Pelham Reads in March: The Night Circus

nightcircus

This month our book club is reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! We will meet to discuss the book on Tuesday, March 24 at 6 PM.

Book Club is free and open to all who want to join. If you’re interested in this month’s read, ask a librarian how you can get your hands on a copy today!

About the book:
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 Reves,” 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. – Goodreads.com

 

Daddy & Donuts this Saturday!

Join us fordaddy and donuts Daddy & Donuts Storytime with Miss Marilyn this Saturday, March 7th at 10:30 AM.

Complimentary donuts and coffee will be available for as long as supplies last.

This event isn’t just for Daddies — it’s for Mommies, Caretakers and children of all ages!

Book Blog: Amazing things can happen in a book club.

oceanThe truly awesome thing about having a group of individuals all read the same book is that each reader is bound to have a different experience, a different perspective, to bring to the group. Maybe you loved this month’s selection and maybe you didn’t love it. Maybe you lost yourself entirely and hurled the book – unfinished – against the wall because you hated it so much.

In book club, your experience with the book doesn’t matter. What matters is the telling of it, the sharing of your perceptions and impressions, your likes and dislikes, that enrich the discussion and allow group members to grow as readers. I am never fully satiated unless I leave book club with a handful of insights that may never have occurred to me, left to my own devices. And sometimes, a book club discussion is so synergistic that one mind feeds another, and together group members discover incredible new interpretations that shine an entirely different meaning on the literature – possibly even changing the way you feel about it.

This is exactly the sort of transformative experience our book club experienced last night while discussing The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Not everyone who attended loved the book (some did). Not everyone who attended felt they understood the book (some thought the thrill of adventure was worth the not understanding). But everyone had a handful of opinions and questions that, together, sparked a discussion that left everyone thinking of the book in an entirely new light.

SYNOPSIS: The Ocean at The End of the Lane is a short and imaginative read about a lonely 7-year-old boy growing up in the English countryside. Our narrator is never named throughout the book. His family has fallen on challenging financial times that bring further stress to an already burdened household. His escape is a group of (potentially not-real) ladies who live at the end of the lane. Most prominent among them is Lettie Hempstock, a precocious 11-year-old who is much more than she seems. From here, Gaiman spins out a dark and strange adventure between our narrator, Lettie, and the other Hempstock women. I can’t even tell you about it and you wouldn’t believe me if I did. You just have to read it. What I can tell you, though, is that through the course of its pages our young 7-year-old witnesses the death of his kitten, his father engaging in an extramarital affair, and the loss of his best (and potentially imaginary) friend.

Some readers will think the tale was just too strange. Some will love the twists and turns that are unreal and utterly unexpected. Others will want to know why. Why did Gaiman write this? What could possibly explain the incredible series of events that most readers (in our book club at least) don’t take at face value, but instead believe to be some sort of imaginary world the boy constructed in order to escape his own?

In the end, through exploring these questions and listening to the words of others, we achieved our “Ah-Ha!” moment. We came to the conclusion that our narrator, too young to understand the significance of his father’s behavior, constructed an alternate childhood in order to protect himself from a reality he wasn’t ready to comprehend. We asked if the death of the kitten was the death of 7-year-old innocence. We wondered whether the narrator heaped fault onto the Ursula Monkton thing to keep his father blameless. And, most of us appreciated Gaiman’s story a little bit more for all the wondering.nightcircus

Was our interpretation of Gaiman’s story correct? Maybe, maybe not. But it made for a great experience.

Many thanks to those of you who showed up, and I hope to see you again March 24th at 6:00 PM, when our book club will next meet to talk about The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.