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Our First Digital Book Featured as the “Pick of the Week”

The Night Circus from author Erin Morgenstern

As part of the expanded Pick of the Week program, Starbucks is featuring an extended sample of the book The Night Circus from Erin Morgenstern. The Night Circus Pick of the Week Card will be available from September 13-19, while supplies last at Starbucks company-operated and select licensed stores. 

Erin Morgenstern’s riveting debut novel, The Night Circus, is an expansive and warmhearted tale of student magicians and the mysterious setting of their encounters.  We are pleased to offer an exclusive short essay about The Night Circus from author Erin Morgenstern in celebration of its arrival as our Pick of the Week:

Imaginary Architecture

Erin Morgenstern

I think I must have been an architect in a past life, or possibly an interior designer; definitely one of those occupations that involves creating space because, in this lifetime, that place-building sensibility has become the core of my writing.

I’ve always loved books that feel like locations to be visited, and stories that feel like journeys to elsewhere. And I don’t just mean wonderlands or fantastical worlds, but also trips through gothic mansions with creaking stairs, or travels aboard softly swaying train cars.

The Night Circus began as an exploration of imaginary architecture. It started with the circus itself: tall striped tents and curling wrought iron fences, a central bonfire-lit courtyard and winding paths. I spent a long time walking around those paths in my head and investigating the contents of each tent, often building additional structures inside them—from unusual carousels to mazes of clouds.

Beyond the tents, there is the curiosity-filled mansion inhabited by the somewhat eccentric circus proprietor—an enigma of a townhouse with antique armament hanging in a room concealed by a stained glass sunset, and a sarcophagus propped up between the well-stocked bookshelves in the library.

And then there are rain-coated city streets dotted with umbrellas, formal dining tables covered with slowly dripping candles, cafes scented with cinnamon, and solitary oak trees overlooking fields that are not always empty.

I explore when I write, finding doors to open, the walls they fit within, and then there’s the matter of discovering the rooms that lie beyond. Within those rooms (or tents in this case) I encounter characters. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out what they’re doing there and where they came from, what caused their scars, what secrets lie within.

But everything starts with place. What it looks like, how it feels, what sort of scents permeate the air. And I endeavor to put the places down on paper in a way that they feel almost palpable. So a reader can buy a ticket and hopefully immerse themselves in the journey. I hope The Night Circus is just such a place…

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