Yesterday started the "official" start of summer reading, the library kicked off its' Summer Reading Program. Lately, I've decided that I should have a theme to my summer reading list, regardless of what theme the library is following.
Last year I read only "noir" books; Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Maltese Flacon, Mildred Pierce, Strangers on A Train and so on.....Something about the patter in the dialogue just sizzled and that can never be captured on the big screen.
This year, I decided that the circus would lend itself a good theme for summer reading. The first book I picked out (and just finished reading) was "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. Here the circus serves as a luscious backdrop to a game of magic and illusion. The players have been bound to each other for ages; yet they don't fully comprehend the rules or the magnitude of the stakes involved. The Midnight Dinners alone are well worth the read and make me long for such a dining experience. A circus that is only open at night might make you think evil clowns or other sinister characters, but there are none, save for a few people that could be quite at home in any of Edward Gorey's stories.
Also on my list is a rereading of Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes", my favorite of Bradbury's books. Here the circus does take on a sinister edge, where anything can be bought for a price. Mr. Dark's promise of fulfilling our deepest desires always come with a catch. Mostly, I like how the boys are changed throughout the book.. There is always an event that you can point to in your life that transformed you from a child into an adult. Sometimes we don't realize the transformation when it happens, other times it is crystalized in our minds forever.
Keeping with a sinister circus I have "Johannes Cabal the Necromancer" by Jonathan L Howard. In order to get his soul back from the Devil, Johannes must get 100 people to sign over their souls and he only has one year. With the help of his vampire brother and a traveling circus (provided by Satan) Johannes must try and save his soul by damning others. From the couple of pages I have already read, Hell seems to pride itself on a person filling out many, many forms and not giving you the courtesy of erasing anything (I always knew Hell would be like the DMV).
Last on my list (it's short now, any suggestions would be appreciated) is "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn. A carnival family decides to get more bang for their buck by creating their own freak show. I have heard nothing by great things about this book and I always forget to grab it while I'm at the library.
I have a lot of other books in consideration for my circus list: Carter Beats the Devil, Water for Elephants, The Prestige, The Circus in Winter, Secret Heart, Roustabout, Wonder When You'll Miss Me, Dixiana Moon, Ascension, The Final Confession of Mabel Stark, Dark Carnival, Pilo Family Circus and Circus of Fear.....Did I miss any books???