Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"The End" is on Friday 13th October

"The End" is nigh.

After selling over 50 million copies, Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events series finishes up this Friday with the publication of volume 13, "The End". Pity I'm a whole hemisphere away from the Fond du Lac Library in Wisconsin, where they are marking the release with a trivia quiz and a chance to win a copy.

If you are not a kid's librarian, it is still worth checking out the series, particularly the 12th volume "The Penultimate Peril". This is set in the Hotel Denouement, that has arranged its services according to the Dewey decimal system. The elevator is on the First Floor at 118 (Force and Energy). The ninth floor includes an Indian restaurant (954) and a space observatory (999). If you want to know the rest of the layout, try the entire entry devoted to it in Wikipedia. (But please don't let those people who accuse Wikipedia of being a shallow and skewed source know it exists..shhhh.)

Although more paranoid librarians whisper that it was a cynical "made to order" effort, with the publishers finding the marketing concept first, then hiring the author, I've enjoyed it immensely. I love the literary and pop culture references. (Sunny and Klaus Baudelaire, two of the protaganists take their name from the von Bulow murder of the '80's. Two of the Quagmire triplets are called "Isadora" and "Duncan" - a reference to dancer Isadora Duncan). The solutions to riddles and mystery in the plot expose youngsters to more literary technique, knowledge and research than the average 5o+ million seller.

The official Lemony Snicket website has a counter showing the hours, minutes and days before the release. I wonder how they feel about the reports on the web page that people have already received their copies? Or about the seemingly genuine review giving it 3 out of 5 stars?

It wouldn't happen to Harry!


Andrew said...

Yes, these are a good read. I recently read the first 12 thanks to Murdoch's links with various public libraries.

It took we a while to get into these stories until I realised I was reading them like an adult. I was finding it frustrating that the adults never believed the kids. But then I thought, how often does that happen to you when you are a kid - all the time! So I am not surprised they have had such appeal. I just hope Lemony wraps up the story well and resolves all the mysteries.

BTW: congratulations on the recent wedding ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Andrew.

There's quite a few imitators now, but when they were first published, I thought the tone and "voice" were quite startling.

Glad someone else is looking forward to Friday 13th.