Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Circus is Coming to Town

For those who grew up without a local zoo near, the circus was the only way to see exotic animals, like lions and tigers and bears, oh my! My favorite creatures to see were always the monkeys and the elephants. I still remember my first elephant ride. Even though it was just around the ring, it made me dream of going on safari in Africa. I haven’t accomplished that yet, but it sure is on my lottery spending list.

I just got around to reading Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen. I never was interested in reading it before. For some reason I thought it was about Indian elephants. That tells you how busy I was when the book first came out. Now that I have seen the previews for the movie and saw the rapid read copy was available the day I was at a loss for books.....well it jumped up and said read me! Since then I have been transported into a Depression era carnival full of intrigue, romance, suspense and a lovely elephant named Rosie. I was quite surprised by the ending and you may be too.

Under the Electric Sky : the legacy of the Bill Lynch Shows
By Christopher A. Walsh.

Anyone who grew up in the Maritimes is familiar with the Bill Lynch Show. What you may not be aware of is how much the gentleman gave back to the communities he traveled . He was very kind and generous to the disabled community, giving free rides and always treating them with respect. The books features memories and stories from former and present workers and the history of the show itself.

Eyeing the Flash: the education of a carnival con man
by Peter Fenton.

Like all businesses, carnivals are in it for the money. Like any other form of gambling, whether it is in a casino hall or the church bingo, the “cards” are always stacked in favor of the house. In order to win the prize it is set up that you lose and have to try, try again. Ego usually plays a part in this and the con men of the carnival are good at playing your emotions. Peter Fenton grew up with a mathematical mind that made him good at carnival games. Even though he rose quickly through the ranks of the carnival, he did eventually quit. He went on to college and became a writer for the “National Enquirer”. So in a way I guess he is still running a scam.

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno
by Ellen Bryson

P.T. Barnum may not have been the first man to show freaks but his name has certainly become famous; firstly for his museum and then his traveling shows of Ringling, Barnum and Bailey Circus. In 1865, Barnum ran the American Museum in New York City, part natural history museum, part theatre and part sideshow. In this fictional account, Fortuno lives in relative comfort as part of the museums “living curiosities”, as the world's living skeleton due to his extreme thinness. After a decade on the show Barnum arrives with a mysterious woman and asks Fortuno to follow her. What happens next shakes his life to its core.

So there you have just a small taste of the magical world of carnivals. May you take a trip to make-believe in the near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment