THE BAD BEGINNING and THE REPTILE ROOM plus 'Magnets for Misfortune.'
New York: HarperCollins, (1999.). SIGNED first edition - An extremely uncommon ARC of the first two titles in the "Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket - THE BAD BEGINNING and THE REPTILE ROOM, bound dos-a-dos, (back to back) in glossy illustrated wrappers. SIGNED (sort of) by the author, with an embossed seal and the trademark handwritten comment 'with all due respect' surrounding the seal, and the date '3.X.2004. written inside the seal. First issue, with the misspelling of 'unfortuante' on the covers. Now that this was the basis of a movie starring Jim Carey, Meryl Streep and Jude Law, even those of you who don't have children in your lives are probably familiar with these books, but for those who might still be languishing uninformed, here is a bit of information: The Lemony Snicket books are possibly even more popular than the Potter books - and for good reason! The resemblance to Edward Gorey's works is not accidental - How could anyone not love a book which contains this 'letter to the reader' at the beginning: 'I am sorry to say that the book which you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells the unhappy tale of three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book, when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune./ In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune and cold porridge for breakfast. / It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.' What adult would not enjoy the in-jokes of names like Sunny and Klaus (as in von Bulow) - or the fact that these books actually encourage children to learn from reading, as in this excerpt: 'But although Klaus had read books on outer-space exploration, ice-skating tricks, and good marriage methods, and not yet found much use for this information, he had learned a great deal of information that was about to become very useful indeed.' Or a beginning paragraph that includes a word like 'rife'? The vocabulary is wonderful in these books. As a well-publicized debut, this advance reading copy was presumably printed in relatively generous numbers - but very few are currently being offered for sale! Either all the booksellers who got copies of this are hoarding this treasure themselves or, horrors, actually GAVE them to children! However, not only are we willing to sell this ARC, we will even include the much more elusive ' Magnets for Misfortune' which was produced as part of this original publicity campaign (I have never seen any of these offered for sale). This is the first of the promotional magnet sets done by the publisher: it consists of a small sheet of words (5 3/4 by 4 inches, designed to be cut apart and use to create 'refrigerator poetry'' Still in the original sealed plastic bag with a slip announcing a poetry contest for children.