10 Fascinating Books About Circuses/Carnivals

For me, autumn is associated with circuses and carnivals, maybe because Halloween is approaching and I think of country fairs, masks, costumes, etc. Thus, I am presenting ten books, in no particular order and both fiction and non-fiction, that revolve around circuses or carnivals.

I. Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham

Nightmare Alley is a fast-paced pulp noir that tells a journey of ambitious and street-smart Stanton Carlisle, working as a mentalist, through all the dark sides of one second-rate carnival show. The structure of this book is dictated by a Tarot deck, and the novel has now been adapted twice – as a 1947 film noir starring Tyrone Power and as a 2021 film directed by Guillermo del Toro.

II. The Circus Fire: A True Story of An American Tragedy by Stewart O’Nan

This book is about the 6 July 1944 circus fire disaster that occurred in Hartford, Connecticut, when a big top of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus caught fire in the middle of a performance with some 7000 people inside. At least 167 people died and another 700 were injured, and this book, filled with maps and photographs, painstakingly sets down all the circumstances leading up to the tragedy, including previous fires and circus arrangements, before talking about acts of heroism on the day and the aftermath, when the injured had to deal with PTSD.

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The Mardi Gras Book Tag

Mardi GrasI noticed this tag yesterday at Madame Writer, and decided to give it a go because Mardi Gras is a fascinating tradition and New Orleans, the place where it is famously celebrated, is a special place, indeed. The original tag can be found at RandomlyBookishGina. Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is another name for celebratory Carnival events, when people can enjoy themselves by eating and drinking as much as they want before the Lent season begins. It is celebrated around the world in Roman Catholic countries as a Carnival, and, apart from a big celebration in New Orleans, US, there are also big events taking place in Venice, Italy and in Brazil.

The Secret History Book CoverI. Designated Driver: What re-read book is reliable to get you out of a reading slump? 

I do not really have “reading slumps”, but I can re-read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History [1992] to remind myself why I love “contemporary” books. This is a book that ticks all the boxes for me: intriguing character studies, a slow slide into the macabre, and beautiful language, among many other things. I highly recommend it.  Continue reading “The Mardi Gras Book Tag”