Thursday, March 26, 2015


It's been a month since I sat down at my computer to order books with all of my gift cards and wrote that post asking for recommendations about how to spend the last twelve dollars (here) (if you're looking for something to read you should hit that comments thread up). The problem is that I got so many good recommendations that I couldn't bring myself to narrow it down enough and suddenly I had too many books to buy and not enough gift card money. So I decided to give myself some time to think about it.

And think. And think. And think.

And it became this Thing. This capital letter Thing.

Like if I choose one book over another book I can't ever go back and buy that other book or something. Like books have very, very low self esteem and cease to exist when they feel rejected. Like this is my one and only chance in the Great Hollow Vastness of Time to ever buy anything. Like the libraries and book stores and e-readers of the world depend on this Decision. (I'm using a lot of unnecessary capitalization here; that's how you know I'm worked up.)

But this morning, I got an email about a promotion on right now with Chapters where you get a free $10 off when you check out using Paypal. And you have to do it by tomorrow to get the $10. And $10 can get you a whole book, in a lot of cases. Half a book in others. Two books, sometimes, if the sales are in your favour.

It was like a good old virtual kick-in-the-pants, and I placed my order just now.

But the point isn't that.

The point is: I was looking at this one book that had been recommended to me (We Were Liars; thanks Hannah) and for some reason it reminded me of...

Something else. Which, now that I'm trying to retrace my steps, I don't have any idea how I got thinking about Lemony Snicket.


Hannah, the same Hannah, gave me a children's book by Lemony Snicket a few years ago called 13 Words, (which you need to read if you haven't already). It was illustrated by Maira Kalman, and as quirky and delightful as the writing was, the pictures were what really grabbed me. I have some other pieces of Kalman's work now, and I love everything she does.

So, okay, it was: We Were Liars, recommended by Hannah, which made me think of Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman, which made me check to see if Maira Kalman had ever done anything for adults.

And she has! It's called The Principles of Uncertainty and it is, essentially, a 'children's book' written for adults. Instead of a children's book written for children but which adults will enjoy more than their children will (as Kalman has been criticized in the past for a sense of humour and cultural references that kids just won't understand. Not that it's 'bad', it's just, probably, over their heads).

So anyway. That ended up being one of the books I ordered, and I was so excited about it that I thought I'd let you know that it exists in case you wanted it too.