We finished The Grim Grotto yesterday.
Now we are bereft, a word which here means, we want to start the next book in the series right away but are sad to find that the inconsiderate author has not obliged us by having published it yet.
Anybody heard how long we have to wait for Book the Twelfth in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events?
(When you follow the link, hit refresh/reload a couple of times, just for fun.)
Have you heard what it's called? What it's about? Tell me, please!
I don't think we can stand the suspense!
By we I mean the 8 year old and me. The blonde and the 11 year old are a little more even-keeled about it. I've been impressed by the 11 year old. He's been waiting two and a half years now for the final Star Wars movie and not even seeing the trailer at the beginning of The Incredibles last month has caused his Jedi-like patience to fray.
But his brother and I are as anxious to get our hands on the next installment of the Baudelaire orphans' woeful tale as Count Olaf is to get his hands on their fortune!
Maybe we'll be able to tough it out, a phrase which here means, Not drive ourselves crazy with expectation between now and the time when Lemony Snicket's editor decodes the torn pages Snicket sent him from the Hotel Denouement and locates the manuscript Snicket has hidden in, it appears, the Galway Kennell. We survived the wait between finishing The Slippery Slope in September and the library's delivering our copy of The Grim Grotto just in time for Thanksgiving vacation.
Devoted friends of the Baudelaires will point out that the book was in the bookstores in October. Yes, but we weren't waiting for just the book.
We wanted the tape.
When I say we've now read all 11 books, I mean that we have listened to all 11 books. Tim Curry has read them to us. Well, Tim Curry read us Books the First and the Second and the Sixth through the Eleventh. Lemony Snicket himself read the other three. Say what you will about Curry's performances in The Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Wild Thornberries Movie. They pale in comparison. The work he does on the Series of Unfortunate Events is one of the best acting jobs I've heard or seen.
I love the darkness he puts into the word dark whenever he gives Esme Squalor's address, "667 Daaaarrrrrk Avenue." And the tears that fill up the words and make his pronunciation of "Lake Lachrymose" drip with melancholy.
And what Curry does with the 209 evers that take up two whole pages in The Reptile Room makes for a glorious, and hilarious, aria for unaccompanied human voice.
Books on tape have been one of the secret joys of parenthood for the blonde and me. Not to mention the salvation of a hundred long distance car rides.
In fact, I was enjoying listening to the boys' books so much that a couple years ago I began listening regularly to grown up books on my own. Since then most of the books I've "read" have been books I've had read to me.
This has created some confusion in my own head about my reading. Often I'm not sure if I liked the book or liked the reading of it. Sometimes it's clear. I like Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware mysteries because I really enjoy John Rubenstein's reading of them. I'm pretty sure if I ever tried to read them to myself I'd find them slow going. On the other hand, I like Robert Parker's Spenser novels whether or not I read them or Joe Mantegna reads them to me. But I can't say whether I liked Brideshead Revisited because of what Evelyn Waugh wrote or because of how Jeremy Irons read what Waugh wrote.
The part of me that's a reader is conflicted. But the part of me that loves the theater (but never comes late) and movies because he loves good acting has no problems with it. Some of the books I've listened to have included the performances of their careers by the actors reading them.
There's Rubenstein and Curry, of course, but Stockard Channing's work in her readings of Beverly Cleary's Romona novels is also wonderful! Jon Cryer will never get another gig as good as the one he's got doing Chet Gecko, the best lizard detective at Emerson Hickey Elementary School. And while Joe Mantegna does a fine job on the more recent Spenser novels, you should try to find Burt Reynolds' readings of Stardust, Chance, Small Vices, and Hush Money.
Harry Potter fans know that what Jim Dale's doing with his reading of the books is better than anything that's been in the movies so far and it was stupid of the producers not to hire him to replace Richard Harris as Dumbledore. They had a chance to wise up and use him as Mad-Eye Mooney in Goblet of Fire but apparently they've blown it, again.
Ralph Fiennes, though, is an excellent choice for he who shall not be named.
Anyway, I could go on and on. There's William Gaminara's Sharpe, Elliott Gould's Philip Marlowe, Martin Jarvis's Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. Plenty of others. But if any of you have some favorites, I'd appreciate it if you'd put them in the comments.
Christmas is coming and we've got some traveling to do.