At the Sun-Gazette, staff members tend to read. A lot. So we thought we would share what we're reading and let you know how they fare.
Submissions from the community also are encouraged and may be mailed to the Lifestyle Department, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also are interested in what you want us to read and review; just send us an email or give us a call at 326-1551, ext. 3108.
Reader: David Bross of Williamsport.
What I read: "Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern.
Synopsis: It's the late 1800s and two magicians have a running wager. Periodically, each man selects a promising student and spends years grooming them in the arts of illusion, manipulation, misdirection and distraction.
The two men then pit their students in a contest to see which man has created the most powerful magician. This contest, or challenge, as these two despicable men choose to call it, tests the students' mastery of magic and preys on their emotions as they gradually discover the lethal nature of the challenge.
As the book opens, we are introduced to a most unusual and fascinating circus. It appears without notice, is only open at night and then is gone just as mysteriously. It is a marvelous circus that delights the senses and captures the imagination of all who enter.
Officially known as Le Cirque des Reves (The Circus of Dreams), the night circus is the arena for the latest episode of the heinous bet.
Initially unaware of the deadly nature of the contest, the two contestants attempt to prove their worthiness to their masters in hopes that they can then move on with their lives.
Gradually, they begin to understand that their masters see them as nothing more than puppets to be manipulated and discarded when no longer of value.
Stats: Published by Anchor Books 2011, 512 pages, $15.
What I thought: I was hooked after the first paragraph, "The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards ... it is simply there. When yesterday it was not."
My biggest fear was that the ending wouldn't be as good as the rest of the book. In fact, it was better than I had hoped. I would have been very happy if the book ended with the two master magicians being slowly roasted alive on a spit.
Fortunately, the author possessed more imagination and maturity than I did. Morgenstern allowed the students to deal with their "mentors" in a way that was very satisfying, but not fueled by revenge.
What I'm reading next: "The Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend" by Matthew Dicks.