Daniel Handler, under his citrus-y and sharp-sounding nom de plume, Lemony Snicket, has created a modern children's classic with the volumes of his "Series of Unfortunate Events." But his has been a multifaceted career: He's written poetry, played accordion on the Magnetic Fields' pop classic "69 Love Songs," and written two novels, the most recent of which, "Adverbs," came out on April 11. On the night of the book's debut, Handler sat down with critic Laura Miller, one of Salon's founders, at San Francisco's Herbst Theater as part of the City Arts & Lecture series and shared the story of the quasi-religious origins of the name Lemony Snicket, his thoughts about his career as a novelist for adults, and who else might have appeared as Count Olaf -- some fans were unhappy when Jim Carrey took the role -- in the movie version. "There were people it could have been -- let's say, notorious anti-Semites who make long, Aramaic movies about Jesus and funnel their money to their dad's Holocaust-denying churches. Not to name names." (The conversation has been edited to 40 minutes.)
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