Thursday, September 22, 2011

Before, After, and Really After, with Night Circus Bonus!!!

This blog post is a little more personal than please pardon the intrusion.  But there have been lots of requests to post photos of the Night Circus event, along with my new-but-temporary red hair, so here it goes.  Thanks for reading and we welcome your comments!
Most of you don't know me in real life, but up until 48 hours ago, I had very long hair.
DURING: here's all 10-13" of my hair, all chopped off for donation

And up until 24 hours ago, the remaining hair I had was dark blonde.
Now I'm a redhead, but not a red found in nature.  And it was for a very specific purpose.  Tonight the Night Circus came to the Odyssey Bookshop, where I work, and I got to visit with, eat dinner with, and then introduce one of the rising stars of the book world, Ms. Erin Morgenstern.

AFTER-AFTER.  With my dog Roxanne in background
 For those of you who haven't read the book, there is significance in this book in dressing in all black, with one token of red--a scarf, a flower, a brooch, gloves--and those are the reveursReveurs follow the circus from town to town, continent to continent.  I consider myself one of the earliest reveurs, having read and fallen in love with The Night Circus several months ago, so when we booked an author event with Erin just one week after publication, I knew I wanted to do something special: I would dress all in black, and my token of red would be my hair.  The only problem is that hair of the particular shade I had in mind is not found in nature.  It can, however, be found at Sally's. 
I kinda like this placement of the glass vis a vis the dust jacket
If I had been truly hardcore, I would have bleached my hair and then dyed it Maraschino cherry red.  But I wasn't confident that I could rock that look for the next few months, so I opted for the temporary color. My long-suffering DH helped me color it this morning, and because he's all artistic and stuff, he used two shades: a darker metallic red for the undercoat and then brighter red highlights sprayed on top.  Good times!  I've also discovered throughout the day that I'm covered in what looks like red metallic dandruff, and my ears and neck look eerily sunburned, no matter how many times I wipe them off, so I guess there's a price to pay for the glamourous look.  And do you want to know something a little gross and not-so-glamourous?  Every time I blew my nose today, the snot came out a diluted metallic pink color, even though I was breathing through a towel during the entire color application.  That's some wicked (and tenacious) stuff, man!
Here you can see my husband's artistry a little better
But it was all worth it in the end.  Erin seemed pleased with our Night Circus display in the store, which we fashioned with a budget of only $12.  Good thing I had a skull, some vases, a red-swirly martini glass, and a giant sword at home to put to use!  Erin read to a full house and answered questions both in-store and through a live Twitter feed, courtesy of our sales rep, Ann. We sold lots of books (including to our first editions club) and have lots of signed ones left over for sale.  And they're all first printings--reserve yours today so that you can say you read Erin when....

And I think she also liked our enthusiasm for the book, not to mention my hair, even if I did shed a little metallic dandruff on her when we hugged good-night. 
Ann Kingman, Erin Morgenstern, and Odyssey Staffers, minus Sydney, who was actually working when this photo was taken.

The Night Circus display arrives without warning...I'm kinda glad we worked both a skull and a sword in there


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shazam--it's The Night Circus!!!

...The Circus arrives without warning... 
I do not usually have trouble writing reviews of books that I have loved, but this review is proving to be an exception.  You see, it's rare that a book haunts me in a way that Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus did, and I want to make sure that my review is worthy of it; not only that, but I need to make sure that I get the tone just right, for like most books that I have a strong reaction to, this book is not for everybody.

Le Cirque des Reves (the Circus of Dreams) travels from city to city, from continent to continent, on no particular timetable, disappearing as quickly and as randomly as it appears. Operating from dusk to dawn and cloaked only in white, black, and silver, it offers the best entertainments of its kind in the world: acrobats, fortune tellers, animal acts, a magician--even the food concessions. For the extraordinary people who travel with it, year in and year out, it is more than their livelihood, it is their lifeblood.  As the novel unfolds, the reader comes to realize that the circus is also the playing field where Prospero the Enchanter and another magician known mostly as "the man in the grey suit" observe, but do not interfere with, a game with deadly consequences that they set into motion long ago.  Celia and Marco, their respective apprentices, bound irrevocably to their competition and each other, must use every reserve of power and imagination they possess to make sure the game does not play out according to the contract.  Along the way we meet a cast of incredible characters: Widget and Poppet, twins born on the circus's opening night; Isobel, a reader of cards caught between her love of the circus and her love of Marco; Chandresh Lefevre, circus proprietor and host of exclusive midnight dinner parties; Bailey, an ordinary boy who just might be more than what he seems; Tsukiko, the contortionist, whose secretive past keeps her anchored to the circus with an interest that is both personal and forlorn; and many, many more.

There are some books that capture the imagination; this novel seems rather to set the reader's imagination free with all that's best of dark and bright.  The Night Circus is precisely poised in that netherworld between reality and imagination, between wakefulness and sleep, casting the dreamer into the light of the dark black night. If you believe that The Shire is worth saving, if you believe somewhere in your heart that your Hogwarts letter will still find you, if you believe in tesseracts and kything, this is the book for you. More than anything else, this is a book that rewards those readers who know that true magic lies in the believing, not in the object of belief. 

If you are one of those readers, I think you will find, like me, that once you pick up this book, every moment spent not reading it feels like a moment wasted.  It is an intoxicating blend of reality and imagination. 

The Night Circus arrives in South Hadley on Thursday, 22 September, at 7:00 p.m., and Ms. Morgenstern will be on hand to read, answer questions, and escort reveurs through her magical world.  Books go on sale today!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Terrific Tuesday: These T-Shirts are AWESOME!

So, if you're a local Odyssey shopper, you've probably noticed that the long lines and high-energy buzz that come with textbook rush have returned.  That's right--it's back to school time for Mount Holyoke College!

Which also means it's that time of year when we introduce new product lines into the store.  And the one I'm most excited about right now is from the Out of Print Clothing Company.  They have created a line of t-shirts that feature the original dust jacket of many works of classic literature, both new and old.  And what's more, for every t-shirt that our store sells, the company will donate a book to a community in need.  So you get to look great and feel great, all in one!  I'm already the proud owner of the lovely Pride & Prejudice tee (don't you love the peacock?) and I'm pretty sure that A Clockwork Orange will be making its way to my house soon, too.  Another cool thing is that most designs come in both men's and women's sizing, so if you like a slim silhouette for your tees, we've got you covered.

See a design you like but we don't carry yet?  Leave a comment here or post on our Facebook page and the next time we order, we'll try to get it.