Skip to main content

"and this was the least pleasant feeling in the world."

I have great amounts of love for YA lit. But a specific kind of it, which is what I'm going to term "fanciful and well-written lit for 10 to 12-year olds."

Part of it is assuredly centered in nostalgia, but the other part is that good books are good books. I might have a different reaction to The Mysterious Benedict Society now than I would have when I was 12 (or at least I hope I do), but it's still a Very Good Book and I thoroughly enjoyed it from my current vantage point.

Someone on twitter was discussing atrocities performed on Gaddafi before he was killed, and it made me think of A Series of Unfortunate Events. For those unfamiliar, it's semi-gothic, extremely funny, and consists of 13 books. The first nine are excellent. The others are okay until we got to the last one, entitled The End. I hate The End. It sucks. If I ever meet Daniel Handler, I'm going to scream at him, despite all the good work he did in the others.

...but that is not related to what happened to Gaddafi. The thing I remembered from Unfortunate Events is that in one of the later books, the Baudelaire siblings are met with a difficult decision. They can use underhanded tactics to capture one of the many villains out to get them, or...not. Every. Other. Children's book I've read would have had no problem with them capturing a villain and using them as collateral or what-have-you to achieve their ends, because obviously the protagonists' motives are purer than the dastardly villains', so we support what helps them win. 

"We're not in a pleasant situation," Violet said, and the eldest Baudelaire was right. It was not pleasant... But the least pleasant part of the situation wasn't the cold dirt, or the freezing winds, or even their own exhaustion as it grew later and the children dug deeper and deeper. The least pleasant part was the idea, shared by the two Baudelaires and their new friend, that they might be doing a villainous thing. The siblings were not sure if digging a deep pit to trap someone, in order to trade prisoners with a villain, was something that their parents would do.... As they looked at the villainous thing they had made, the three volunteers could not help wondering if they were villains, too, and this was the least pleasant feeling in the world.

Utterly fantastic. Don't act like villains, because then we are villains. That section almost even redeems the final book for me (although not quite, so Daniel Handler, you watch yourself if we meet).

I leave you with two other quotes from that book (The Slippery Slope), because they are wonderful.

"'I know that having a good vocabulary doesn't guarantee that I'm a good person,' the boy said. 'But it does mean that I've read a great deal. And in my experience, well-read people are less likely to be evil.'"

“A man of my acquaintance once wrote a poem called 'The Road Less Traveled', describing a journey he took through the woods along a path most travelers never used. The poet found that the road less traveled was peaceful but quite lonely, and he was probably a bit nervous as he went along, because if anything happened on the road less traveled, the other travelers would be on the road more frequently traveled and so couldn't hear him as he cried for help. Sure enough, that poet is dead.” 


Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'. You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters. If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing: We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilar

Minithon: The Mini Readathon, January 11th, 2020

The minithon is upon us once more! Minithons are for the lazy. Minithons are for the uncommitted. Minithons are for us. The minithon lasts 6 hours (10 AM to 4 PM CST), therefore making it a mini readathon, as opposed to the lovely Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and 24in48, both of which you should participate in, but both of which are a longer commitment than this, the Busy Watching Netflix person's readathon. By 'read for six hours' what's really meant in the minithon is "read a little bit and eat a lot of snacks and post pictures of your books and your snacks, but mostly your snacks." We like to keep it a mini theme here, which mainly means justifying your books and your snacks to fit that theme. Does your book have children in it? Mini people! Does it have a dog! Mini wolf! Does it have pencils? Mini versions of graphite mines! or however you get graphite, I don't really know. I just picture toiling miners. The point is, justify it or don't

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop ( Odyssey Books , where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have. I feel like we could get to this point, Emily INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy