Tuesday, 18 May 2010

You do NOT want to read any further

"With all due respect," so goes one of my favourite lines in the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books by Lemony Snicket, which have enthralled me as an adult. I was hooked, all line and sinker from the moment I read the following banner which had the fateful words:

Well, human nature being what it is, of course I fell for that one, and so I did read further and I was so gripped, that I went out and bought the first book "The Bad Beginning" immediately. It told an unhappy tale about three extremely unlucky children, the Baudelaire siblings, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, the baby. The first book was so bad, nay dreadful, that I had to rush out and buy the second one called The Reptile Room. That was even worse, so of course I bought the third book The Wide Window, which was even more depressing and lugubrious. I was a sucker for punishment. And so it went over the years until I had read and collected all unlucky 13 of them. The last one was aptly called "The End" Although the series is aimed at 8+ years of age (very clever 8-year-olds me thinks!), the stories are in fact written in such a beguiling and grown-up manner, with so many long words, such as "herpetologist", that as an adult, I found the stories very entertaining and yes, in a way, brilliant and frightfully amusing.

The Elusive Lemony Snicket
Harper Collins Publishers have published an interview with the enigmatic author Lemony Snicket here.

Below is a video of the author on Youtube talking about the new free online edition of The Bad Beginning.

You can browse inside "The Bad Beginning" and all the books via HarperCollins the publishers.. Be prepared, as it makes for extremely unpleasant reading!

All Our Yesterdays
Yesterday I revealed the series which got me into trouble at school. Today, I have openly revealed what has gripped me as an adult. How about you? Which series of books do you enjoy reading? I would love to know. Please do tell!


popps said...

I too started reading these books, and enjoyed them - particularly the word play. i remember one particular passage where he described "deja-vu" and rewrote the previous two pages - i have always admired writers who break the fourth wall whilst writing.

A memorable occurrence happened in steven King's Dark House when at the end of a chapter neea the end of the book suddenly surprised me with "and the story could stop there. you can choose to shut the book and it will be a happy ending. If you decide to carry on you will not like what is going to happen.

However , i never finished the series i stopped at 11 and i have always wondered if the story and any of its incidents resolve?

Not really a series but i recently - 3 years ago- discovered the novels of Bill Pronzini - its a sort-of-series as they involve the same character (detective) getting older and i decided to try to read the whole lot- a task enjoyable but frustrating as so many are out of print and one or two fetch collector's prices on amazon.

Janet Bianchini said...

With all due respect, I agree with you about writers who break the fourth wall (an unusual turn of phrase). It makes you want to read even more. I have a copy of Beatrice's Letters and The Unauthorised Autobiography of Lemony Snicket. All part of his mysterious life.

I have only ever read Stephen King's series of chapters that he published called "The Green Mile" and that was a really good read. The film was just as good, I thought.

I haven't heard of Bill Pronzini's novels - they sound interesting though.

Thanks very much for commenting on this subject. I don't seem to have the knack for asking questions which generate answers all the time, so I'm always thrilled when it happens.

Arjana said...

That's amazing, Janet! I have the whole series, the LS unauthorised bio and Beatrice's letters too!
I bought the first book as a present for my then 14-year old son - it was in English as at that time (in 2005) there were no Croatian translations yet. He fell for it the moment he read that, unlike the movie, you can't read the book in one sitting. Of course he did read it in one sitting and from then on we were impatiently waiting for the others to arrive from the Amazon the moment they were published.
We love the Baudelaire siblings and although everything that happens to the orphans is extremely sad and very frustrating there's this feeling of warmth and affection skillfully interwoven in between the lines.
Your post made me want to read the books once again. Thanks!

Janet Bianchini said...

Thank you so much Arjana for commenting here. It is great we have the same taste!

Have you got "Behind the Scenes with Count Olaf" and "The Pessimistic Posters"? These came out as extras as a result of the film. I snapped them up as soon as I saw them and added them to my "Lemony Snicket" box, where I keep all the ephemera, connected to the books and film, such as freebie bookmarks and postcards etc.

Unfortunately, when he was a kitten, Joey got his teeth onto one of the very colourful bookmarks that were given away with the books, which reads "World Snicket Day 28th October 2003. No wizards. No happy endings. Read something else". I think the "No Wizards" must refer to Harry Potter?

I have managed to reread the Bad Beginning today and it is great!

I was thinking of your wonderful Glogster posters that you and your students create so brilliantly and I just wished I could have drummed up a quick one on the books to include in this post. I still haven't got round to creating one. I really must do so soon, before something else takes its place!!

Best wishes


Eva Büyüksimkesyan said...

Hi Janet,
Great posts. And one more thing in common, I love Enid Blyton. I read Famous Five, Malory Towers but my fave was Secret Seven. I remember my mum buying me one book every Friday and they only would last for some hours.
Thanks for sharing.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Eva

I loved the Secret Seven as well!! I used to read them under the covers of my bed with a torch. When my parents would come up to check that me and my sisters were sleeeping ok, I used to switch oiff the torch and pretend I was asleep. As soon as they left the room, I would switch on my torch and continue reading the Enis Blyton books until the early morning. How naughty was that??

popps said...

Have you read any of David Handler's novels?
I tried one, Watch your Mouth but failed to make significant progress,

Janet Bianchini said...

I have only read ASOUE. Reading through the Lemony Snicket wikipedia page brought me onto David Handler's page. He seems to be just as interesting as his nom de plume.