Book Review – The Night Circus

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 “‘People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see.’” – page 28

TheNightCircusMorgenstern, Erin.
The Night Circus: A Novel.
New York: Doubleday, 2011.
Call number: Popular Reading PS3613.O74875N54 2011.

The circus arrives without warning, appearing overnight, just outside of town. Within the intricate wrought-iron fence surrounding the circus no splash of color can be seen: a variety of tents in various sizes are striped only in black and white, the ground around them powdered in black and white swirls. Even from the outside, it is obvious that this circus – the Night Circus, or Le Cirque des Rêves, for the gate opens at sundown – is different. And once the gate does open visitors are met with the traditional acts of acrobatics and fortune telling, showcased alongside strange and unique wonders such as a never-melting ice garden, a wishing tree, and a maze of clouds. At dawn, the circus closes; after a time, it disappears as quickly as it came.

As children, Celia and Marco are bound to the Night Circus by their instructors. For Celia, raised and trained by her father, Prospero the Enchanter, this means she is eventually hired as a circus performer. For Marco, plucked from an orphanage at a young age and trained by a strange man named Alexander, this means working as an aide to the circus’ proprietor. But the circus is more than a job, it is the venue of a challenge – both trained illusionists, Celia and Marco are each expected to outperform the other in feats of magical ability, until such time as only one remains. However, as the years pass and the Night Circus travels the globe, Celia and Marco begin to think of the circus as a collaboration rather than a competition – they pour their love for each other into the circus, transforming it as well as the game to which they are bound.

Erin Morgenstern’s singular story of the Night Circus is told in three different narrative lines, which loop and regularly intertwine. The story begins as if the reader were attending the circus, experiencing its wonders firsthand. After an introduction, the story travels back to events that took place long before the circus was imagined: a magical wager, snippets of Celia’s training, and Marco’s solitary life. Finally, the story skips ahead, introducing Bailey Clarke, a Massachusetts boy yearning for something more than the farm on which he was raised. The rich prose used throughout each of the story’s three threads is sprinkled with alliteration and descriptive detail, ultimately pulling the different narratives together to form a cohesive and magical whole, much like the acts in the circus at the heart of the tale.

Library Classes This Week

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Library-Training-LogosmOur goal is to serve students, faculty, and staff with free learning opportunities. We are here to help you learn how to use library resources, search the internet effectively, and find, use, and credit the information sources you need.

Here are the classes we’re offering this week:

Library Research for Engineering
Tuesday, September 16
3:30pm – 4:15pm
Cooper Library, Room 204
Description: Want to get started using the library for engineering research? Let the Engineering Librarian show you how it’s done. Topics covered include finding articles in specialized databases, using information from one article to find other relevant articles, and using RefWorks to keep track of everything.
Registration is required for this event.

Pulling Together A Great Literature Review
Wednesday, September 17
10:10am – 10:40am
Cooper Library, Room 204
Description: What exactly is a literature review? How can you do a great one as efficiently as possible? Come find out!
Registration is required for this event.

Building A Better Search
Thursday, September 18
2:00pm – 2:30pm
Cooper Library, Room 309
Description: Get insider tips on how to supercharge your searches, find better stuff in the same amount of time, and generally make your life just a bit easier!
Registration is required for this event.

Accessing the Library Online (online only event)
Thursday, September 18
1:30pm – 2:00pm
Description: Need an article but can’t make it to the library? Dread trying to find a book in the stacks because the way they’re arranged makes no sense? Have a topic you have no idea how to begin researching? In this session, you’ll learn what online resources the Libraries have to make these tasks and others easier to accomplish.
Registration is required for this event.

See more classes on our classes and training calendar. Questions? Ask a Librarian.

Monthly Midweek Music Returns

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music-note-8Monthly Midweek Music in Cooper Library kicks off the 2014-15 season on Wednesday, September 17 from 12:30-1 pm with Faculty Gone Feral.  This CU ensemble performs traditional American, Irish and French Canadian string band music on Irish button accordion (Elizabeth Adams, Women’s Studies) and fiddle (Mike Ellison, Materials Science).

Each performance is at 12:30pm in the lobby of Cooper Library. You can find more information on the other performers on our Midweek Music page.

Midweek Music performances last for 30 minutes. If you need a quieter environment, we have silent study zones on the lower floors.

Noise Alert!

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Friday, Sept 12, 2014 beginning at 8:00am Conea shelving removal project will take place. This project is part of a larger effort to open up more user space! Additional quiet spaces are available on 1st or 2nd floors.

Activity on 5th Floor

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weeding 5th floorAs you may have noticed, things are changing on the east side of the 5th floor. You may see people working and there may be some noise.

In preparation for the new Adobe Digital Studio (coming in 2015), we will be shifting the print collections around to make room. As part of this process, we are discarding some older materials and sending others to our off-site storage in Anderson.

The subject librarians in charge of these materials are evaluating them very carefully and taking a variety of factors into account including how often the materials are used, where the next nearest copy is available through Interlibrary Loan, and whether or not we can replace it with an electronic version that is easier to access.

Scan the QR code on the large poster in the area to learn more. We expect this project to continue through November.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact Derek Wilmott, Project Manager. Thank you!

Noise Alert — 3rd Floor!

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ConeJust kidding! We’ve learned that this project will be rescheduled. We’ll keep you posted on when that will be. Sorry for the confusion.


Beginning at 8am, there will be some noise and disruption on the 3rd floor near the east employee exit doors. We are taking down an empty range of shelving.

We apologize for creating such a disturbance in a silent study zone. You can find other silent  or quiet zones on other floors.

We hope the deconstruction won’t take long!

Confessions of a Serial Study-ier

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Have You Seen The Second Floor?!?!

This summer, some serious renovations began on the 2nd floor of the Cooper! If you are looking for a quiet study area with a space to stretch your legs (and take an occasional nap), the second floor is right up your alley! With more tables and chairs and special “cubby holes”, this wide array of furniture offers more private space as well as group space that is customizable for students in need.

New furniture on the 2nd floor includes:

  • High wooden tables that seat 8. Perfect for group work and projects!
  • Orange and purple rolling chairs with storage space for your book bags.
  • Rectangle nooks with re-arrangeable dividers to create the perfect private area.

I don’t know about you guys, but as a serial study-ier, I am IN LOVE with the new nooks. It’s great for hanging and studying with friends, but I can also stretch out and be alone and unbothered for a few moments.

What do you guys think about these new additions to the library? Tweet, Facebook or Instagram us and let us know!


This blog post is written by one of our student assistants; Keanyn Brannon-Smalls.

Keanyn is a senior management major from Columbia, South Carolina. Her main interests are marketing, photography and sports (Football is her passion. Go Cowboys!) After graduation, she’d love to go into the field of sports marketing, sports management or event planning.

Connect with Cooper!

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Whether you’re in Brazil or on the 2nd floor of Cooper Library, you’ve got access to top notch resources!

Check out all the ways you can connect with the library from our homepage: www.clemson.edu/library.

Hope to “see” you at the library very soon!

Test Prep Materials Book Display

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test prep books smStudying for an admissions or language proficiency test?  The library can help!

A selection of test prep materials on the ASVAB, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MAT, MCAT, Praxis, and TOEFL iBT is currently located atop the TAPS shelving on the 4th floor of Cooper Library.  In addition to the display, the library offers access to test prep materials in ebook format and maintains a Careers & College Information LibGuide with a helpful Practice Tests tab.

See more about this display and previous ones on our Display guide.