Actually, I only bothered to look at the copyright information of Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography because, well, he's Lemony friggin' Snicket. Clearly I can find cleverly coded information to augment my understanding of the VFD and perhaps even locate the missing sugar bowl. Sadly, the data did not elucidate any kitchen utensil whereabouts, but it did provide a few chuckles. As this could be viewed as a review of sorts (though, admittedly, not a very good one if you wish to know what the book was actually about), I am going to reproduce the copyright information here, for your enjoyment.
No part of this book may be used, reproduced, destroyed, tampered with, or eaten without written permission except in the case of brief, possibly coded quotations embodied in critical articles, reviews and subpoenas. Allegedly printed in the United States of America. For information address Harper Collins Children's Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019, although the people at this publishing house have no idea where the documents enclosed in this book came from. If you recognize yourself in any of the photographs of illustrations in this book you may find yourself in Very Frightening Danger and/or slightly embarrassed but there is nothing you can do about it. Please note that the author has been called a fraud, a criminal, a bestseller, a corpse, a fictional character, an unreliable narrator, an objective flaneur, an embattled gentleman, a magnetic field, an arsonist, and late for dinner by an odd number of dubious authorities. Send help at once. All rights reserved. Wouldn't you rather read about ponies?
All that and more is precisely why I am secretly courting Mr. Snicket by reading every stitch of material available to me, especially the metadata. I saw that the copyright page looked a tad bit wordier than usual, but this is just absurd. And he just kills it in the end with that bit about ponies.
Mr. Snicket doesn't end there. How could he be the unreliable narrator he claims to have been labled in the past if he only provides one bit of intriguing metadata. Oh no, his index is quite something as well. Let's see if you can follow this thread of associations. Ahem. Imagine you wished to find out exactly where Sunny Baudelaire is mentioned in the text. Why, just check the index and it will promptly bring you to the correct pages, no? No. No, it doesn't. Instead it tells you to:
See Baudelaire orphans (which tells you to)
See Baudelaire case (which tells you to)
See Snicket file (which tells you to)
See solemn vows (which tells you to)
See noble causes (which tells you to)
See necessary evils (which tells you to)
See moral uncertainty (which tells you to)
See villainy (which tells you to)
See conspiracies (which tells you to)
See overall feeling of doom (which tells you to)
See doom, overall feeling of
From this last bit, the eager researcher is then instructed to turn to pages ix-211 (i.e., the whole book) to find this information. Now, I've read the book and can assure you that Sunny Baudelaire is not mentioned on every single page. This chain of markers referring one elsewhere in the index is not alone. "Winnipeg, Duchess of" may lead you to a specific cluster of pages, but it also tells you to "See noble causes" which we are all well aware by now leads to moral uncertainty and then a large assortment of other key terms. Now, I may not have taken courses about indexing practices yet, but I don't think this is a very helpful index (not that it was Mr. Snicket's intent to allow information to be easily accessed).
Once I finished Mr. Snicket's tome, I moved on to finally reading An Abundance of Katherines. And while I am only a few chapters deep, I am thoroughly delighted by the abundance of footnotes. It's as if John Green, the authordude, dove deep inside my brain and found hidden amidst squishy tissues and neurons my secret passion for footnotes and sprinkled it throughout the lovely book just for me. Or maybe not, but I sure as hell love a good footnote. Especially footnotes that involve graphs and bell curve charts. FOOTNOTES!! If I could figure out how to add footnotes to everything in life, I would. Just watch me.