To Be, Rather than to Seem: Reviewing The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hi everyone! This review took a while because I’m easily distracted. I had actually read this book a while back, but had since forgotten the details of the novel. In fact, most of the books I review for this blog are books that I have read previously, but I wanted to share them with you all. With that being said, here is my review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

The circus arrives without warning. It is a magical experience for all those who enter through its gates. They call it Le Cirque des Reves and it appears at random and opens only at night. Little do the guests know of the fierce competition behind the scenes. Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair have been training their whole lives for a mysterious game of magic with only one winner. When the two young illusionists fall in love with each other, it leads to dangerous consequences that leave the circus and its performers in peril.

Morgentern’s novel is an elaborate and magical read. The writing is layered and atmospheric. It is certainly an immersive read as it alternates between perspectives, even sometimes shifting the writing style a little to accommodate the characters in the scene. The story can be a bit vague at times, but it is part of the experience. It does pay off at the end of the novel. I particularly enjoyed how the rich details and symbolism tie into the themes of the story, such as the elaborate clocks or the various circus tents that Morgenstern puts great care into describing. The novel has an overall romantic feel, and I don’t just mean that in the sense of there is a love story. I remembered why I enjoyed this novel in the first place. If you want something with magic, romance, and danger, then I would go ahead and recommend picking up The Night Circus.

The Weirdest TV Shows I’ve Watched

Hi everyone! So, as you all know at this point, I’m a tiny bit of a tv addict. I have a bunch of shows I like to keep up with and a lot of them are kind of strange. Much like the one about weird books, I do have some criteria for what I mean by “weird.” In this case, I’m talking about television shows that use strange narrative structures, bizarre visuals, or characters who have strange traits and/or powers. I’ll be excluding television shows that have weird elements like magic or time travel but still have relatively straight forward plot lines (i.e. Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, etc). I’ll also be excluding anime because I don’t watch anime nor do I know that much about it.

Legion: Based off of the the X-Men comics, Legion is about David Haller, a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia, who begins to realize that his mental illness might be more than just that. The show is set in the 1960s so there are a bunch of trippy visuals and strange lighting. The characters have weird powers, such as Sydney, who can swap bodies with other people. The show is constantly jumping around in time. The setting is constantly changing. There are main plots but there are subplots that are popping up throughout the show that are meant to confuse you. I am behind on the show but I do really enjoy it.

Preacher: This is another show based off of a comic book. It’s about Jesse Custer, a preacher in a small Texas town, who is given an unearthly power. He then goes on a mission to find God with his gun-toting ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vampire named Cassidy. This show begins out fairly straight forward then takes the turn for the bizarre as Heaven and Hell become involved in the story. The show is as funny as it is strange with its depictions of the afterlife and what God looks like. It is a very graphic show, so you have been warned. All in all, I have found it incredibly enjoyable. This is another one I definitely recommend.

Doom Patrol: Here’s yet another superhero show, but I still love them. In this one, Cliff Steele, a former race car driver, gets into a car accident and wakes up to find that his brain has been put into a robot and he is living with other “outcasts” like himself. When the Chief, who brought them together, goes missing, they must put aside their differences to find him and stop the villainous Mr. Nobody. The first thing I love about this show is that the characters are so weird yet so relatable as they are all really just dealing with their pasts. The show (so far) has involved a giant eye that disintegrates people, a donkey that’s a portal to a different world, and a nice healthy dose of magic. I have been absolutely loving this particular show and I’m surprised more people aren’t watching it.

Russian Doll: This one isn’t the weirdest but I’m still going to put it on this list because I love this show. Nadia died on her 36th birthday…but then she came back. Now, she must figure out how to break the cycle before her death becomes permanent. The show certainly isn’t afraid to get deep while still being absolutely hilarious. Natasha Lyonne is absolutely wonderful in this show. If you want a show with a strong female lead that, go watch this one on Netflix.

Black Mirror: If you love The Twilight Zone, then you will love Black Mirror. I initially thought this show was a bit overhyped but I got sucked in and ended up loving it. Here’s a few of my favorite episodes: “The USS Callister,” “Playtest,” “Nosedive,” and “Black Museum.” Go watch any of those and, I promise, you might change your mind.

American Gods: This show is based on one of my all-time favorite Neil Gaiman books. The second season came out and it is just as weird as I wanted it to be. For those of you who don’t know, the show is about Shadow Moon, who is released from prison early after learning his wife died. He soon meets a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday who draws him into a world that he won’t come back from the same. Obviously, the idea of the gods, both new and old, is already a weird concept and the show fully embraces this. The visuals are as beautiful as they are weird. It’s really cool how the show moves between regular America and the gods’ America. The show also has some powerful messages. I definitely recommend the book a bit more but go check out the show too.