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Poison for Breakfast

Philosophy as the fourth emergency service

Imagine this: You’re enjoying your breakfast as usual, tea and toast with delectable honey, some cheese, a pear, perhaps an egg. While musing on the day ahead, you notice that a tiny scrap of paper has been pushed under your door. It reads ‘you had poison for breakfast.’ A potential murder is under way and it’s your own! In Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket, the legendary narrator reveals how he employed both investigative expertise and philosophy when landed with this very dilemma.

Lemony Snicket is the pen name of American writer Daniel Handler, and also a key character in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the darkly delicious adventure books for ‘unusual children.’ Here he applies his customary wryness to an examination of both his own death and the vicissitudes of everyday life.

Thoroughly dismayed by the thought of impending death, Snicket decides to investigate each shop that has sold him an item from the toxic breakfast table. On the way, he will share anecdotes and philosophise, because philosophy is essentially thinking your way through knotty issues, and what could be knottier than contemplating one’s life in the shadow of murder?

Snicket’s observations begin with childhood.

‘What reason could there possibly be that I must face the blackboard instead of looking out the window at the rain making quick, tiny circles everywhere on the ground?’

He ponders film, books and the trials of being a writer, deceased people he has known, the importance of public parks, and how sinister supermarkets are in their brazen eagerness to please. From the tea shop to the pear tree, via the bee keeper, Snicket’s stream of consciousness meanders through his fact-finding mission. We’re even treated to a cameo appearance by Emily Dickinson. What are her thoughts on the pending murder? Could Snicket be asking the wrong questions?

Droll and illuminating, this stand-alone Snicket book is perfect for the contemplative types in your life.

Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket

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