Poison for Breakfast

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Pub Date 31 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2021

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A new stand-alone adventure by Lemony Snicket.

For more than twenty years, Lemony Snicket has led millions of young readers through a mysterious world of bewildering questions and unfortunate events. With this latest book—a love letter to readers young and old about the vagaries of real life—longtime fans and new readers alike will experience Snicket’s distinctive voice in a new way.

This true story—as true as Lemony Snicket himself—begins with a puzzling note under his door: You had poison for breakfast. Following a winding trail of clues to solve the mystery of his own demise, Snicket takes us on a thought-provoking tour of his predilections: the proper way to prepare an egg, a perplexing idea called “tzimtzum,” the sublime pleasure of swimming in open water, and much else.

Poison for Breakfast is a classic-in-the-making that—in the great tradition of modern fables like The Little Prince and The Phantom Tollbooth—will delight readers.

About the Author:     
Lemony Snicket is the author of the thirteen volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events; several picture books, including The Dark and The Bad Mood and the Stick; and the books collectively titled All the Wrong Questions.

A new stand-alone adventure by Lemony Snicket.

For more than twenty years, Lemony Snicket has led millions of young readers through a mysterious world of bewildering questions and unfortunate events...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781324090625
PRICE $17.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

While I believe readers of any age will enjoy this book, I feel adults will find the most pleasure in this quick, fun diversion. The educational tidbits blended perfectly with the overall intelligence and humor. This was the most literary fun I’ve had in ages.

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Loved it! Part memoir, part whimsy, part philosophy. The message might be - live each day like it's your last? This book made me happy. It was a quick satisfying read which I devoured in one sitting. There is a story but there are more side bars than original plot and that worked for me. I smiled as I read the rationale for not purchasing bread from the bakery and related to not wanting to be friends with a supermarket. The page long definition of the word “literature” was a joy to read for this book nerd. This is definitely a book that takes you deeper into the author’s mind but also into the author as a reader’s head. He tells stories as he tells his own story that starts with his breakfast. I didn’t see the chapter notes until the end but would have enjoyed referring to them during the reading as they answered many questions I had during the reading of this book. Set in one day with minimal plot and lots of meandering, Snicket hits on big and small questions in a gentle, humorous way. He doesn’t take himself at all too seriously nor does he expect his reader to. I loved the illustrations and the depth of imagination shown here. Ultimately, I believe the author is saying imagination is our secret superpower! We can’t afford to lose it and must do all we can to use and develop it. The true audience for this book includes those who grew up reading Lemony Snicket. I read all his books to my kids over ten years ago and there was such a wonderful feeling of returning home as I read this book. Familiar tone, familiar voice. “a phrase which here means” was fun for about the first 60 pages but then annoyed this old lady. The repetition of the breakfast made me glad I was reading text and not listening to this book on audio. I plan to gift this to my kids for Christmas in the hopes that we can have a discussion about it and reminisce on their memories of Lemony Snicket. I fondly remember awaiting the release of the next book in The Series of Unfortunate Events. If you’ve not read any of those you might want to. Those books have survived many purges of our bookshelves and I'm saving for my grandkids. Thanks Lemony Snicket and keep writing please.

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Some will like this little book more than others, but I think it can be well summed up in this one line: "It is as if enormous philosophical questions are not designed to be answered at all, but just to make you think." And I, for one, like those kinds of questions and those kind of books! Featuring Lemony Snicket's trademark style, I love that his allusions, references and winks are all explained in notes at the back. And a thank you to Mr. Snicket for his warm description of libraries and librarians. I have been fortunate enough to hear Daniel Handler speak at a library conference, and he brought a tear to my eye there, too. I hope everyone gets a chance to feel so valued in their professions! Many thanks to #NetGalley for a digital copy, and #Liveright for a surprise print one!

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Have you ever wished you could recapture the way you felt when reading the Series of Unfortunate events books for the first time? Well here you go. Poison for Breakfast is Lemony Snicket's last rumination on a day. You have poison for breakfast, so the note says. What do you do next? This day-in-the-life novel is short, full of Snicket's signature wit and vocabulary, and will make you want to move to a small village and solve a crime against yourself.

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I received an electronic ARC from W. W. Norton & Company through NetGalley. Part philosophy, part memoir, all pure Lemony Snicket. Readers experience a day with Snicket after he finds a note that says he has been poisoned for breakfast. He narrates the story and weaves vocabulary through as is usual. However, the subject matter tilts more toward an adult read than middle grade level. Snicket invites readers in and shares information about his life including one more twist to complete the book. If you appreciate Snicket's series, you will definitely enjoy this stroll through his thought and actions of the day. The pieces seem random at first but connect and bring the reader full circle by the final pages.

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While reading this book, I had a difficult time trying to decide who exactly this wonderful, strangle little book is for. And then after I read it and was intrigued by it and started it all over again, decided that it felt like it was just for me. The Bad Beginning was published when I was 8 years old. I got it at the Scholastic Book Fair when it was first published after being intrigued by the summary. I don't think its an exaggeration to say that that singular event, the publication of the Bad Beginning, changed the course of my life. Sure, I was only 8 years old, but that book opened a doorway to my soul in ways very few books ever have. I decided to become a librarian as a result of the portrayal of librarians in those books. I love things that are dark and twisty and strange. ASOUE gave me so much. I will never hesitate to pick up any book with Lemony Snicket's name on the cover, and I still turn to ASOUE like it's my favorite worn security blanket. And Mr. Snicket's close friend Daniel Handler is also a genius. Poison for Breakfast feels like the conversation I wish I could have with Lemony Snicket. It feels like getting a peek behind the curtain into his genius brain. It was a comfortable space to learn about what makes him tick. It is philosophy, sure. But it also feels like you're taking a walk and having a conversation with a very dear friend, assuming you've known Mr. Snicket for any length of time. I loved the literary allusions in this book too. Before I realized there were notes in the back, I used all of my librarian skills to discover the books he's talking about because that is one of my favorite things to do while reading anything from Mr. Snicket. It was lovely. I think this is a book for people who are familiar and love his other work. The whole thing made me smile and think and I loved it. I plan to add this one to my personal collection so that I can turn to it as often as I do his other work.

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Thank you so much, NetGalley, W. W. Norton & Company and Liveright, for the chance to read and review this book! This story, as true as Lemony Snicket himself, begins with a note under his door: You had poison for breakfast. Trying to understand what exactly happened and how, Lemony Snickets starts to follow clue and solve the mystery, beginning a very peculiar journey. In his unique writing style and voice, Lemony Snicket wrote a weird, interesting and funny new book. In an almost stream of consciousness the author thinks about the proper way to prepare an egg, books and writing and ideas, stories and their powers, strangers and encounters, swimming in the sea and habits, following clues and investigating this puzzling note. Lemony Snicket talks about phylosophy and books, ideas and thoughts, animals and people, in an encompassing and, often puzzling, story, thinking about bewilderment and not knowing anything and discovering new things, about kissing and meeting, about dying and living. I loved reading this book and the author has a very unique way to capture my attention, with his words and ideas, his thoughts and journeys and in this peculiar journey I was bewildered, I laughed and I enjoyed everything.

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Thank you W.W. Norton & Company and NetGalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for a review, I want to keep this one short because if you know Lemony Snicket then you know what magic is in this book for you. It's got the same dry tone, the same surprises that manage to be surprising though they are the same, and the same eerieness as if he's been sitting next to you watching you and writing down this story just for you. Lemony Snicket is, if I am honest with myself, who made me want to write. The things he does with stories still astounds me and though this is short and manages to be not to the point but also exactly to the point is just classic him. 5 stars.

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‘Poison for Breakfast’ by Lemony Snicket (Liveright, Aug. 31, 168 pages, $17.95) Yes, this is book for the non-child by that Lemony Snicket. In fact, ignore those who would tell you this book is for those 13-18. In theory it might be (the grade level works out to 5th-9th graders), but it’s only for those ages in the way that books such as “The Little Prince” are for teen readers. And indeed, the comparison to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic is not by accident. Snicket may actually have crafted a classic of his own. Centering on the life of single day in the life of Lemony Snicket, this brief story (note: Snicket considers the book as his first nonfiction title; debate the category as you will) begins with a enigmatic note (“You had poison for breakfast”) and evolves into a winding series of clues about the message itself. Snicket’s voice as narrator is clever and witty and will be familiar to those who have read “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” but here takes on a deeper tone in a “book about bewilderment, a word which here means not having the faintest ice what is going on at any given time.” The perfect size for stocking stuffers, you’ll want to share this one after a single reading.

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