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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events Book 1)

The first line of the first book reads...

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book."

Ages 9-12

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LEMONY SNICKET was born before you were, and is likely to die before you as well. His family has roots in a part of the country that is now under water, and his childhood was spent in the relative splendor of the Snicket Villa, which has since become a factory, a fortress, and a pharmacy, and is now, alas, someone else's villa. To the untrained eye, Mr. Snicket's hometown would not appear to be filled with secrets. Untrained eyes have been wrong before.

There was a scandal, of course and the aftermath was swift, brutal, and inaccurately reported in the periodicals of the day. It is true, however, that Mr. Snicket was stripped of several awards by the reigning authorities, including Honorable Mention, the Grey Ribbon, and First Runner-Up. The High Council reached a convenient, if questionable, verdict and Mr. Snicket found himself in exile.

Though his formal training was chiefly in rhetorical analysis, he has spent the last several eras researching the travails of the Baudelaire orphans. This project, being published serially by HarperCollins, takes him to the scenes of numerous crimes, often during the off-season. Eternally pursued and insatiably inquisitive, a hermit and a nomad, Mr. Snicket wishes you nothing but the best.

DANIEL HANDLER, who represents Lemony Snicket in all literary, legal, and social matters, was born in San Francisco and attended Wesleyan University. He received an Olin Fellowship in 1992, an Academy of American Poets Prize in 1990, and tied for Best Personality in 1988.

His first novel, The Basic Eight, was published in April by St. Martin's Press. It has been praised by such publications as The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Post, and Publisher Weekly, and has been optioned for film by New Regency, a division of Warner Brothers. His second novel, Watch Your Mouth, will be published in Winter 2000, and he is at work on a third novel, which is about pirates.

Daniel Handler lives in New York with his wife, who is named Lisa Brown. Like Mr. Snicket, he wishes you nothing but the best.



Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6
The Bad Beginning
The Reptile Room
The Wide Window
The Miserable Mill
The Austere Academy
The Ersatz Elevator
Book 7
Book 8
The Vile Village
The Hostile Hospital

Q. How did you start writing A Series of Unfortunate Events?

A. For various personal and legal reasons, I began researching the terrible things that happened to the three Baudelaire children following the death of their parents. The good people at HarperCollins offered to publish my findings, both as cautionary tales and for the general good.

Q. Did your own childhood inspire aspects or events in your books?

A. What happened to me in my childhood in no way resembles what has happened to the Baudelaire orphans. When I was very young, however, I was taught the power of the written word and the importance of exposing evil wherever I found it, which are two of my highest guiding principles.

Q. What were some of your hobbies as a child?

A. Taxidermy and playing the harpsichord.

Q. How do young people respond to your books?

A. People, young and old, have responded to my books with a mixture of shock, horror, melancholy, resignation, and enthusiasm.

Q. What was your favorite book as a child?

A. Dino Buzzati's The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily.

Q. What advice do you give to children who want to be writers?

A. Avoid wearing squeaky shoes when listening at keyholes.

Q. What do you do to prepare to write?

A. I look at the only photograph I have of my beloved Beatrice, and I say to myself: If you do not write these books, her wrongful death will go unpunished.

Q. Are you a real person?

A. Of course. Aren’t you?