Running away to the circus

In honor of an outing tomorrow with my kiddo to see the current Ringling Brothers extravaganza, I thought I’d do my own brief version of a salute to circus books. Here’s a smattering of a few I’ve read in the last few years:

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

This tale of love, memory, and violence, set in a Depression-era travelling circus, features unforgettable characters, and is a real treat for the reader. Perfectly captures the sights, sounds, and smells of the circus, with a plot that grabs hold and doesn’t let go.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I’m among the minority of readers who didn’t love this book. The descriptions of this mysterious, phantasmagorical circus are breathtakingly beautiful at times, but the plot just didn’t come together well enough to sustain the imagery.

Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster

This strange tale of a boy who is taught to fly by a master magician is quite a puzzle. I read it, enjoyed parts, but ultimately didn’t quite know what to make of it.

Last but not least, always a favorite in my house:

If I Ran The Circus by Dr. Seuss

Who doesn’t love this fantastical trip through the backyard circus, as imagined by a boy with a day on his hands and only his own creativity to fill it? My son and I never fail to find fresh details to giggle over, whether it’s the Spotted Atrocious, the Harp-Twanging Snarp, or good old Mr. Sneelock.

The Circus McGurkus! The cream of the cream!
The Circus McGurkus! The Circus Supreme!
The Circus McGurkus! Colossal! Stupendous!
Astounding! Fantastic! Terrific! Tremendous!

So what did I miss? Any other circus-themed fiction to recommend? Add your thoughts below… meanwhile, we’ll be dreaming of high wires, trapezes, and itty bitty clown cars.

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