Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman, author and illustrator of a new picture book, 13 Words (HarperCollins, Oct.), will meet their fans this weekend at an impromptu ice cream social at Cones, a West Village retailer of handmade, Argentine-style ice cream and sorbet. The store will give out free ice cream to attendees, while Snicket, a.k.a Daniel Handler, and Kalman sign books sold through special-event retailer Mobile Libros. The event is from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 2, at 272 Bleecker Street.
“This is a joyful, exuberant way to celebrate books and ice cream and let fans get to know Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman,” says Susan Rich, an editor-at-large working with HarperCollins on 13 Words. “The book takes the idea of a traditional word book and turns it on its head. It says that, in the face of feeling despondent, we should eat cake and wear hats with feathers on them. That spirit is very well translated into free ice cream.”
“When someone buys you an ice cream cone, you think well of them for a long time, no matter what subsequent miseries they put you through,” Snicket points out. “Ms. Kalman and I wanted to treat our readers to ice cream for this very reason.”
“I never miss an opportunity to celebrate a new day, especially with ice cream,” adds Kalman.
The idea percolated last weekend, after a scheduled October 2 appearance by Kalman and Snicket in the New York Times’ Times Talks series was canceled. Kalman asked the proprietors of Cones—one of her favorite places, as she mentioned in a recent W magazine profile—if they would host an event before the store opened.
Word of mouth is traveling fast via social media. HarperCollins authors Neil Gaiman (Coraline) and Lisa Brown (Handler’s wife and author of Vampire Boy’s Good Night) both tweeted about the event. Gaiman has 1.5 million followers, and his Twitter blurb “was instantly re-Tweeted and re-Tweeted,” Rich reports. Brown’s tweet was picked up by Jenn Laughran, a literary agent and bookseller who runs the Not Your Mother’s Book Club blog and has 6,000 Twitter followers. Meanwhile, Rich created an event page on Facebook, which has been reposted as well.
Rich notes that the social media commentary has been positive and has extended beyond the event itself, which a limited number of people will attend. “Beyond the opportunity to gather people together in New York to enjoy ice cream and 13 Words, this helps spread the spirit of the book,” she says.
Snicket also will hold a signing on Friday, October 1 at 4 p.m. at Bank Street Bookstore in New York City.