October 22, 2012

We’re not quite sure that you should be reading this

By Lemony Snicket
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Lemony Snicket does not want you to read his new book. In fact, he doesn’t want anyone to read it. And really, why should he want you to read it? It’s not like he knows you, or probably even wants to know you. Come to think of it, why would you want to read this book anyway?

“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”is the first book in Lemony Snicket’s new All the Wrong Questions series. It gives the reader details of young Snicket’s childhood, complete with his unusual education at the hands of a mysterious organization. You may be asking: “What mysterious organization? What kind of unusual education?” If you are, then you are asking the wrong questions.

As a child, Lemony Snicket asked the wrong questions quite often. In fact, this new autobiographical series will focus on the four most important wrong questions he asked. The first wrong question—“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”—comes soon after he begins his apprenticeship with the stern, mysterious and dangerously inept S. Theodora Markson. What does the “S” stand for? Silly reader, you’ve asked the wrong question again.

Young Snicket and Ms. Markson travel by car to the deserted Stain’d-by-the-Sea, a seaside town that is no longer by the sea, with a forest of seaweed rather than trees. There, they are introduced to Mrs. Murphy Sallis, who wishes to hire the pair to recover her stolen statue of the Bombinating Beast. It isn’t long, however, until Snicket discovers that what was thought stolen was never stolen at all, and that no one in this desolate little town is who they seem to be.

Filled with mystery, double- and triple-crosses, intrigue and Snicket’s distinctive brand of deadpan humor, literary jokes, sneaky book suggestions and snarky asides, “Who Could It Be at This Hour?” is a wonderfully disorienting ride through the childhood of one of today’s most mysterious and misunderstood authors (otherwise known as Daniel Handler). Like Snicket’s debut, A Series of Unfortunate Events (which has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide), this book contains elements of both the realistic and fantastical, offering just enough to keep the reader from ever truly knowing what will happen next.

Adding to the book’s appeal are the wonderful, ominous and foretelling illustrations by Seth, an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator. On the cover, at the beginning of each chapter and scattered throughout the book, Seth’s masterful illustrations give subtle yet important clues to the reader.

Now that you know the wrong questions to ask, it’s time to learn the correct one. That question, obviously, is “Even though Lemony Snicket really doesn’t want me to read his book, should I?” And the answer, of course, is a definitive YES!

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“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”

“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”

By Lemony Snicket
Little, Brown Young Readers
ISBN 9780316123082

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