#4. Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid – Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

“Life is a turbulent journey, fraught with confusion, heartbreak, and inconvenience.

This book will not help.”

You cannot expect anything but brilliance from a book that has the above statement for a blurb. The book starts off with a parable of sorts – with a bitterly unhappy ending that teaches you to “never search for a wise man, particularly in your neighborhood, where so few of them live.” The parable is followed by a collection of quotes and important bitter truths that everyone needs to know (but which will not necessarily help everyone – or anyone, for that matter) and wise remarks made by Snicket at “dinner parties and anarchist riots”.

And I LOVED them all. Almost all the quotes are really funny – and yet, they’re also rather thought-provoking. But more than all that, they are comforting – reading Snicket is like talking to a very old, very dear friend. And whether you’re feeling confused or sad or struggling with an overall feeling of doom that one cannot escape no matter one does – this book can make you feel better. It’s sort of like what he says about crying – “Unless you have been very, very lucky, you have undoubtedly experienced events in your life that have made you cry. So unless you have been very, very lucky, you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.” Even if your circumstances have not changed one bit, randomly flipping to a page in the book and reading the quote there can make you smile and that could perhaps make you feel a little more poised to take on whatever’s troubling you. So, I guess that one of the bitter truths proved wrong after all – the one on the blurb that says that this book cannot help you out in a life fraught with confusion, heartbreak and inconvenience.