Mr. Snicket Almost Explains It All

Author Lemony Snicket

We think this is Lemony Snicket. But we are not sure. It could be ... Count Olaf? Meredith Heuer hide caption

toggle caption Meredith Heuer

The End isn't near. It is here. The 13th and final installment in the Baudelaire saga is now ready to be devoured by eager readers.

As a public service, we asked the author for advice on the best way to read this book — and on what to do when you finish the last page and are left with a sorrowful pit in your stomach as deep as Lake Lachrymose, wondering what you will do now that there are no more Baudelaire books to anticipate.

The Best Way to Read Book the 13th

1. Snicket: "I don't think children should read book the 13th. Go to the library and find a nice, long, harmless book. And there is no step 2."

(Note: At this point, the reporter interviewing Mr. Snicket was in a state of panic. But in the best tradition of National Public Radio, the reporter did not let Snicket evade the question. Evade, in case you do not know, means to slyly and slimily slip away without confronting the query. At any rate, cowed by the considerable pressure of NPR, Mr. Snicket did agree to move on to steps 2, 3, 4 and 5.)

2. "If I had to choose ideal reading conditions, it would be in pitch darkness with one's eyes closed."

3. "For a snack break, I'd suggest raw onions. They will make you tear up and make the reading process more difficult."

4. "I would suggest wearing some sort of restrictive garment that would make page-turning impossible."

5. And then if you must ... "turn on the lights and start reading."

What Will Happen When Young Readers Finish Book the 13th

1. "Well, first of all, I think they might find themselves in a state of emotional shock. So they may find themselves filling their hours by muttering to themselves, or licking spots off the wall."

2. "Parents should be very alarmed."

3. A possible remedy: "Well, I was taught the game of contract bridge at a fairly early age. I find that always helps wile away the hours."

4. Another way to pass the time: "I think all children should develop the skill of eavesdropping. I think the most important lesson to learn about eavesdropping is to have the excuse prepared ahead of time. So when one is caught the excuse is right there, waiting. More than once I have been caught eavesdropping with a broom in my hand; I pretend I am about to sweep up something."

5. Yet another way to pass the time: "I recommend learning how to write a very good thank-you note. A child who can write a nice thank-you note can turn into a cocaine dealer five years later and be remembered as child who wrote nice thank-you notes."

Lemony Snicket's Advice on How to Write a Nice Thank-You Note

1. Do not start with the thank you.

2. Start with any other sentence. If you first say, "Thank you for the nice sweater," you can't imagine what to write next. Say, "It was so wonderful to come home from school to find this nice sweater. Thank you for thinking of me on Arbor Day."

3. Then you're done.

What You Can Do With Your 13 Volumes of the Baudelaire Books

If you live in a household with 13 rickety tables, inserting a book under each of the 13 rickety legs will mean that the tables "can all be settled evenly."

Something You May Not Have Known About the Baudelaires

"The Baudelaires have endured unending suffering since their story began. Naturally, I think that makes them Jewish."

And Finally, an Encouraging Word for all Those Sorrowful Readers for Whom The End Is Not Enough.

"I'm sure we will hear more from Mr. Snicket."



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