You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

May 08, 2012


Here's Daniel Handler talking about Maurice Sendak:

He inspired every author, from Judy Blume to Daniel Handler, who ever wanted to go a little too far.

"It's almost impossible to overstate his importance," says Handler, known for the Lemony Snicket "Series Of Unfortunate Events" books. "He's a North Star in the firmament of anyone who makes children's books, in particular for his dark and clear-eyed view of the world that was kindred to me when I was in kindergarten and kindred to me now. He gives neither the comfort nor the horror of sentimentality."...

Handler, 42, says Sendak has been so much a part of his life he can't think of a time he wasn't aware of him. Sendak's books were all over his room and in his home today. To even attempt praise of "Where the Wild Things Are" is like saying "Hamlet" is a good play, he notes. Sendak's genius is how he weaves together the real and the magical without telling you which is which.

"'Where the Wild Things Are' starts with a boy being sent to his room and proceeds to take him to an enormous and irrational world without really telling us if it's real. But if you're a small child it does seem real and that's what matters," Handler says.

"Both my son and my wife cried this morning at the news of his death. That might sum up his career in a nutshell."

If you'd like to get in a little weeping yourself, you could listen to Fresh Air's rebroadcast of their interviews with Sendak, especially their last interview starting around 27:00, and even more especially the end of the last interview at about 42:40.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at May 8, 2012 10:47 PM

With each departure of these wonderful and irreplaceable people, this world just becomes less and less worth living in.

Posted by: NomadUK at May 9, 2012 07:48 AM

i wanna know why there's always (presumed) monsters in the closet- how come there's never a lump of gold or a video game or something?- i bet Freud has the QED on that

Posted by: frankenduf at May 9, 2012 09:24 AM

With each departure of these wonderful and irreplaceable people, this world just becomes less and less worth living in.

I think there's something new for human consciousness about how the internet lets you learn immediately about every famous and/or wonderful person who dies. It makes you (me) feel much more in touch with Death's Gaping Maw.

But I'm confident we have another crop of excellent people coming up behind, all to be eaten in their turn.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 9, 2012 10:13 AM

I agree with you, Jonathan - as some pass away, others are just coming into existence. While we have the great good fortune to live and breathe, let use the finite number of days we have left to live up to the highest aspirations we can actualize. Keep on truckin'.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at May 9, 2012 04:24 PM

You're right, of course. I even know a few of the wonderful replacements. I just get so damned depressed sometimes.

Posted by: NomadUK at May 10, 2012 01:47 AM

I caught the Fresh Air collection earlier this week. A fine tribute to the great Sendak.

Posted by: Batocchio at May 11, 2012 12:22 AM