The definition of strange is something unusual or surprising and something not previously or encountered. Most of the time strange has a negative feeling attached to it as well. We don't usually like "strange". So for this week's book chat I decided to take a positive look at "strange" and go with a book that left feeling strange but in a good way.
I don't often read outside of my comfort book zone so when The Night Circus was chosen for the Literary Junkies book of the month a few months ago I had never heard of it. Like most people, I made my first judgement of it by the cover. The cover was pure black with dashes of white and red thrown in. It made me think of a psychedelic Alice in Wonderland at first. It looked haunting and dark but with the promise of something bold.
I was absolutely freaked out.
It looked so far out of my comfort zone that it took me most of the month to even pick it up and open to the first page. And I'm so glad that I did. The Night Circus is a strange book but in the absolute best of ways.
Erin Morganstern is a beautiful writer. Everything was described in such fantastical imaginings but so easily accessible. When I was reading The Night Circus I felt like I could see the what was in the tents and smell the carmel in the air. The writing drifted through different points of view and each brought more of the circus to life and you were able to see what what going on. But at the same time felt like you were only being given part of the puzzle and you had to keep reading to see more.
I had never read a book with such imagery and it was unnerving to me at times. It wasn't the safe and happy books I typically read but it worked its way into my head and I couldn't put it down.
My original copy was from the library but the book is so beautiful that I went out and bought my own as well. The pages have elegant black and white flourished with tent striped endpapers and the section breaks have a quote on one side and images of constellations in the night sky on the other.
The Night Circus is strange but I learned that some strange is a good thing. I've feared the strange in books for a long time and reading Erin Morganstern's writing made me realize that stepping out of that comfort zone can be rewarding. I would have missed a wonderful book if I let my feelings of "strange" stop me.