Author Events

Daniel Handler AKA Lemony Snicket - And Then? and Then? What Else?

Left Bank Books presents bestselling author Daniel Handler AKA Lemony Snicket for his new part memoir, part inspiration for aspiring writers And Then? and Then? What Else? described as a bold, candid, vulnerable, and entertaining memoir of a literary life. This is the first book to be published with both given name and alias where we will look at the challenging and often amusing path toward one of the most spectacularly successful writing careers of the twenty-first century.

Handler will personalize and sign copies after the presentation! Personalized and signed copies will be available to be mailed anywhere in the country. For personalized copies, please order before noon on May 21st.

Join us at Ethical Society of St. Louis
9001 Clayton Rd
St. Louis, MO 63117

Please RSVP for this event



About the Speaker

Daniel Handler is best known for his books as Lemony Snicket, notably the thirteen-volume A Series of Unfortunate Events and the four-book sequence All the Wrong Questions. Under his given name, he is the author of seven novels, and has worked extensively in music, theater, film, and television. He lives in San Francisco, California.

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.



About And Then? and Then? What Else?

Part memoir, part inspiration for aspiring writers, And Then? And Then? What Else? traces Daniel Handler's sometimes challenging and often amusing path toward one of the most spectacularly successful writing careers of the twenty-first century. Declaring his love of strange literature, Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil in particular, Handler reflects on the life experiences--some of them deeply personal and revealed for the first time--and the cultural influences that shaped his writing, both under his own name and as Lemony Snicket, the lonely, beleaguered, somehow both cynical and romantic narrator of the beloved thirteen-volume saga of three unlucky orphans that became one of the best-selling series of all time. Inspiring, revelatory, and entertaining, And Then? And Then? What Else? is destined to become a classic of its genre, every bit as influential as Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings or Stephen King's On Writing have been on previous generations.


Publishers Weekly (03/11/2024):

Handler (author of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books as Lemony Snicket) takes a charming if diffuse look at the people, literature, and films that shaped him. Topics on offer include misogyny in movies like Vertigo and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Roald Dahl's antisemitism, Handler's experiences having his work adapted for the screen, and the "mysteries" underpinning his happy 26-year marriage. The author's stated purpose is to share "the lunatic ways" such musings "explain what I've done and what I'm doing," and by and large, he delivers. In a punchy, stream-of-consciousness style, Handler excavates his childhood--including a chilling, flatly delivered recollection of sexual abuse--and his fraught relationship with novel-writing, pulling readers into his funny, fractured world. The wide net he casts can, however, make the proceedings feel slightly rudderless, with too few through lines to tie the book's entertaining parts into a satisfying whole. Still, this offbeat, discursive outing will entertain and enlighten Handler's many fans. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. (May)

Copyright 2024 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Booklist (03/15/2024):
*Starred Review* This dazzling memoir from the writer better known as Lemony Snicket (a nom de plume whose origins he hilariously explains here) delves deeply into every aspect of his life. Each section effortlessly shifts from the sublime--such as his literary and cultural influences, particularly the poetry of Baudelaire--to the banal, then the deeply silly, and then back to another immensely readable description of the writers and artists he loves (he includes a short reading list at the end of the most notable works he mentions since he discusses so many). In stupendously written, engagingly conversational prose, Handler candidly covers a wide range of topics and experiences--his mental health struggles, his sexuality, his terrible early attempts at writing, and some shocking trauma. Handler also thoughtfully probes what to include and not include in a memoir, and throughout there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Handler's army of devoted fans will be delighted with this imitable memoir, while his fascinating experiences and approaches to writing will engage all readers interested in how writers write and why. Thought-provoking, deeply personal, and like few other memoirs in the range of topics covered, Handler's mix of the personal and the literary is as compelling as his gloriously off-beat fiction. COPYRIGHT(2024) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 - 7:00pm

Paul Hendrickson - Fighting the Night

Paul Hendrickson - "Fighting the Night: Iwo Jima, World War II and a Flyer’s Life" book cover and color author photo

SLCL Authors @ the J and the Westfall Politics & History Series Present
Bestselling Historian Paul Hendrickson

Author of “Fighting the Night: Iwo Jima, World War II and a Flyer’s Life”

The J’s Staenberg Family Complex
Mirowitz Performing Arts Center at 2 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146

National Book Award-nominated author Paul Hendrickson shares the moving story of his father’s wartime service as a night fighter pilot. In the fall of 1944, Joe Paul Hendrickson, a twenty-five-year-old first lieutenant, was sent to Iwo Jima, where, for the last five and a half months of World War II, he flew his famed B-61 Black Widow on approximately seventy-five missions, largely in pitch-black conditions. Bringing to life an iconic moment of American history, and the tragedy of all wars, “Fighting the Night” is an intense and powerful story of violence and love, forgiveness and loss.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Books available for purchase from Left Bank Books.

Westfall Politics & History Series logo - black text on white background


PAUL HENDRICKSON is a three-time finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a winner in 2003 for his book Sons of MississippiThe Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War was a 1996 finalist for the National Book Award. Hemingway's Boat was a New York Times best seller and also a best seller in the UK. He has been the recipient of writing fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lyndhurst Foundation, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation. Since 1998, he has been on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and for two decades before that, he was a staff writer at The Washington Post. He lives with his wife, Cecilia, a retired nurse, outside Philadelphia and in Washington, DC.


From the acclaimed and best-selling author of Hemingway's Boat, the profoundly moving story of his father's wartime service as a night fighter pilot, and the prices he and his fellow soldiers paid for their acts of selfless, patriotic sacrifice

In the fall of 1944, Joe Paul Hendrickson, the author's father, kissed his twenty-one-year-old wife and two baby children goodbye. The twenty-five-year-old first lieutenant, pilot of a famed P-61 Black Widow, was leaving for the war. He and his night fighter squadron were sent to Iwo Jima, where, for the last five and a half months of World War II, he flew approximately seventy-five missions, largely in pitch-black conditions. His wife would wait out the war at the home of her small-town Ohio parents, one of the countless numbers of American family members shouldering the burden of being left behind.

Joe Paul, the son of a Depression-poor Kentucky sharecropper, was fresh out of high school in 1937 when he enlisted in mechanic school in the peacetime Army Air Corps. Eventually, he was able to qualify for flight school. After marriage, and with the war on, the young officer and his bride crisscrossed the country, airfield to airfield, base to base: Santa Ana, Yuma, Kissimmee, Bakersfield, Orlando, La Junta, Fresno. He volunteered for night fighters and the newly arrived and almost mythic Black Widow. A world away, the carnage continued. As Paul Hendrickson tracks his parents' journey, together and separate, both stateside and overseas, he creates a vivid portrait of a hard-to-know father whose time in the war, he comes to understand, was something truly heroic, but never without its hidden and unhidden psychic costs.

Bringing to life an iconic moment of American history, and the tragedy of all wars, Fighting the Night is an intense and powerful story of violence and love, forgiveness and loss. And it is a tribute to those who got plunged into service, in the best years of their lives, and the sacrifices they and their loved ones made, then and thereafter.


"Here is another magnificent work of non-fiction literature from the master craftsman Paul Hendrickson. Like the others, this book is scrupulously honest, deeply felt and beautifully written. But now he turns his art to a timeless subject: a son's quest to know--really know--his father."​ -- David Von Drehle, author of The Book of Charlie

"In Fighting the Night, Paul Hendrickson has managed to revive the vanished world of his father, whose formative moment came long ago, when he flew a fighter plane over the Pacific. This is a heroic act of reporting, which doubles as a son's tribute to his dad." -- Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War

"Tender, heartwarming, occasionally frightening, and written in a conversational style that invites the reader into his family, Hendrickson pilots this richly illuminating chronicle across Depression-era Kentucky farmlands to flight school and through his father's deployment in the Pacific and his postwar career as a pilot for Eastern Airlines... An excellent, engrossing work of family and world history that leaves readers thinking in new ways about the consequences of military service." --James Pekoll, Booklist

"Former journalist and best-selling author of Hemingway's Boat, Hendrickson recounts the story of Joe Paul Hendrickson, his father...Detailing the challenges of a young military family, Joe Paul's dangerous wartime missions, and the lingering effects of war, Hendrickson poignantly examines a life and a historic time." --Library Journal

"[A] detailed, vivid narrative, which benefits from intensive archival research and exhaustive interviews...An expert account of a father's WWII experiences that gives his fellow airmen equal attention." --Kirkus Reviews

"Biographer Hendrickson ( Plagued by Fire) offers an intimate exploration of the life and military career of his father, U.S. Army Air Corps pilot Joe Hendrickson (1918-2003)... Coupling a poignant personal journey with propulsive aviation action, this WWII history flies high." --Publishers Weekly

"With deep vision, Paul Hendrickson narrates his search for what his Dad and his combat buddies experienced in the Pacific. It is beautifully reported and written, like all of Paul's work. What makes this book special is that it's a much larger journey into the collective psyche of the members of the Baby Boom generation who have lived in the light and shadow of their parents' experiences in combat long ago." --David Ignatius, columnist, The Washington Post

"Paul Hendrickson has long stood apart from other writers because of his singular, lyrical voice, and Fighting the Night is the work of a great author at his very best. The themes have universal appeal -- fathers and sons, love and war -- but the true heart of Fighting the Night is Hendrickson's reckoning with the ghosts of a life in a book that is hypnotic, profound, achingly honest and compulsively readable." --David Finkel, author of Thank You for Your Service

Thursday, May 30, 2024 - 7:00pm

Rachel Khong - Real Americans

Rachel Khong - "Real Americans" book cover and color author photo

Rachel Khong

The St. Louis County Library Foundation and Left Bank Books Present
Acclaimed Novelist Rachel Khong

Author of “Real Americans”

Presented in partnership with The Very Asian Foundation

Award-winning author of “Goodbye, Vitamin,” Rachel Khong presents an exhilarating novel of American identity that spans three generations in one family. “Real Americans” begins on the precipice of Y2K, when twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, the only child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution, meets easygoing and effortlessly attractive Matthew - heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Twenty one years later, Lily’s son Nick sets out to find his biological father, a journey that threatens to raise more questions than it answers. Exuberant and explosive, “Real Americans” weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, family and finally coming home. 

Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Books available for purchase from Left Bank Books.

Favorite (with a blue quill through the letter O) Author in brown text Series in blue on white

RACHEL KHONG is the author of Goodbye, Vitamin, winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR; O, The Oprah Magazine; Vogue; and Esquire. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Cut, The Guardian, The Paris Review, and Tin House. In 2018, she founded The Ruby, a work and event space for women and nonbinary writers and artists in San Francisco's Mission District. She lives in California.


A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK - From the award-winning author of Goodbye, Vitamin How far would you go to shape your own destiny? An exhilarating novel of American identity that spans three generations in one family and asks: What makes us who we are? And how inevitable are our futures?

"Mesmerizing"--Brit Bennett - "A page turner."--Ha Jin - "Gorgeous, heartfelt, soaring, philosophical and deft"--Andrew Sean Greer - "Traverses time with verve and feeling."--Raven Leilani

Real Americans begins on the precipice of Y2K in New York City, when twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, an unpaid intern at a slick media company, meets Matthew. Matthew is everything Lily is not: easygoing and effortlessly attractive, a native East Coaster, and, most notably, heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Lily couldn't be more different: flat-broke, raised in Tampa, the only child of scientists who fled Mao's Cultural Revolution. Despite all this, Lily and Matthew fall in love.

In 2021, fifteen-year-old Nick Chen has never felt like he belonged on the isolated Washington island where he lives with his single mother, Lily. He can't shake the sense she's hiding something. When Nick sets out to find his biological father, the journey threatens to raise more questions than it provides answers.

In immersive, moving prose, Rachel Khong weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance--a story of trust, forgiveness, and finally coming home.

Exuberant and explosive, Real Americans is a social novel par excellence that asks: Are we destined, or made? And if we are made, who gets to do the making? Can our genetic past be overcome?

Monday, May 20, 2024 - 7:00pm