And my novel seems to have attracted both passionate readers and contemptuous ones. I’ve learned to be philosophical that any novel which attempts to tackle romantic feeling will divide people – but I have to respect, too, those readers who picked up the book and either disliked or misunderstood what I was attempting to do.

My guiding instinct was to write a story about love. The longing for an intimate other is surely the most abiding universal impulse, and I wanted to explore different kinds of love – not just romantic love, but two people reaching out to each other in some way. "The Very Thought of You" is a book in which most of the characters are holding the thought of somebody in their heads and hearts. I’ve tried to tease out that invisible thread which runs between potential lovers – delving into how love takes root and evolves, all those elusive staging posts. The heart of the novel is an adult love affair, and much of the time I was trying to get inside these two lovers as they feel this unspoken connection between them, but don’t know whether it’s their delusion or not. This affair is framed by the more unusual story of a young evacuee, Anna, who develops her own complicated attachment to one of her hosts, which endures through her life in unexpected ways.

Although this novel begins and ends with Anna (the evacuee), in many ways, the novel actually grew around her host Thomas Ashton. Thomas undergoes many reversals of fortune – yet he’s sustained by his abiding capacity for love, which becomes an act of faith for him, even after his lover has died. I wanted to write about a character who is emotionally disconnected or blocked at the beginning – but who finds himself transformed by love, which endures despite his loss, in (I hope!) an inspiring way.

Anna Sands, the displaced child, has a different fate. Unlike many evacuees who were deeply scarred by their wartime experiences, she seems a lucky survivor. She ends up at a beautiful house, with kind teachers, safe from the war. And yet in the absence of parental love, she develops an inappropriate attachment to one of her teachers which skews her emotional development, with unexpected repercussions right through her life. She ends up as one of life’s emotional witnesses, stranded on the sidelines of other people’s lives, always hankering after a relationship which could never be hers. It was this notion of becoming a witness – somebody with a face always pressed against a window, instead of joining in – which interested me in Anna. For me, that’s the poignancy of the Raymond Carver poem which I chose to preface the novel – that everyone longs to be ‘beloved’, yet some people are fated not to be, often unable to escape the long shadows of childhood.

Attempting to write romantic fiction is a high wire act: what for some will be heartfelt, for others will be cloying. I’ve noticed some people find my prose too purple, while others find it too detached. My own hope is that it can express heartache and longing in a way which is consoling for at least some readers. Kafka wrote that “a book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us,” and that was very much the case for me, it took me a while to crack through my own ice, and realise that I wanted to write as deeply as I could about human longing. When friends ask me what kind of book I’ve written, I describe it as a torchsong – perhaps that’s why I chose a song title. But it’s definitely not a book for romantic pragmatists.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Very Thought of You

"Of all the people we meet in a lifetime, it is strange that so many of us find ourselves in thrall to one particular person. Once that face is seen, an involuntary heartache sets in for which there is no cure. All the wonder of this world finds shape in that one person and thereafter there is no reprieve, because this kind of love does not end, or not until death.
For the lucky ones, this love is reciprocated. But for so many others everywhere, anywhere, there follows an unending ache of longing without relief. Incurable love is a great leveler. Yet I believe that this bittersweet love is better by far than the despair which blights those with a dead heart."

A little background into the author:

Rosie Alison grew up in Yorkshire, and read English and Keble College in Oxford. She spent ten years directing television documentaries before becoming a film producer at Heyday Films. She is married and has two daughters and lives in London.

"The Very Thought Of You" has made it to the Amazon Rising Stars shortlist and was longlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year and the Prince Maurice Prize in 2010, as well as being shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction.
Here is a deeper insight into the story and the characters in "The Very Thought Of You". The author discusses with the Chair of Judges, Daisy Goodwin, at the Orange Prize for Fiction 2010 Shortlist Readings. Enjoy!