snicket latke“The Bad Beginning” (Book the First of A Series of Unfortunate Events) By Lemony Snicket (1999) 162 pages, Started March 14, finished March 16.

So I wanted a fast, fun read (especially after “The Last Jews of Kerala” which was neither fast not fun.) And I guess this qualifies as both, if you consider reading about three children who just lost their parents in a fire, are forced to wear itchy clothes and then have to move in with an evil thespian to be fun. And if you think a lot of little word-definition asides are fun, and not irritating. (I went back and forth on that one.) Considering that this is a YA (possibly even childrens’) book, it is very dark, but you can’t say you weren’t warned, I mean, look at the title. There are 13 stories in this series (all of which have been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time) and the first few were consolidated into a movie a few years ago. I am not sure if it was because I saw the movie, but I had a continual sense of deja vu while reading this one.  I knew I had started it a few years ago, but I was about 90% sure I hadn’t finished it. Although why I thought that, I have no idea– the pages are very small, the print is rather large, and its a pretty hard book to put down once you start. So once I finished it this time, I became rather certain that I had actually read it before. But no matter. I’m counting it as one of the 50 anyway. One other aside– the author, Lemony Snicket, is really Daniel Handler, the accordianist for the Magnetic Fields, one of the all-time best bands in the whole world. And he also wrote a really funny (and also very dark) Chanukah book called “The Latke who Wouldn’t Stop Screaming”, which really is a kids’ book; because its only about 20 pages and is mostly pictures, I probably shouldn’t count in the final tally.