In a Series of Unfortunate Events, starring Lemony Snicket, Netflix premieres Friday the 13th (naturally). The new television show may have you rereading all thirteen of the original books. Otherwise, perhaps the thought of reliving the harrowing tales of the Baudelaire orphans and their countless incompetent guardians has had you weeping uncontrollably. It doesn’t matter if you decide to watch Netflix’s Very Forlorn Drama on Friday or not; either way, you’ll need a good book to distract you from the orphans’ plight. After you’ve finished watching A Series of Unfortunate Events, here are some recommended books to read.
It goes without saying that not every author can match Lemony Snicket’s blend of wit and pathos. However, you may want to check out one of Snicket’s other works. Alternatively, you could read a book by Daniel Handler, Mr. Snicket’s official representative in all legal, literary, and social matters. Or perhaps you’d prefer to read about orphans who have had a better life, or to discover a new author who has a unique dark sense of humour. To help you out, we’ve compiled this list of the worst books ever written:
‘Who Could That Be At This Hour?’ by Lemony Snicket
Snicket’s series of prequels to A Series of Unfortunate Events, All the Wrong Questions. If you enjoyed reading about the Baudelaire orphans’ uncertainty and woe, then you might enjoy reading about Lemony Snicket’s uncertainty and woe. Lemony, a young man in a seaside town, begins his apprenticeship with an unknown organisation at this ungodly hour.
‘Amphigorey’ by Edward Gorey
In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Edward Gorey was clearly a major influence. Edward Gorey was assassinated by Daniel Handler, who believes he played a small role in the death. In Amphigorey, Gorey’s grim illustrations and humorous, morbid tales are brought together in a single volume (which often involve children meeting an untimely demise).
‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar’Holes’ by Louis Sachar
Despite its lighter tone, the story of Stanley Yelnats, a young boy who is wrongfully accused of a crime and imprisoned in a juvenile detention facility where he must spend his days digging holes for no apparent reason, is eerily similar to that of A Series of Unfortunate Events. As a result, Stanley delves into his own past in order to solve this puzzle.
‘My Crowd’ by Charles Addams
Read Addams if you want to understand Gorey. Even if they’re only one panel long, the original Addams Family comics are pleasantly dark. All three of the Baudelaire orphans have a vaguely “Wednesday Addams” vibe to them.
‘Breakfast of Champions’ by Kurt Vonnegut
Spend some time with Kurt Vonnegut after spending so much time with vile, cake-sniffing children. Kilgore Trout, an aging writer, learns in Breakfast of Champions that a car dealer in the Midwest has begun to believe that his outrageous fiction is actually real. It’s a dry, meta-fictional satire of American culture that would make Snicket proud.
‘Running with Scissors’ by Augusten Burroughs
Running with Scissors is a true account of a traumatic childhood. For example, in the story of his own childhood, Augusten Burroughs is able to find humor in the time when he was given up by his mother for adoption and raised in the Victorian squalor where the Christmas tree was left up all year and children played with electroshock machines for amusement.
‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ by Norton Juster
While A Series of Unfortunate Events is a more realistic book for children, The Phantom Tollbooth is a more fantastical one that adults can appreciate as well. It’s up to Milo, a bright but bored child, who is taken to the Lands Beyond to save the kidnapped princesses Rhyme and Reason, to solve the linguistic, mathematical, and logical puzzles to do so. Adventure Time meets Lemony Snicket.
‘Adverbs’ by Daniel Handler
Lemony Snicket’s agent, Daniel Handler, does write adult novels as well. adverbs is all about love: people falling in and out of love, people messing around with all the different kinds of love there are. adverbs You should read Adverbs if you’re interested in hearing Handler’s witty take on a more mature subject.
‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ by Trenton Lee Stewart
Children who are creative? Is there a secret society? Is there anything shady going on here? For fans of Lemony Snicket, Lemony Snicket, or even Count Olaf, the Mysterious Benedict Society is a no-brainer. To find their missing parents and take over the world, four children are being sent to a gifted school to go undercover.
‘Good Omens’ by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
A Series of Unfortunate Events, on the other hand, focuses more on witches, demons, and angels than Good Omens, but it’s still a darkly comic mystery masterpiece. Look no further than this hilarious take on the end of the world if you’re looking for something to follow ASOUE.
Artemis Fowl (series) by Eoin Colfer
But unfortunately for the Baudelaires, Ireland’s brightest criminal mastermind is too busy fighting against and alongside the various species of fairy in the United Kingdom to take down Count Olaf in a single blow. To ASoUE fans, the Artemis Fowl series is a better recommendation than it is to Violet as inspiration for her various inventions. However, who knows when any of us will be thrust into a Baudelairian fight for survival? We can take inspiration from Nathaniel Parker’s well-groomed brogues and the many different accents found in an underground fairy-police precinct. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
To hear Neil Gaiman read this nightmare of a bedtime story gone horribly wrong is to hear a master at his craft at the top of his game. This audiobook is a perfect spookfest, thanks to its careful pacing and ability to convey Coraline’s openness even when the world appears to be shutting down around her. It will serve as a sobering reminder that, despite the Baudelaires’ never-ending bad luck, things could be worse.