Favourite Books - A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Of course, it is quite possible to be in the dark in the dark, but there are so many secrets in the world that it is likely that you are always in the dark about one thing or another, whether you are in the dark in the dark or in the dark not in the dark, although the sun can go down so quickly that you may be in the in the dark about being in the dark, only to look around and find yourself no longer in the dark about being in the dark, but in the dark in the dark nontheless, not only because of the dark, but because of the ballerinas in the dark, who are not in the dark about the dark, but also not in the dark about the locked cabinet, and you may be in the dark about the ballerinas digging up the locked cabinet in the dark, even though you are no longer in the dark about being in the dark, and so you are in fact in the dark about being in the dark, even though you are not in the dark about being in the dark, and so you may fall into the hole that the ballerinas have dug, which is dark, in the dark, and in the park.
(inspired by mmorrow’s magazine-type photosets)
Brett Helquist has recently made these fine-art prints (more to come soon!) of his illustrations for A Series of Unfortunate Events available for purchase on Etsy. I am excited at the chance to have his art on my wall.
Welp, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME.
THIN LITTLE CRIMES
a mix for a series of unfortunate events — for the wicked, the noble enough, and the fine, fine line between them. for spies, schisms, and sinister schemes. for watching the skies, a message hidden in the jam, a box of poison darts changing hands at the opera. • listen | download
i will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. i will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world.
i’ve written pages upon pages trying to rid you from my bones; a lemony snicket/beatrice baudelaire fanmix
01. la forza del destino: overture - giuseppe verdi
02. in your dreams - dark dark dark
03. the sword & the pen - regina spektor
04. i’m not calling you a liar - florence + the machine
05. beloved - april smith and the great picture show
06. the engine driver - the decemberists
07. a spell for letting go - dark dark dark
08. flowers grow out of my grave - dead man’s bones
From A Series of Unfortunate Events DVD commentary track.
if you haven’t watched this film with the commentary then you are missing out, it’s hilarious. “Lemony Snicket” was completely unhappy with the film and wanted no real part of it and so in the commentary he just fucks about. Seriously, at one point he gets out an accordion and drowns out the director with his playing
Hey guys. So I want to talk to you about one of the greatest heroines ever written for young adult literature, and that is A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Violet Baudelaire.
In any discussion of women in YA lit, there are basically three names that come up: Bella Swan (generally derided as weak and useless), Hermione Granger (whom everyone agrees is THE BESTEST!!!!), and Katniss Everdeen (jury’s still out on that one, but the consensus as far as I’ve seen is that feminist bloggers and Twilight haters alike super love her). Violet rarely comes up, which I think is a shame, because I would argue that she’s perhaps better written than all three of those other young women.
Note that I’m not saying she’s a better woman. This isn’t one of those posts where someone tries to empirically prove that this character is TOTALLY BETTER than that character, because I find that sort of thing dull and counterproductive. I’m not trying to pit different ladies against each other, because I’m generally against that sort of thing (though I don’t think having a preference between two female characters or real-life women makes you sexist). This is more of an exploration on how young women are treated in books geared toward tweens, and how we could all perhaps take a lesson from Daniel Handler (a male writer, interestingly enough) in this arena.
The first thing that strikes me when analyzing ASOUE from a feminist perspective is that Violet is, of course, a skilled inventor, a field in which you don’t see many fictional women. A different writer might have stuck to more “traditional” gender roles and cast Violet as the bookish wordsmith and Klaus as the science-minded inventor, but wouldn’t that have been boring, really? The boy tinkers around in his laboratory and invents things that save the day, and his sister occasionally correctly defines a word. Boring. But what’s even more interesting to me is that Violet, despite having tremendous skill in a traditionally “non-feminine” area, is never presented as The Exceptional Woman, which is perhaps my least favorite trope in fiction, one that has ruined countless characters for me (Veronica Mars, Ginny Weasley, River Song). Rather, each of the kids in the book has one particular skill that saves everyone else’s asses at least once, and even among the girls, they’re evenly split between the “feminine” (Sunny the cook, Isadora the poet) and the “masculine” (Violet the inventor, Fiona the mycologist).
Furthermore, her looks are only commented on once or twice, and always by another character — never by herself or the narrator. This is significant. Young women in literature are almost always given a thorough physical description, whether it’s fawning or, more commonly, one of those “So-and-so was hardly beautiful — in fact, she was really rather plain, with boring brown eyes and long dark hair that fell into her face” deals that contemporary authors love. Even in Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, Katniss and Hermione’s appearances are mentioned quite a few times. But in ASOUE, none of the Baudelaire kids are really described in detail, aside from Klaus’s glasses (which are often a plot point) and Violet tying up her hair when she has to think. THIS IS HUGE. I don’t know if I’m making a mountain out of a molehill here, but honestly, it’s so refreshing to see a teenage girl character who isn’t defined in any way by her looks, whether beautiful or exceptionally “plain.” It simply doesn’t matter; she’s got 99 problems but a zit ain’t one. Similarly, while she and Klaus both get romantic subplots with tertiary characters, they never threaten to take over the actual plot. These kids are kind of busy trying to escape a crapton of people who want them dead, and there’s not a ton of time left over to moon over Quigley Quagmire (though I loved their little romance, don’t get me wrong!).
Furthermore, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MORAL AMBIGUITY OF THIS CHARACTER. There are quite a few moments in the books wherein Violet and Klaus discuss whether or not their actions — causing lots of deaths, burning down the carnival and the Hotel Denouement, et cetera — mean that they’re just as bad as the people from whom they’re running. I mean, there have probably been lots of essays written about how smart these books are (come on, it’s essentially a kids’ book series about ethical relativism!) but honestly, how often in the lit world, kids’ or adults’, do you see teenage female characters struggling with these kinds of huge moral issues? Not particularly often, to my knowledge.
This obviously isn’t the most well-written little post and I’m probably going to revise it a bunch of times until it’s actually a smart piece of analysis and not just a FEELINGS GEYSER about a criminally underrated kids’ book series, but for now, I’m just going to post it and that’s that.
The end, but not really.
excellent character, excellent series
“Sometimes, just saying that you hate something, and having someone agree with you, can make you feel better about a terrible situation.”
― Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning
I LOVE those books! I was just talking to Shannon about them yesterday, actually, so they are fresh in my mind. Basically I think that Daniel Handler / Lemony Snicket is a fantastic storyteller, in terms of plot construction and character creation (I loved the Baudelaire kids) and the actual writing itself and everything. The books are hilarious and terrifying and I cried at the end of almost every one. I also learned a lot from them. The Wide Window taught me the difference between its and it’s, and all those “a word which here means” asides gave me skewed but somehow functioning definitions of words I hadn’t known before.
They were also, aside from the obvious exception of Harry Potter, the first books that got me really theorizing about what would happen when the next one came out, or at the end of the series, or if so-and-so was really dead, all that good stuff. I wouldn’t say I was a part of the fandom in any way, but I was definitely a huge fan. Still am, though I think the last time I read the books was in early high school. Maybe I will reread them this summer.
The day of the baby shower, Andy has an idea. He thinks about it as he climbs up to the attic: he won’t have to spend money, the baby won’t choke on them, he’ll be clearing out storage space. When he opens the box, Woody and Buzz are looking up at him as if they just opened their eyes, and he remembers.
Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (via marigoldsandmerry-go-rounds)
#Snicket Summer ‘11 #This became ridiculously apparent when packing up my college dorm room… #I love the author insertion of the Lemony Snicket story in these books. It’s the best. #If you disagree I will fight you. #Only Natalie can read these tags.
All of this makes me happy and laughy