By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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These are the Night Circus lights. Glowing inside a cluster of tents, they herald Le Cirque des Reves, the Circus of Dreams.
So begins the novel The Night Circus, with the promise of a another world, just beyond the surface.
This is the feeling, too, of reading late into a long winter's night, of diving into a story that floods the mind with light. So the librarians of the North Olympic system have constructed their kind of night circus, to open today and carry readers through the long nights ahead. The Winter Reading Circus is on at all four Clallam County libraries, in Port Angeles, Forks, Clallam Bay and Sequim with free activities, movies and prizes ranging from the refreshing to the romantic.
This circus is for adults — age 18 and older — in a kind of counterpoint to the libraries' summer reading program for youngsters. Those who sign up receive a reading log and a coupon, while supplies last, for a free hot beverage at a local coffee shop or stand.
Participants who read or listen to five books of their choice between now and March 19, will receive a Winter Reading Circus reusable tote bag and become eligible to win a Nook e-reader or a night's stay for two at Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park. Read or listen to even more books, and you earn more chances to win, added librarian Lorrie Kovell.
The Night Circus, a best-selling love story about two young magicians by Erin Morgenstern, inspired this whole thing, Kovell said.
“Given the resurgence of local interest in circus arts, cabaret and burlesque shows, the library [staff] thought adults might enjoy a reading program with these themes. And of course,” she added, “the long Northwest nights are perfect for reading.”
Through January, February and much of March, all four Clallam libraries will invite local residents to discussions of The Night Circus — copies of which are available for checkout — and to screenings of movies such as “Cabaret” and “The Greatest Show on Earth.” That Cecil B.
DeMille classic will be shown Jan. 16 at the Sequim Library and Jan. 18 at the Port Angeles Library. All of these events are free to the public.
To generate excitement at the outset, there will be live entertainment. This Friday at 7 p.m. at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St., magician Louie Foxx, aka the “One Man Side Show,” will perform, as will juggler Mario Lorenz. During their show, “books may fly through the air” Kovell quipped. She added that while Lorenz is known for his performances with the Atlanta and Seattle symphonies and on “America's Funniest People,” Foxx is a Guinness World Record holder for bouncing a soap bubble 107 times before it burst.
Later in the Winter Reading Circus season, adventurous adults can partake in another feat of derring-do: a hula-hoop class. Participants are invited to make their own hula hoops — and try them out — in the session at 7:30 p.m. March 1 at the Port Angeles Library.
The number for information about activities in Port Angeles is 360-417-8500, while details about events at all four libraries awaits at the North Olympic Library System website, www.NOLS.org.
This is one of the most elaborate adult reading programs ever mounted by the library system, said associate director Margaret Jakubcin. It's been percolating since October as staffers cooked up “something fun and lively to break up the winter.”
In programs like this, it's the prizes that pique readers' interest, Jakubcin finds. Adults are remarkably enthusiastic about the little things like coffee coupons. So it pays to join the circus early, she said, so you can be sure of getting one of those before they run out.
The libraries' auxiliary groups — the Port Angeles Friends of the Library and the friends groups for the Forks, Clallam Bay and Sequim branches — provide the funding for the circus, Jakubcin noted.
“We simply could not offer this pretty astounding level of programming without their support,” she said. The friends raise money from used-book sales, holiday bazaars and dues; information about joining can be found under the “About NOLS” link on www.NOLS.org.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.