signed books now available

I have been trying to figure out a good system for ordering signed, personalized books for years and I finally have one, I am so very grateful to everyone who helped make this happen.

Signed and personalized copies of The Night Circus (in both paperback & hardcover) as well as signed and personalized pre-orders for The Starless Sea are now available from The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Massachusetts. They will ship internationally.

More information is available over here on their website.

october things

pumpkins

The end of September went by very quickly because my new niece decided she wanted to be a September baby and not an October baby as scheduled so she was early, but she is also adorable. I have already started buying her all sorts of books.

One of my very favorite authors from when I was young passed away yesterday, Zilpha Keatley Snyder wrote a great many books but my favorites were The Headless Cupid and The Egypt Game. I loved The Egypt Game so much I used to build temples in my backyard. I should do that again if I ever have a backyard.

I will be at New York Comic Con this weekend but I am not doing anything official. I will be flouncing around in a corset and wandering aimlessly and looking for the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab booth and possibly buying comics. If you see me, feel free to say hello.

This upcoming Monday is October 13th, which is of course the anniversary of opening day of the circus. To celebrate I thought I might do something I rarely do over on Tumblr & retumble some of the gorgeous circus-inspired stuff that’s floating around over there. (True confession: I never look up circus things because it makes me weirdly shy and also just looking turns up good things and bad things and for every thing I’m glad to see there’s usually something that makes me sad so I just don’t do it. But I peeked the other day and there’s really too much gorgeous not to share.) So all day on Monday I will be retumbling circusy things on my tumblr page. I’ll try to remember to tag things, I’m bad at tagging.

I haven’t been apple picking yet this year. I shall have to rectify that soon. Mostly I am writing a lot and wondering why this year insists on going by so quickly.

station eleven

STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel comes out today in the US & Canada, and I believe tomorrow in the UK, which makes this both STATION ELEVEN Day and STATION ELEVEN Eve depending on location.

I loved this book.

LOVED.

I have post-apocalypse fatigue and I still loved this book, because it’s so much more than that. I don’t want to tell you too much about it, because simply describing it would never do it justice.

This is going to be one of the stories I carry in my imagination for the rest of my life. It will come to mind again and again and again in theatres, in airports, in Toronto in the snow.

Please read it.

Once in a very long while a book becomes a brand new old friend, a story you never knew you always wanted. STATION ELEVEN is that rare find that feels familiar and extraordinary at the same time, expertly weaving together future and present and past, death and life and Shakespeare. This is truly something special.

– Erin Morgenstern

august internet hiatus & magicians

I am taking the entire month of August off from the internet. 

What this means: no blog posts, no twitter unless important information sharing, no tumblr. I am shutting off the wifi connection on my laptop from tomorrow until Sept 1st. (I spend 90% of my computer time on the laptop.)

I will be checking my personal email periodically.

I will still be Instagramming because Instagram lives in my phone.

I hope you all have a lovely month.

***

On Tuesday August 5th two very cool things happen:

1. The Magician’s Land is finally released, hurrah!

2. There will be this magical event in Brooklyn. I will be there. I don’t know what I’ll be doing, that’s pretty much up to Lev. It will probably involve talking of some sort. I don’t know if there’s an official non-Lev signing for anyone but I will bring a pen and I will happily sign things if asked.

At the moment it is my only scheduled appearance this year which I am doing because Lev asked me to and because I really loved this book.

Here’s the official Morgensternian blurb:

Lev Grossman has conjured a rare creature: a trilogy that simply gets better and better as it goes along. The Magician’s Land is sumptuous and surprising yet deliciously familiar, a glass of rich red wine left out for a hungry ghost. Literary perfection for those of us who grew up testing the structural integrity of the backs of wardrobes.

Here is the author-studded crowd-sourced book trailer:


And here is an extra bonus outtake from when I recorded my section back in April. Filmed in Toronto. There are puppies. Also this is when I realized I needed to cut my hair. I miss my jacket, it’s too hot now.

ill. boo.

So I managed to go the whole winter without getting sick and now I’ve spent the last two days in bed.

I’m better today than yesterday or Monday but still coughing like it’s my job so I’m mostly all about tea and reading and watching comfort movies like Wreck-It Ralph.

And today was a good book mail day.

supernatural enhancements

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero. I’ve heard a bit about it and it sounds super intriguing and I am in love with this cover. Also it goes well with my mug and my floor. Advance copy, comes out properly in August according to the informative spine.

Now I am going to read. Or nap. Or drink more tea. Or some combination thereof.

the enchanted

I have been waiting & waiting for this day. I read a manuscript of The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld last year and loved it so much I wanted to push it on people immediately but I had to be patient because it wasn’t coming out until March 4th, 2014 and hurrah! That day is finally here.

the enchanted

 

This is an exquisitely written, deep, dark book with a marvelous buoyancy that somehow keeps it from being too heavy which is particularly impressive considering it’s set on death row. The closest thing I can think to compare it to is The Shawshank Redemption, but truly I’ve never read anything like it.

And the finished book is just beautiful, with golden horses.

enchanted

Here’s my complete quote:

“The Enchanted wrapped its beautiful and terrible fingers around me from the first page and refused to let go after the last. A wondrous book that finds transcendence in the most unlikely of places, enshrouding horrible things in a gossamer veil of fantasy with a truly unforgettable narrator. So dark yet so exquisite.”

miscellany for mid-january in a short, unnumbered list

  • I read Stoner by John Williams over the weekend. I was gifted it over the holidays and it is exquisite. Such a lovely, lovely book.
  • I also got this Giada cookbook for the holidays and while I haven’t tried any of the proper recipes in it yet I have become mildly obsessed with putting olive oil and sea salt on my oatmeal.
  • I have to have my wisdom teeth removed at the end of the month but apparently I only have three of them so that’s… something, I guess? I will be making lots of soup beforehand.
  • My new-to-me, on-heavy-rotation January music includes Le Loup and Austra.
  • I am currently out of yerba mate and so my morning tea routine is all confusing and not routine. I have more mate on order. Today’s tea was guayusa with coconut sugar.
  • Considering I have started and erased this last unnumbered thing four times because I felt ending on tea just didn’t have a proper sense of completion, I’m going to stop typing and just post this now.

2013 favorites: books

2013 favorite books

Favorite Books Read in 2013

In order, as pictured, from left to right and going down the typewriter-sitting pile:

NOS4A2 – Joe Hill.  I believe my Twitter-length review was “made me fear Christmas and children more than I did already” but the tiny pointed teeth only scratch the surface of this epic ride of a novel. I can’t remember the last time I read something that took supernatural elements and wove them into the real world so masterfully and believably. Also, perfect holiday gift.

The Rathbones – Janice Clarke. Has my name on the cover for good reason, I adored this book to little pieces. Myth wrapped in sea shanty and family history, so beautifully told. I cannot wait to see what Janice does next, though of course I am going to be incredibly patient.

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson. I went on a Kate Atkinson bender last year so I was very much looking forward to this one and it didn’t disappoint. It also didn’t hurt that I read it in February surrounded by snow while housesitting for my parents, perfect mood for it. If you haven’t read it yet, winter would be a great time to dive in.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman. If I had a book to define my year it would be this one. Which I read early because Twitter is Magic and that of course led to more magic things. But beyond that, this lovely little book made me want to write again, in that magical way that I haven’t been feeling enough lately, and I got to thank Neil Gaiman for that personally.

Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson – Mark Siegel. I’d seen this on many of last year’s best books lists and I was curious but I still didn’t expect it to be as surprising and wonderful as it is. Beautiful art, beautiful story. I’ve been using it as a gateway drug for anyone who tells me they’ve never read a graphic novel.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan. Had you told me at the outset that this book would make me cry I would not have believed you but it snuck up on me at the end. I have a thing for endings, and while this book was fantastic fun the whole way through the very last pages are perfection. Also it glows in the dark.

Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh. I have said it before, I will say it again: I am grateful to live in a world that has Allie Brosh in it. I’ve been a fan of her blog for years and her posts on depression (I & II) are brilliant and funny and wonderfully real. I am grateful to have her words and pictures in book form to live on my shelf so I can re-read them over and over even without electricity or batteries.

Jim Henson: The Biography – Brian Jay Jones. I don’t really read biographies. I’ve read a few for research but that’s about it. I picked this up on a whim and then couldn’t put it down. It reminded me how much I grew up on all things Henson and Muppets and how much of an influence on my creative self he was and how I forget that sometimes because it’s so deeply engrained. I don’t remember a time pre-Muppets. I’m pretty sure The Great Muppet Caper was the first movie I saw in the theatre and I made my dad stay through the credits so we were the only ones left when Gonzo takes a photo of the audience. This biography is wonderful and engaging and a fantastic peek behind the curtain.

Y: The Last Man – Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra.  We went to Midtown Comics and started chatting with one of the booksellers (comicsellers? gurus?) who after he found out our tastes went on about all things Brian K. Vaughan. I got one volume of Y and then immediately had to read the rest of it. It’s epic and smart and surprising. I read a lot more Vaughan this  year but this one was my favorite, though I’m excited to see where Saga goes in the future. (Related: if anyone can tell me where I can find volume 4 of the deluxe editions of Ex Machina I’d appreciate it, I have all the others & I still don’t really understand why 4 is the elusive one.)

 

And a special bonus non-pictured tease because it was easily one of the very best things I’ve read this year, and possibly ever:

The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld. Not out until March 2014, but oh, this book. It is exquisite. I won’t tell you too much since it’s not available yet but I read it months ago in manuscript form and I’m so glad it has a perfect cover and I cannot wait to tweet and shout and spread the word about it. It’s extraordinary, truly.

 

So those are the favorites of the year for 2013. I had an off-kilter reading year, got a lot of things read in the first half of the year and then fell off the reading wagon a bit. (December was eaten by The Goldfinch. Still not done with it yet.) But it was a year full of wonderful books and surprises and I hope next year will bring even more.

double book birthday!

It is finally August 6th! I have been waiting for this day for so long because two of the best books I’ve read in the past year are out today, hurrah! Double book birthday!

(This is one of the frustrating aspects of getting advanced copies of things, waiting so long to be able to share fabulous new book discoveries.)

First, SAVE YOURSELF by the wonderful Kelly Braffet.

save yourselfI never know how to describe this book which I personally think of as an excellent quality in a novel. I’ve seen it called a thriller but it’s the kind of thriller that occurs in your backyard, in your neighborhood, at your convenience store. Where things have gone wrong before and will go wrong again and all you can do is keep turning the pages. One of those extraordinary books where the characters feel like living, breathing people. Dark and bleak yet so compelling. You know that feeling when you’re reading and you’re scared about what might happen but you have to find out and you feel all conflicted and nervous and it’s just delicious? That feeling. A lot.

This is the first novel of Kelly’s that I’ve read and I’m very much looking forward to reading her previous books. (Kelly is also featured in this fabulous NYT Magazine article about the absurdly talented King family.)

And sharing the auspicious August 6th book birthday, THE RATHBONES by Janice Clark.

rathbonesMy name is on the cover there so I think it’s probably obvious that I loved this one, but here’s the whole quote:

“Part odyssey, part ancestral mystery and part sea shanty, all brilliantly entwined and soaked in Greek myth. Mercy’s journey over sea and shore and through extraordinary family history is a remarkable tale, both epic and intimate. The Rathbones itself feels as though it was loom-woven or carved in whalebone. Beautifully crafted and elegantly told. A siren song of a story.”

I was super nervous when I picked this up because it seemed like it could have gone amiss with the layering of the Odyssey with whales and New England but it steers itself through this beautiful inbetween of reality and myth. It’s Janice’s debut novel and I cannot wait for her next one but I will be patient because I’m not one to talk on such a subject.

Go forth! Buy books! Read on beaches with sand between your toes or lounged upon backyard grass or couch curled or wherever your reading spot of preference is! It’s only August, still plenty of summer reading time.

post-ocean blue dress gratitude

Last week I got to wear a blue (blue! not black!) dress and interview Neil Gaiman and talk about The Ocean at the End of the Lane and admit in front of hundreds of people that I’ve never seen Doctor Who.

(I know. I’m sorry.)

I had planned on doing some sort of post-event blog post but then afterwards I really wasn’t sure what to say.

I had a lot of fun and though I was supremely nervous it went really well and everyone including Neil seemed very pleased with everything. He’s remarkably easy to interview considering he kept answering questions before I even asked them. Perhaps he’s clairvoyant. I met him for the very first time about an hour before we were on stage so the whole thing felt remarkably surreal.

There is an excellent writeup of the evening over on Tor.com (though I think a few of the quotes about whether or not we die may be misattributed).

I had many more questions than we had time for, though my main goal was to talk about things that maybe weren’t being talked about at every single stop on his tour, and we got tiny frogs in teacups and BPAL and Mythic Boy Jesus so I’d call that a win.

One of the last audience questions posed to Neil was “Who is your favourite living writer?” and of course it was a longer list than just one, and included a few recently no longer living writers as well, like Iain Banks and Diana Wynne Jones.

And I thought in that moment how incredibly lucky I was to be sitting there, when I will never get the opportunity to meet the other gigantic influence on my writer-brain I mentioned in my babbling introduction, the incomparable Douglas Adams.

There is a sentiment I am concerned got a bit lost in that babbling during that introduction (I was nervous), which is this:

I would not be the writer I am today without Neil Gaiman.

I’m not sure I would even be a writer at all without him.

I discovered his work at the perfect time for my developing story-brain and I am eternally grateful for that.

I’m not sure the gratitude got properly expressed then, so here’s an extra Thank You, Neil for good measure:

Thank you, Neil.

For your work and for asking me to do this event and for being a real live lovely person.

(Also I am sorry that I inadvertently stole the title of that Batman thing, but The Night Circus is indeed a really good title.)

Erin & Neil