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Zany author visits Fairplex

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No one likes an unfortunate event, but you would not know it from looking at this crowd.

Fans of the children’s books “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket arrived at the “For Crying Out Loud” book reading and signing in a rare opportunity to meet the series’ author Daniel Handler at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Hinds Pavilion at Fairplex Park.

Roughly 630 guests arrived at the event that was sponsored by Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop and the University of La Verne Literacy Center to celebrate Handler’s latest book “The End,” which is the 13th and final book to the Lemony Snicket series.

“Mr. Snicket’s books are probably a little bit more popular because they don’t talk down to children,” Andrea Vuleta, general manager of Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop, said.

Handler, who only referred to himself as a representative for Lemony Snicket, entertained the audience with stoic charm that was evident from his somber speech, random outbursts and suspicious glares at fans.

He played the accordion during a three-song performance that was partly accompanied by The Gothic Archie’s musician Stephin Merritt, who provides the music for the series’ audio books.

Two child volunteers added to the sarcastic comedy when Handler invited them on stage to play instruments to help illustrate the pictures from an excerpt during his reading of “The End.”

After the performance guests were allowed to line up in intervals of 50 to get the book autographed or avoid the wait and turned in their tickets for an embossed autograph book plate.

“They make me happy when I read them because there’s a problem that has always been solved in every book,” Anthony Boulahoud, 10, said.

Despite all of the unfortunate events in the Lemony Snicket books, readers have discovered meaningful lessons.

“Always be kind to your parents while you have them and stick together,” Angie Aguilera, 11, said.

“Even at my age I learned that you can always enjoy a good kid’s book,” Glendora resident Delloyd Vantine, 69, said.

Fifty volunteers from the ULV Literacy Center and Iota Delta Sorority helped at the sold-out event to facilitate the game area and control traffic, said Janice Pilgreen, ULV director of the Literacy Center and program chairwoman of reading.

Handler found much of his inspiration for the Lemony Snicket books from Edward Gorey works, said Chiara Colombi, assistant publicist at HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Besides being the author of the bestselling “A Series of Unfortunate Events” (under the pen name of Lemony Snicket), Handler has also written “The Basic Eight,” “Watch Your Mouth,” “Adverbs” and is an accomplished musician.

Adults and children were required to have a ticket to enter the event, which was available only from Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop with the purchase of any Lemony Snicket book.

HarperCollins Children’s Books released “The End” on Oct. 13.

Len Ly can be reached at

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