Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid" by Lemony Snicket

"Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid"
by Lemony Snicket
Published 2007 by Harper Collins

For anyone who has ever had the treat of reading the books written by Lemony Snicket, you are already aware of his dark humor/ dry wit and sarcasm. It has been a couple of years since I finished the series "A Series of Unfortuanate Events," by Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler) and I miss following the misfortunes of the Baudelaire orphans.

This book does not add anything to the Unfortunate lives of the three Baudelaire children, rather it is a supplement to the series. This book is a collection of some of the quotes from the books separated into 13 chapters each covering a topic. I think, but without having to go back and refresh myself on the 13 books I'm not positive, they cover the topics approached by the book in each chapter. The quotes are from the books, as well as some new ones thrown in to add some fresh material.

In order to adequately review this book I'll give the topic of each chapter and then add a quote from the same chapter.

Chapter 1: Home

"There are some people who believe that home is where one hangs one's hat, but these people tend to live in closets and on little pegs."

Chapter 2: Family

"Siblings who claim to get along all the time are most definitely hiding something."

Chapter 3: School

"Most Schools have a system of loud bells, which startle the students and teachers at regular intervals and remind them that time is passing even more slowly than it seems."

Chapter 4: Work

"Members of your family might say they are working all day long, while you are off at school or clarinet lessons, but the only way to know this for sure is to follow them at a discreet distance."

Chapter 5: Entertainment

"Wishing, like sipping a glass of punch or pulling aside a bearskin rug in order to access a hidden trapdoor in the floor, is merely a quiet way to spend one's time before the candles are extinguished on one's birthday cake."

Chapter 6: Literature

"If writers wrote as carelesssly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[pasdlgkhasdfasdf."

Chapter 7: Travel

"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them."

Chapter 8: Emotional Health

"The way sadness works is one of the strangest riddles of the world."

Chapter 9: Affairs of the Heart

"Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby - awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess."

Chapter 10: A Life of Mystery

"Having an aura of menace is like having a pet weasel, because you rarely meet someone who has one, and when you do it makes you want to hide under the coffee table."

Chapter 11: The Mystery of Life

"Sometimes even in the most unfortunate of lives there will occur a moment or two of good fortune."

Chapter 12: An Overall Feeling of Doom that One Cannot Ever Escape No Matter What One Does

"There are some who go through life with a shadow hanging over them, particularly if they live in a building which has long wide awnings."

Chapter 13: Miscellaneous

"Just about everything in this world is easier said than done, with the exception of 'systematically assisting Sysyphus's stealthy, cyst-susceptible sister,' which is easier done than said."

These are just small examples of some of the fun to be found between the covers in this book. You can either read it cover to cover or just randomly open it to find your thought for the day. Either way you will find some fun in this book by Lemony Snicket.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:36 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket published 2006

The Beatrice Letters
A Series of Unfortunate Events (companion)
By Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Brett Helquist
Published by HarperCollins 2006

The Beatrice Letters was published just one month before the final book in the Series of Unfortunate Events, written by Lemony Snicket and featuring the tales of the Beaudelaire orphans. The series was a hilarious romp through the adventures of these three children with plays on words, anagrams and subtle references to many works of literature. Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler) had a flair for humor and his adolescent fiction series provided some fun reading that even the adults could enjoy.

This companion to the series is a bit confusing at first but fun nonetheless. It's confusing because we never really know who Beatrice is. In the Books Beatrice is the mother of the orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, and she dies in the fire that begins the troubles, and leaves the children orphaned. In The Beatrice Letters, Beatrice seems to be 2 people, the mother and a sibling to the 3 orphans. The letters at first seem as though they are correspondence between Lemony Snicket and Beatrice, but as the reading progresses it seems the Lemony Snicket letters are written 10 years before the Beatrice letters, yet they flow. Very fun to read, but I warn you if you need clues to the secrets of the Baudelaire orphans you either have to dig really deep into this book or they don't exist.

The packaging of the book is also clever, it includes a mysterious poster, and a portfolio in which the book fits. The book also contains twelve punch-out letters (of the alphabet, as opposed to correspondence, although the ambiguity is intentional), and each is mentioned in different, interesting ways. An example is that the first letter is an E, juxtaposed against a card from Snicket to Beatrice, in which a map Snicket had drawn forms an E. The cardstock letters appear to be an anagram of 'Beatrice Sank'.

The book is a very short read with only 13 letters in total, but quite fun to puzzle over. Normally, when I review a book that is a part of a series, I will tell you whether or not the book can be read independently of the series or if you need to start with book one. With this one, ummmm I don't know...maybe, maybe not, but, I will tell you this, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is an awesome series and very fun to read, so read the 13 books in the series anyway.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:47 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 13) by Lemony Snicket

I am saddened to report that this is the final book in the Series of Unfortunate Events, at least for the Baudelaires. Maybe we could hear more from the other members of V.F.D. or maybe a history of Count Olaf. But Lemony Snicket says this is it.

When we last saw the Baudelaires they were escaping from the high court due to the lack of justice, and they had just helped Count Olaf to burn down the Hotel Deneument and escape in a boat out to sea. Well the orphans and the villain are at sea running out of food and water and all Count Olaf can do is try to boss the children around.

They are all in the same boat but Olaf seems to think the orphans are in his clutches or that they will be his henchmen. But, a storm changes that and the boat is swept away and nearly destroyed before it washes up on a coastal shelf. The coastal shelf is near an Island wher the orphans learn more secrets of their past but first must endure the strange customs of the Island.

The locals on the island are all castaways that have given up on the outside world and want to live in peace. Here they drink a strange drink, a coconut cordial, that is a form of an opiate and keeps them all docile. They also all wear long white robes and eat bland meals. The island's facilitator, Ishmail, uses peer pressure to keep the castaways "happy" and keep the outside world away. But Ishmail has his own secrets, in fact he's got clay feet. hmmm....let that one soak in...or better yet read the book and find out what I mean.

I can tell you that at the end of this book a child is born into the world, a villian dies, a volunteer dies and the Baudelaires learn the history of their parents. I have heard some fans of the books say that this book leaves you with more questions than answers, but In my opinion, I think that these books could have only ended this way. While the answers to some secrets are revealed, more are made even more mysterious.

I'm gonna miss Count Olaf. But I'm glad the kids got motivated to read.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:51 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Penultimate Peril - A Series of Unfortunate Events Book 12 by Lemony Snicket

I only have one more book to go and yet I really see no end in sight. It seems Book 12 has left off just as all the others. Okay maybe with a slight difference. First let's summarize what happens in this book.

The Baudelaires have landed the submarine, "Queequeg" and hopped into a taxi. We learn that the taxi is driven by a volunteer named Kit Snicket...hmmm author's sister? Kit begins by telling the orphans that they have been watched throughout all their misadventures. At first the Baudelaires were left with guardians that either turned out to be villains or the guardians were killed. Then the orphans took matters into their own hands and were on their own through the other unfortunate events. Now they arrive with Kit at the Hotel Deneumont, where they are trying to find out if they, themselves are Volunteers or Villains. Looking back on their "careers" as orphans, they have helped to set fire to a carnival, lied to a record keeper in a hospital, worn disguises and tried to set a trap to catch someone as bait to lure Count Olaf to them. So with all these misdeeds have they become Villians? That answer, sad to say, is not revealed. However, a trial will be held at the hotel to determine whether they or Count Olaf are the villains...but, like I said, it is not revealed.

The interesting thing about the Hotel Deneumont is that it is set up like a library, using the Dewey Decimal System. The arts are on the 7th floor in the 700 section, Geography & History are on the 9th floor in the 900 section and so on. Another interesting thing about this hotel is that all it's rooms are filled with all the characters from the previous books, both Villains and Volunteers.

In this hotel the Baudelaires pose as concierges in order to do double duty as flaneurs. As flaneurs they are to discover the secret of V.F.D. and whether it is safe for the Volunteers to come back to the last known safehouse.

This book didn't seem to possess as much quick wit and elaborate story telling as in previous books. I felt as though this book were simply a summary of all the previous books. It didn't seem to hold my attention as much but there were many twists in the plot to keep me wanting to know what happened next. The unexpected end where the Baudelaires escape with....wait...I'll let you read that yourself. Or at least let your kids read it and let you know.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:06 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Grim Grotto - A Series of Unfortunate Events - Book 11 By Lemony Snicket

Hi, welcome back to the ongoing reviews of the books in the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I'm a little saddened after reading this book. Not because the events are so unfortunate that they bring me to tears, but because there are only 2 books left in this great series. The writing just gets better and better with each book as well as the thickness (number of pages) of each book. I will say this, the Grim Grotto is by far the funniest and most creatively written book in the series. It is my favorite book of the series.

In this episode the reader is exposed to some great classics in literature. Such as Herman Melville, T.S. Eliot and Lewis Carroll.

First of all the orphans escape from Count Olaf as they make their way through the frozen Stricken Stream on a toboggan. The return of False Spring causes the Stricken Stream to thaw and they are carried through the rushing waters of the stricken stream and separated from Quigley Quagmire. They are soon picked up by a submarine named the Queequeg, of course, named after the character in the Herman Melville novel "Moby Dick." In fact the uniforms on the Queequeg feature the face of Herman Melville. We are then introduced to the most fun character in all these novels, Captain Widdershins. Captain Widdershins reminds me of Robin Williams with the constant speech and quick-changing subjects of his speeches. We are also introduced to Captain Widdershins step-daughter, Fiona. You will be surprised who Fiona's brother is. I'll give you a clue...he works for Count Olaf.

The orphans are then recruited to find the elusive sugar bowl that can help save V.F.D. Along the way they meet up again with Count Olaf, only this time Count Olaf also has a submarine and captures the Queequeg after the disappearance of Captain Widdershins. The orphans receive a Volunteer Factual Dispatch (a telegram) from Quigley. This telegram requires the reading of T.S. Eliot and Lewis Carroll to decipher the code.

All in all this is the best book in the series. Read it for yourself, read it to your kids, have your kids read it to you. Just enjoy the fun in this adventure.

Only 2 books left, with the exception of the "Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket." I'm not looking forward to finishing the series but I HAVE to read more. By the way, each of these books can be read independently but it's more fun to read the series in order.

Get those kids reading.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:35 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE A Series of Unfortunate Events book the 10th by LEMONY SNICKET

Once again the Douglas Adams of children's literature has made me laugh out loud and almost spew Diet Dr. Pepper out of my nose. That would have made for a rather sticky book.

Before I quote the section which made me laugh let me give you a rundown of what happens. When we last left the Baudelaires they were discovered by Count Olaf to be disguised as carnival freaks. Sunny,the baby, was in the car with Count Olaf and his minions and Violet and Klaus were being hauled in a carnival caravan behind the car. Kevin the ambidextrous freak cut the rope connecting the caravan to the car, thus sending Violet and Klaus rolling off the Mortmain Mountains to their impending deaths. But wait ...before we find out what happens...let me tell you my favorite quote from the book:

The children were quiet again, and tried to think as best they could in the cold and the dark. Deciding on the right thing to do in a situation is a bit like deciding on the right thing to wear to a party. It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier. It might seem right to wear a navy blue suit, for instance, but when you arrive there could be several other people wearing the same thing, and you could end up being handcuffed due to a case of mistaken identity. It might seem right to wear your favorite pair of shoes, but there could be a sudden flood at the party, and your shoes would be ruined. And it might seem right to wear a suit of armor to the party, but there could be several other people wearing the same thing, and you could end up being caught in a flood due to a case of mistaken identity, and find yourself drifting out to sea wishing that you were wearing deep-sea diving equipment after all. The truth is that you can never be sure if you have decided on the right thing until the party is over, and by then it is too late to go back and change your mind, which is why the world is filled with people doing terrible things and wearing ugly clothing, and so few volunteers who are able to stop them.

This is another fine example of the Douglas Adams type humor infused with great action. I think I even detect a little Bob Dylan prose in there.

Where was I? Oh yeah, well, thanks to Violet's inventing skills Klaus and Violet escape. They then begin the trek up to the highest peak of the Mortmain Mountains in search of the secret hideout of V.F.D. and possibly to rescue Sunny. On this trek they meet up with some vicious snow gnats and the even more vicious Carmelita Spats. Carmalita was the annoying brat that gave the orphans a hard time at Prufrock Preparatory School in the book "The Austere Acadamy." Well now she's the False Spring Queen for the Snow Scouts. The snow scouts have a strange member that knows the code of the V.F.D. and soon befriends the orphans. The three sneak away from the Snow Scouts to find the V.F.D. headquarters, only to find it in ashes. Yet another strange fire. We then learn that the mysterious scout is a survivor of another fire.

Meanwhile, Sunny is having to do all the cooking for Count Olaf and his evil troupe. Her use of language is getting better but the bad guys still think she's only babbling. So she's able to listen in on some secret plans and help her siblings out, once they rescue her.

Okay now you have the gist of the book. Go out and read it. It is funny and a great read. And don't forget to get those kids the books so they can read and maybe the whole family can have a fun discussion about books.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:05 PM Comments: 0

Saturday, December 02, 2006

THE CARNIVOROUS CARNIVAL A Series of Unfortunate Events BOOK the Ninth by LEMONY SNICKET

I'm almost done with the entire series of Unfortunate Events. It's kind of sad really, I'm gonna read the remaining 4 books slowly just so I can enjoy the witticism of Lemony Snicket even more so.

As I've said before Lemony Snicket is the Douglas Adams of children's literature, with a little Monty Python's Flying Circus thrown in. (Didn't Douglas Adams help write some of the Monty Python skits?) This book has my favorite surreal quote so far.

Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear. Some people say that a sunrise is a miracle, because it is somewhat mysterious and often very beautiful, but other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. Some people say that a telephone is a miracle, because it sometimes seems wondrous that you can talk with somebody who is thousands of miles away, and other people say it is simply a manufactured device fashioned out of metal parts, electronic circuitry, and wires that are very easily cut. And some people say that sneaking out of a hotel is a miracle, particularly if the lobby is swarming with policemen, and other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. So you might think that there are so many miracles in the world that you can scarcely count them, or that there are so few that they're scarcely worth mentioning, depending on whether you spend your mornings gazing at a beautiful sunset or lowering yourself into a back alley with a rope fashioned out of matching towels.

At that is just a small example of some of the humor you will find in this book. As for the story, well in this one The Baudelaires, having escaped the Hostile Hospital in the trunk of Count Olaf's car, find themselves in a carnival in which the head of the carnival, Madame Lulu, is a fortune teller. The orphans find out that she is the one who has been telling Count Olaf where the orphans are each time they move. This time the orphans and Count Olaf find out that one of the orphans parents may still be alive. So they must consult the fortune teller. In order to stay in the carnival the orphans disguise themselves as freaks and get a job on the freak show. Klaus and Violet become Beverly and Elliot, the 2 headed freak, and Sunny becomes Chabo the wolf baby (half wolf/half human). Once they get the job as freaks the orphans learn that the carnival is losing money. Count Olaf now steps in and gives as a gift to Madame Lulu several lions. The lions are to become part of the show in which the freaks will be fed to the lions, because everyone loves to watch violence and sloppy eating.

In order to escape from being thrown into the pits the Baudelaires must use their talents as inventor, researcher and biter. They also find they may have help from Madame Lulu. But I won't give too much away. After all, that's where the fun is.

But I will tell you that 2 folks will get eaten by the lions, Count Olaf leaves with the orphans (Sunny held in his arms like a watermelon, growls in the disguise of Chabo) and it doesn't look well for the orphans.

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:03 PM Comments: 0

Monday, November 27, 2006

THE HOSTILE HOSPITAL A Series of Unfortunate Events BOOK the Eighth by LEMONY SNICKET

I have finally figured out what I like about Lemony Snicket: He's the Douglas Adams of Children's Literature. It's true. He makes you laugh at the most basic of circumstances by giving them an in depth surreal explanation. For example the way he tries to explain why the book is not about him he says:

"But if this were a book about me, instead of about the three children who would soon run into someone they had hoped never to see again, I might pause for a moment and tell you about something I did many years ago that still troubles me. It was a necessary thing to do, but it was not a nice thing, and even now, I get a small quiver of shame in my stomach whenever I remember it. I might be doing something I enjoy--walking along the promenade deck of a ship, or looking through a telescope at the aurora borealis, or wandering into a bookstore and placing my books on the highest place in the shelf, so that no one will be tempted to buy and read them--when I will suddenly remember this thing I did, and think to myself, Was it really necessary? Was it absolutely necessary to steal that sugar bowl from Esmé Squalor?"

But this review is about the Baudelaire's unfortunate events. Especially what happened at the Heimlich (or Hostile) Hospital. In this book the events happening to the Baudelaire's change. No longer are they being dropped of at the home of some new caretaker that does not take care of them. At the end of the last book (The Vile Village) and the beginning of this one, the orphans are on the lam. They have run away from an angry mob that wants them burned at the stake for the murder of Count Omar/Olaf. Although we know it was Jacques Snicket that perished, and it was at the hads of Count Olaf not the orphans. The orphans try to send a telegram to Mr. Poe, but they get no answer and just as the Storekeeper finds out they are wanted for murder the children make an escape with the VFD van. They soon find out that this VFD is not the missing clue, instead it is the Volunteers Fighting Disease, whose idea of fighting disease is to give heart-shaped baloons to the sick folks at the hospital.

Once again I found myself laughing at the words of Sunny Baudelaire. As you may remember she is still a baby, but speaks non-sensical words in which only her siblings understand. In this one Sunny says her best word yet, "Pietrisycamollaviadelrechiotemexity" which means something along the lines of "I must admit I don't have the faintest idea of what is going on." I googled that word and the urban dictionary gives the following:

The state or condition of not having the faintest idea what's going on.

Donald Rumsfeld gave the president his daily briefing this morning. He began by saying: "Mr. President, yesterday three Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the president exclaimed. "My God! That’s terrible!" His staff was stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the president sat, head in hands.

Finally, the president looked up with pietrisycamollaviadelrechiotemexity and asked, "How many is a brazillion?"

Once again another great book for smart kids, and a fun book for everyone.

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posted by Gil T. @ 5:33 PM Comments: 0

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 7) by Lemony Snicket

Here we are again reliving the lives of the Baudelaires in yet another unfortunate circumstance, or rather a series of them. First of all the orphans have a new guardian. Actually, this time they have several of them. In this book we learn of the aphorism "It takes a village to raise a child." (I think Hilary would be proud.) So the orphans get to choose from several villages that have taken up the government's plea for villages to raise orphans. As the Baudelaires browse through the brochure to pick their village they find one with the name of "V.F.D." In past books it was learned that V.F.D. were the initials that stood for some secret about the death of the Baudelaires' parents and Count Olaf. Thinking this may lead to the answer to that clue the orphans pick V.F.D. as their new home.

The village, as it turns out, isn't so much interested in "raising" the children but having them do the village's chores. Also none of the villagers want to feed or house the orphans. So the town's handyman, Hector takes them in. VFD has many crows that roost at night in Nevermore Tree. The village also has many rules that are almost impossible to keep from breaking. Such as rule #67, which clearly states that, " no citizen is allowed to build or use any mechanical devices." or Rule #108 clearly states that "the V.F.D. library cannot contain any books that break any of the other rules. If someone in a book uses a mechanical device, for instance, that book is not allowed in the library." So even the rulebooks are not allowed in the library because they describe someone using tools. Hector, who was in charge of ridding the town of mechanical devices and tools has a great inventing studio and library now secretly kept in his barn. This helps the children to find some answers and to help the Quagmire triplets escape. Yes you heard right, the Quagmires escape...sorry about the spoiler.

One of the things I have found in this series of books is that you can judge the content and outcomes by the key phrases that are repeated throughout each book. In this volume the following phrase are used: "a bolt from the blue," "Entertaining a notion," and "Deus ex machina." So judging from those phrases you can see that the orphans have a very entertaining time. My favorite are the many Deus ex Machinas that appear.

By the way we are also introduced to another mysterious character, Jacques Snicket,(yes the author's brother). But he is murdered before he can reveal the secret of the orphan's parents. But he does have a tattoo of an eye on his ankle just like Count Olaf. Speaking of Count Olaf, his disguse as Detective Dupin is simply hilarious, especially the description of the clothes he wears. He's "Cool."

Once again, I highly recommend this book for all readers age 9 and up (yes even the adults will get a kick out of them. The books are all part of many education systems Accelerated Reader programs, so here's a fun way to get those kids reading.

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posted by Gil T. @ 12:45 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 6) by Lemony Snicket

Ahhh, here we go book six and well, simply put, things just keep getting worse for the Baudelaire orphans. This time around they are sent to a very "IN" part of town to live with their new guardians, Jerome and Esme Squalor, at 667 Dark Avenue in the penthouse apartment, on either the 48th or 84th floor. (Here's a spoiler, it actually turns out to be the 66th floor, the average of the 2).

The Squalors are very snooty people who only desire what is "IN." When the orphans arrive at the building they find that darkness is in and elevators are out. So not only do they have to climb the stairs, to what is later learned to be the 66th floor, but they have to do so in darkness. Upon arrival we find out that Esme Squalor is the 6th most important financial advisor and is only interested in the orphans because orphans are now in. Jerome is the one that takes an interest in the children and is pleased to have them around. But, he is kept busy by Esme who is getting ready for the "In Auction" in which all things "In" will be auctioned and the money will go to her bank account. So they all sip aqueous martinis (water with an olive in it) and talk about in things, like pin-striped suits.

Once again Count Olaf makes his entrance into the 71 bedroom (and many other types of rooms) apartment, but he's an invited guest. Invited under the guise of Gunther the In Auctioneer. In discovering what Olaf's plan is we learn what the word ersatz means. That is one thing I like about Lemony Snicket, he has a way of having the reader learn something without really knowing.

This book has many comic relief moments. This time most of them take the form of the words uttered by Sunny Baudelaire the baby that is no larger than a salami. In previous books Sunny only spoke in nonsensical syllables. In this book, however, her syllables start to make sense. Typically Sunny says words like; ayjim, puictiw and chittol, but every once in a while her dialogue is sprinkled with words that make sense. My favorite is when the orphans all go and try to find something to use as a rope to climb down an elevator shaft. (Ignore the previous sentence if you don't like spoilers.) Klaus comes back with curtian cords, Violet comes back with extension cords and each describe the item they found. Sunny offers up an armful of Jerome's neckties and says, "Armani." I found myself laughing out loud to that one.

Another thing I should mention is that the Quagmire triplets are still missing. At least for a little while. The Baudelaire orphans find the Quagmires and attempt a rescue. But alas, it fails and Olaf gets away. That doesn't really give anything away, after all the end is not the goal in these books. The journey is what makes Lemony Snicket's books worth reading.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:25 PM Comments: 0

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Book Review - "A Series of Unfortunate Events: BOOK the Fifth THE AUSTERE ACADEMY by LEMONY SNICKET

Once again we enter into another book in the unfortunate lives of the Baudelaire orphans. And again the children are left with a caretaker that just doesn't seem to care for children. It makes you wonder just how do these kids survive. I can tell you that it is Violet's inventing skills, Klaus' research skills and Sunny's bithing skills help them survive this book. However, in this book, the Baudelaire orphans get help from another group of orphans, the Quagmire triplets, Duncan and Isadora. Yes I'm aware that that's only 2 names, it seems unfortunate events also follow the Quagmire orphans. They lost their parents and their brother in a mysterious fire, not unlike the Baudelaire orphans.

Now at first you may think the orphans becoming friends is a good thing. The problem is that is the only good thing that happens to the Baudelaire orphans in this book. From the beginning their woes abound. First the orphans are dropped of at Prufrock Prep. boarding school where vice-principal Nero is in charge and whose only interest is practicing the violin. There is no worse sound than someone that doesn't know how to play violin insisting upon doing so. V.P. Nero also has some really strict rules such as; no student should be in the administrative building - if this happens the student(s) do not get silverware for their meals. If a student misses a class they get no drinking glasses and must have their beverages served in puddles on their trays. And the worst rule of all, if a student misses the nightly 6 hour violin concert they have to buy V.P. Nero a bag of candy and watch him eat it.

On top of all this the school itself is ominous. All the buildings are shaped like tombstones and the school's motto is: "Memento Mori" which means "Remember You Will Die." The Dorms all have a huge living room with a brick fireplace, a game room, and a large lending library, unfortunately the Baudelaires must have a permission slip with the signature of a parent or guardian. The parents are dead, and their guardians have either been killed or have fired them so they have to stay in shack dubbed "The Orphan Shack." This shack is infested with crabs and a tan fungus that drips from the ceilings.

So with all these unfortunate events you'd think it can't get any worse, but alas, Count Olaf appears again. He has a devious plan to capture the orphans. I will give you a hint though, he does succeed in caputuring the orphans and making off with them. You'll have to read the book to find more.

If you are a homeschooler or you have children age 9-17 these are great books. If you like to have fun reading, I can tell you I have had a blast reading these books. Now on to book 6 "The Ersatz Elevator"

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:54 PM Comments: 0