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Veronica Varlow
  -  Things I Think About Thursday   -  Must-Read Books: My Current Top 3 Drugs of Choice

I met her imagination as I devoured the 516 pages of her book on a flight from South America.

I met her in person in a 1920s train car over tea.

Her name is Erin Morgenstern and I fell head over heels in love with her in an instant.

Her book The Night Circus is one of my favorite books and one of my recommended “drugs of choice”.
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I don’t want to give anything away – but it involves mystery, magic and a circus that emerges from seemingly nowhere and opens at dusk each evening…until it disappears just as easily as it arrived. From cover to cover, it was a journey that gripped me, a story so committed and so detailed that I wandered among the circus tents myself. The Night Circus is a place I would happily lose myself in forever…
He was wearing a leather jacket the night we met. He was opening for the Magnetic Fields in New York City. He didn’t have a band, he had something better…his words. The crowd hushed when he took the microphone and brought us into his world of story. Since then, he has become a cherished friend to me, and a great supporter of my own storytelling – encouraging me on at the Moth from half way around the world.

His name is Neil Gaiman and he is a master of wild tales, of intricate and beautiful fantasy. I first read his novel American Gods the year that I had a Summer hiding space near deserted railroad tracks and a babbling creek. I feasted on that book…page by page, forcing myself to stop at points and wait to savor the next pages for later.

His brand new book, The Ocean At The End of The Lane, does it again – my battered copy has been left with dog eared corners and sections circled with my pen – well-loved and deeply experienced. A vivid story woven through the power of memory and childhood, mythical creatures and menace. What I adore about both Gaiman and Morgenstern is that they can write about fantasy and magic in a way that is unmistakeably real – and that’s what steals my heart every time. Their words shape into keys for passage into other worlds.
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I met her six years ago on stairs underground. She brushed against me on the subway entrance in Brooklyn and whipped around. She was in black and sparkles. Raven hair, liquid cat eyeliner, red lipstick and a business card covered in glitter. She quickly became one of the best friends of my life, with her sense of adventure, her quick and honest wit, and her sassy ways. She is an artist in every sense of the word – from how she expresses herself to the things she creates with her hands.

Her name is Sarah Sparkles and Parades, Parties and Protests is her insider’s look at art and activism in the underground.
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I’ve had the good fortune of accompanying her on many of these wild exploits…(see if you can find our picture together at an Occupy Wall Street protest inside). This book is a beautifully documented history of people coming together to create art in response to uncertain political times and war. Sarah Sparkles takes the reader along with her into a true and detailed journey of the art underground to experience how they used their talents, their passions and their imaginations to get their voices heard by the world. Parades, Parties and Protests is a fearless and powerful love letter to the creative revolutionaries of our time.

Michelle, Sarah and me with our books!

Michelle, Sarah and me with our books!

What gorgeous worlds are you escaping to through books? Let me know. I wanna go with you, too. Give me your top recent recommendations…

Spill it.

Finding my own heaven on the floor of a bookstore…

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