Lemony Snicket

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If an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an

If an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say in a pleasant and hopeful voice, Well this isn’t too bad, I don’t have a left arm anymore but at least nobody will ever ask me if I’m left-handed or right-handed, but most of us would say something more along the lines of, Aaaaaa! My arm! My arm!

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If you feel . . . that well-read people are less

If you feel . . . that well-read people are less likely to be evil, and a world full of people sitting quietly with good books in their hands is preferable to world filled with schisms and sirens and other noisy and troublesome things, then every time you enter a library you might say to yourself, ‘The world is quiet here,’ as a sort of pledge proclaiming reading to be the greater good.

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Xenial’ is a word which refers to the giving of

Xenial’ is a word which refers to the giving of gifts to strangers. . . . I know that having a good vocabulary doesn’t guarantee that I’m a good person. . . . But it does mean I’ve read a great deal. And in my experience, well-read people are less likely to be evil.

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For obvious reasons, I never told you about my

For obvious reasons, I never told you about my notebook, with a cover as green as mansions long ago, which I use as a commonplace book, a phrase which here means ‘place where I have collected passages from some of the most important books I have read.

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You may want to keep a commonplace book which is a

You may want to keep a commonplace book which is a notebook where you can copy parts of books you think are in code, or take notes on a series of events you may have observed that are suspicious, unfortunate, or very dull. Keep your commonplace book in a safe place, such as underneath your bed, or at a nearby dairy.

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The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and

The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision, these stories often feature miracles. Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see, and this holiday story features any number of miracles, depending on your point of view.

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