I live a glamorous life, filled with trips to far flung places. Places with names like Portland, Boise, and Atlantic City (if you’ve never been solicited by an aging prostitute on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, then you just haven’t lived). Don’t be too jealous, but I once changed planes in Cincinnati, Ohio (I know, I know, it’s not elegant to brag). I’m in the know on many important things, like where all the best bathrooms are along the I-5 corridor. Question: What’s got two vastly different-sized feet and knows where to find the best fungus spray for when you try on shoes at Goodwill? Answer: Mandi Harris. Impressive, n’est-ce pas? I also know that if you buy soda cans in Washington, you don’t have to pay any deposit, but if you then return those cans in Oregon, you get five cents back that you didn’t pay for! These are the secrets only the wealthy few know (Rupert Murdoch taught me that last one during a potluck held at Vladimir Putin’s secret ranch in the Ozarks).
I’ve had multiple celebrity encounters. When I was just five years old, on vacation in southern California (see what I meant about travelling to exotic locales?), I met an internationally acclaimed celebrity. First name: Donald. Last name: Duck. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Of course you have. We hugged. We took a picture together. Whatever. It’s no big deal. It’s easy to let experiences like that make you forget where you came from, but I’ve tried not to let it change who I am deep down inside.
I also met and had a conversation with two of the actors from the television show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (and by “met,” I mean I followed them to their car, and by “had a conversation with,” I mean I stammered at them, “I’m not a stalker, and I’m not crazy. I’m just a really big fan.” I then gave a high-pitched giggle and maintained eye contact for a long time. It was all very standard for how celebrities communicate with each other).
Another aspect of my life demonstrating how glamorous I am is that I get to read books before they are published (Yeah, I know. Pretty cool, right? Don’t worry—you’re still allowed to make eye contact with me). I am passing this down to you, the public, because there are two books about to come out which you simply must read. Although, if you’re like me, you only read to pass the time between polishing your monocle collection and buying new monocles. Now I have to jet (Literally. My butler is strapping on my jetpack as I type this). Like all celebrities, I have my weekly appointment with the man who imports the exotic animals for my home zoo. This week’s selection? A pregnant Bengal tiger. My sister-in-law just gave birth to my newest niece, and I want to welcome the baby with something that says “maternal love.”
The Night Circus (Release date: September 13, 2011)
Reviewers are calling this book a combination of Harry Potter and Water for Elephants (let us hope that, unlike the other two, The Night Circus will not be tainted by Robert Pattinson). This novel is for those of us who love to imagine that the magical world is very real, if only ever-so-slightly just beyond our immediate grasp. It is the story of two young magicians trained from childhood to battle each other with their differing magical styles. The arena for their duels is The Night Circus. The circus is only open from sunset to sunrise and everything, from the costumes, to the animals, to the ground itself, is in black and white. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I maintain that one book is worth a thousand pictures, and Erin Morgenstern, the author of The Night Circus, is magnificent at painting a thousand pictures in the reader’s mind.
Reads well with: Le Carnival des Animaux by Camille Saint-Saens and a pumpkin spice latte
All Men of Genius (Release date: September 27, 2011)
I love Steampunk. Lately, it seems as if this is the it genre. Therein lies the problem. When something becomes popular, a lot of people (whose talent could be described as on the same existence level as Hogwarts; that is to say, no matter how hard you wish it existed, it just doesn’t) jump on the bandwagon, hoping to capitalize on the public’s thirst for new and exciting material. Luckily for you, I have sifted through piles of Steampunk to bring you the best offering. Lev AC Rosen has written the book equivalent of a mash up, seamlessly blending Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with all of the mainstays of Steampunk scattered throughout.
Reads well with: Florence and the Machine and Pear Raspberry Hard Cider