The Circus

Inside the world of the big top, even after the tents are folded.



Night After Night

By Diana Starr Cooper


Cooper fusses lovingly over a traditional, one-ring circus in New York City, studying the wonder of its smallest moments (aerialists chalking their hands, elephants moving about) as well as the powerful feeling an audience shares with circus performers. Life in their charmed circle gets a close and revealing look.




Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Memoir of Tiny Kline

By Tiny Kline and Janet M. Davis


Acrobat Tiny Kline spent most of her life (1891-1964) entertaining somehow, whether in the burlesque house, the traveling circus, or at Disneyland. Her fascinating tale of everyday circus life, including its sexual politics and labor relations, also chronicles the era's cultural transformation. Circus historian Davis annotates extensively throughout.



Geek Love: A Novel

By Katherine Dunn


Art and Lily decide their traveling carnival needs a little juicing up. So they breed a family of freaks with the help of a few experimental drugs: meet Aqua Boy, the Siamese twins/pianists, an albino hunchback, a telekinetic boy, and a bizarrely twisted, but undeniably American family in DUnn's compelling tale.




The Circus, 1870-1950

By Noel Daniel


It used to be that the circus was America’s biggest show-business industry. There were actual circuses to dream of running away to then --  and railroads for those wannabe daredevils, showgirls, clowns, and roustabouts to ride. Daniel brings back to life a lost moment in American cultural history.




Under the Big Top: A Season with the Circus

By Bruce Feiler


Feiler spends a year living his childhood dream: traveling the small cities of the South and Northeast as a clown with the one-ring Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus. He comes away with a warm, thoughtful recollection of the circus characters who build a community within their gritty, unique world.



April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.