Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Erin Morgenstern brings the circus to town...

On Friday night, September 20th, I had the pleasure of attending one of the most festive author events I've ever seen. It was hosted by the wonderful Booksmith on Haight Street in San Francisco in celebration of Erin Morgenstern's debut novel, The Night Circus. Careful readers of this blog may have seen me mention this book once or twice before. ;-)

Actually, the folks at the Booksmith could see exactly what I see--that The Night Circus is a very special book, Erin Morgenstern a special author, and they deserved a special event. The staff were thinking outside the box. The invited in a tarot card reader and performers from San Francisco's nearby Circus Center, a "circus-oriented performing arts education facility." Every town has one of those, right?  So, even as you approached the bookstore, you could see that something special was going on.  Click the short video above and you'll see what I mean. 

Here's a little more of the festivities before the reading started:

Unfortunately, I never did shoot footage of the tarot card reader (who seemed to stay busy all evening), or the fun decorations and yummy food and libations that were behind the curtains you'll see in the footage below. Some things will have to remain a mystery.

Happily, I did get the entire book event on film. Readers of this blog have watched a lot of sub-par video in the past. For once, I did a fairly good job with the filming.  First, a Booksmith staff member introduced both Erin, and children's book author Lisa Brown. While she's speaking, you'll see a man come out from the curtains behind her. That's Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, AKA the husband of Lisa Brown. He was sitting next to me. All of the store's staff were dressed in black--with a red scarf, of course. (Read the book.)

Lisa did her own entertaining introduction of Erin, which included a top ten list of what a book must contain in order for her to want to read it. The man's voice you can hear saying, "Hear, hear!" and other comments is Daniel.

Finally Erin takes the stage, and as she notes, this is only her second reading ever. She does an amazingly good job! After some brief introductory remarks, she reads from the novel. In the second segment she reads the brief prologue. In the third, she reads the first chapter. And in the fourth, she reads a later chapter featuring the secondary character Bailey.

In these last segments you'll see the Q&A session. There's a lot of interesting information about Erin's writing process, the circuitous path the book took while being written, a potential film, Erin's all-time favorite book, and more.

(Oh, and if you wondered why I panned over to the waving, giggling ladies during the final applause, it's because my book group was well represented in the audience that night. Including me, there were six of us in attendance, and so that's who those lovely ladies are.)

We're so lucky to get amazing speakers coming through San Francisco pretty much every day of the week. I'm delighted to be able to share this footage with folks that don't have the advantage of living in a major city. I hope you enjoyed the evening as much as I did!

Oh, one more thing, if you haven't purchased The Night Circus yet, I heartily encourage you to do so. I'm a Reveur; it's my favorite book of the year!  (In addition to my pre-pub galley, I've purchase both an American first edition and the stunning British first edition. And it's only a matter of time before I pick up the audiobook narrated by Jim Dale.)  If you'd like your very own signed copy, I know that the Booksmith will be more than happy to hook you up.


  1. How wonderful Susan! Thank you for sharing this incredible event and book with us!

  2. This was such fun. Totally looking forward to the other 83%!! It's like sampling a bite of a decadent flourless chocolate cake and realizing you have 83% left of the piece to eat. Delectable.

  3. Yes, it was a totally awesome event. Sonja, you MUST let me know your thoughts once you've finished the novel. And I can't recall when you are departing, but safe travels!