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Snicket, or his publishers, sent out an email today to his mailing list, revealing some of the contents of his upcoming work The End (Book 13 of the Series of Unfortunate Events). I swear I am not making this up.

Dear Reader,

All of us at HarperCollins Children’s Books would like to extend our sincere apologies for yesterday’s surprising public announcement by Lemony Snicket. We discourage our authors from disclosing the contents of a book so far in advance of its publication -- especially a book as highly anticipated as Book the Thirteenth, THE END, which will not be released until October 13, 2006.

As a courtesy to dedicated fans, we thought it only fair to share Mr. Snicket’s revelations in an open forum. Below is the key information revealed by Mr. Snicket regarding the upcoming final installment of A Series of Unfortunate Events.


SPOILERS? )
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If you do not want to find out about some of the distressing events in this book, you may wish to avoid this review. )

ETA: As usual, Amazon provides us with reviews that entirely miss the point. One reviewer, writing about the series as a whole, complains, This series is well, pretty undescribable. It's hard to say whether they are excelltent [sic], or just garbage, but I guess it would depend on who was to read them. I strongly suggest these books for the younger readers, it's really not for older teens. The rambling of the author can get a bit old, but you also learn a lot of interesting words (and frankly loads of useless information) from them. Some of the books may seem pointless, maybe they are, but they're for kids, so if you're a young adult or an adult reading them, remember that.

Dear reviewer,

The interesting words, "useless" information, and layers of subtext and backstory which you call "rambling" are the best and most important parts of the Series of Unfortunate Events. The surface plots are merely window dressing, to use a term referring both to adornments that make windows look pretty and curtains that keep undesirable villains from peeking into one's house and spying on one's sugar bowl usage patterns.

Sincerely,
Rymenhild
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If you feel, for instance, that well-read people are less likely to be evil, and a world full of people sitting quietly with good books in their hands is preferable to a world filled with schisms and sirens and other noisy and troublesome things, then every time you enter a library you might say to yourself, "The world is quiet here," as a sort of pledge proclaiming reading to be the greater good.

~Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope

Other members of the greater LJ community* have spoken better than I could about how horribly bathetic (a word which here means "ludicrously anticlimactic, and also stupid") today's bombings were. Yet another group of terrorists decided to cause chaos in London -- and they weren't even talented enough to get more than one person hurt! Is terror being farmed out to amateurs these days? I have to say I find incompetent terrorists even more frightening than the ones who know what they're doing. Who knows what a few idiots with a few bombs can do? I don't know and I really don't want to find out.

In a comment to her most recent entry, [livejournal.com profile] greythistle spoke of the "awkward dusty reassurance" (a wonderfully apropos phrase) of Duke Humfrey's Library, the Bodleian, Oxford. As some of you may remember, I was in Duke Humfrey's on the morning of July 7. It's a quiet place, a safe place, smelling of parchment and decaying book bindings. I can't really imagine a better shelter from violence and stupidity than a seat among the bookshelves and the diamond-paned windows. Hence, new icon.

---

In other news, I am currently occupied in removing twenty years of possessions from the bedroom formerly known as mine in my family home. Beginning tomorrow, when my grandparents move into this bedroom, the house will contain three generations of adults. I don't actually know whether we can deal with this much familial closeness without beginning a civil war. Fortunately, I go back to California in a month.

To [livejournal.com profile] flintknappy and other people to whom I owe visits -- a thousand apologies for not getting back to you. The truth is that I don't actually know when I can come out to see you. The amount of already-scheduled time in the next month is rather daunting, really. We'll work something out.

---

*EDIT: The greater blogging community, that is. The Yorkshire Ranter is particularly good here. (Link from Making Light.)

EDIT 2: Also linked from Making Light is a rather Hawthornian essay on the Devil and Rick Santorum. I especially recommend it to [livejournal.com profile] fleurdelis28, [livejournal.com profile] navelofwine and [livejournal.com profile] muchabstracted, but really, it's hilarious and everyone should read it.
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A few fascinating discussions on LJ today

[livejournal.com profile] delamancha considers Discordia, the fear and darkness that inhabits life, and why we have a responsibility to deny it and affirm our love for existence. Listen:

It's everyday life, though, where the most important battles are fought, and the good word is carried to the masses via story of all kinds. It's why story is so important. It's why I'm doing what I'm doing, and why I'm studying what I'm studying. And when I tell people I'm a Unitarian Universalist and explain what that means, and they say, "No, what do you believe, in your heart of hearts?" --

If this makes sense, I guess you could put me down as a member of the First Church of Anti-Discordia.


Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] delamancha.

Various fans seem to have acquired snippets from Daniel Handler's original suggested screenplay for the Series of Unfortunate Events movie. I avoided seeing the Jim Carrey version, in fear of disapppointment, but I must say that if the movie were anything like Handler's screenplay, I would have no fear for it at all.

What's that thing Einstein said? )

***

The next friend I promised to praise was [livejournal.com profile] prosewitch. I can't believe it took me so long to announce her general brilliance here, but let me make up for the omission now. The day I met [livejournal.com profile] prosewitch, almost a year ago in a mutual friend's dorm room, we began to talk about young adult fiction and folklore, belly dancing and singer-songwriters, Internet culture and fanfic. We talked for two hours straight, completely ignoring the mutual friend, who was completely lost. We've had many fantastic discussions since then. [livejournal.com profile] prosewitch is a rigorous academic, a folklore scholar whose approach to the data will change her entire field in the next twenty years. She makes heavenly biscotti and is an excellent dancer. [livejournal.com profile] prosewitch is a beautiful, brilliant person and I'm privileged to be her friend.
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From a new short story by Lemony Snicket, published on the Web by USA Today:

Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you'd see...

The story is not Handler's best, but it's good enough to make me happy on a stressful morning in finals season.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
When feeding my Lemony Snicket obsession again yesterday, I noticed that one of the torn letters closing The Grim Grotto mentioned a place called the Galway Kennel. The Galway Kennel. If I had not known, from an offhand mention of Franz Wright, that Daniel Handler likes his modern-day poetry both obscure and sublime, I might possibly have fainted when I caught the reference. Galway Kinnell's Book of Nightmares is the single volume of poetry I love above all others. Once I read it aloud with [livejournal.com profile] muchabstracted, one summer day in northern Pennsylvania, in a parking lot off of the Appalachian Trail, accompanied by an African drum and the guest appearance of church bells, somewhere far off. Even without the drum and bells, the book sings; you should all listen to it.

The full text of The Book of Nightmares is available on the Web here.

--

Some links:

T is for Titus, whose victims were breaded.
[livejournal.com profile] angevin2 has Shakespeared (What? "Spear" is a verb) the Gashlycrumb Tinies.

Also, [livejournal.com profile] muchabstracted would probably be interested to know that [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner has an LJ, and [livejournal.com profile] prosewitch ought to see Neil Gaiman's review of Maria Tatar's new Brothers Grimm translation. [livejournal.com profile] genarti, look at how wonderful a community [livejournal.com profile] little_details is.

You people whose coolness I have promised to reveal to the world are all decidedly cool people, and I promise to tell everyone why in the next few days, but not tonight, as I want to get more work done at the moment.

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