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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  4,287 ratings  ·  637 reviews
'One of our most dazzling literary conjurers shuffles the deck of contemporary consciousness and desire. A thrilling feat of tragic magic.' - Michael Chabon Adverbs marks the return of Daniel Handler to adult fiction as he tackles life's most complicated and compelling noun: love. In a series of intersecting narratives that explore variations of that ineffable feeling, Han ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 31st 2006 by HarperCollins - AU (first published April 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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Mar 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jenna once gave me the idea of buying books from Borders and then returning them within 31 days after having read them.

The problems with that practice in my life are not ethical; they are practical:

1) I read in two- to three-months fury spurts, just like how I knit, except the reading trend is unrelated to avoiding other things in my life. Said fury spurts cannot be fabricated or induced, they just happen. I forget this, however, with great frequency, and buy fury spurts' worth of books sometime
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

It’s time for my library’s annual Winter Reading Challenge. The challenge, should I choose to accept it (duh, of course I do), is to read five books between January 20th and March 20th. Once completed I can earn myself yet another bragalicious mug for my collection . . .

Commercial Photography

Oooops, wrong mug . . .

Commercial Photography

Easy peasy lemon squeazy, right? Well, the kicker this year is the theme is “Love on the Rocks.”
Commercial Photography

Romance is not my forté. The extra
Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2007, phenomenal
This is the kind of book that makes me want to go back and take all my 5-star ratings down to 4, so that giving this one 5 will mean more.

This is the kind of book where, all while I was reading it, I was thinking about how I would read it again, more slowly, more thoughtfully, with more intense concentration.

And so I did; I read it twice through, one after the other, and good fucking grief, it is so achingly good. The second time maybe a tiny little bit less so because I already knew so many o
Mike Puma
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

shhhhh! This review isn’t for everyone. Neither is this book. But like this book, this review is for you—you only. Maybe you and that other guy, or the woman who contorts herself trying to see the title of what your reading and thinking no one notices her doing it. She might be a character in the story, Adverbs, but she isn’t because that would be that story, and this is this story, which isn’t a story, exactly, but it is because it’s a review…of sorts, the only type I’m in the mood to write. So

Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps you're a reader who'll have better luck.
In contrast to me, you won't find yourself stuck
When plotlines confuse you and run all amok,
And all you can think is to ask WTF??

Befuddled? Bemused? Yes I was, but I don’t feel embarrassed to say it. I’m pretty sure that was Handler’s intent. You see the verb to which each chapter-identifying adverb applies is “love.” How can any of us, the author included, generalize in any definitive way about that? I think it’s fair to say that there are as
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, read-2011
Back Flips and Party Tricks

I hated the first chapter of this novel, so much so that it took almost 200 pages for me to recover and trust Daniel Handler.

Still, once it all started to come together, I did an amazing about face.

By the end, I loved “Adverbs” and felt sad that I had to leave this crazy assortment of characters behind (or was it them who left me behind?).

I didn't want the party to end.

Across the Great Divide

The first chapter concerns an unnamed apparently heterosexual male character
Jennifer (aka EM)
Three is too generous, because I'm mad - deeply mad - at you, Adverbs. You sucked away 17 days of my life for what? WHAT, I ask you? Some clever lines, repeating symbols, cutesy structure - but what the hell was this? A novel? (no) Short stories? (maybe) Intellectual masturbation, because Daniel Handler could? (probably)

By the end I was confused and annoyed, and now I'm reliving that confusion and annoyance. I confess, I've decided to abandon this one short story/chapter/ejaculation before the e
Matt Buchholz
Jul 01, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that laugh when they're told to.
Recommended to Matt by: I got myself into this mess.
As is the case with Barenaked Ladies fans and people that think Jay Leno is funny, those that like this book will be judged harshly and possibly abandoned.
Mar 01, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like don't mind not being able to follow everything
Shelves: bookclubbook
This book looks, at first, to be a series of short stories that are titled with adverbs - Particularly, Often, etc. A cute concept that sparks some curiosity. But it really gets going when you realize that all the characters are connected, but the stories are not chronological nor are narrations always comprehensible. Sometimes Joe isn't Joe and Mike is called Mark but his name is something else, and there are 2 Andreas, or are there? A mental map is so not good enough. I would suggest writing d ...more
Brent Legault
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: old hardhats, young nuns
I've never read Handler's kid stuff but Adverbs did make me feel young again, if you don't mind that dust-smudged cliche. Not that I'm old even. And I certainly don't yearn for a lost childhood. Adverbs, the novel, or rather Adverbs: A Novel, made English over for me again, for the little while I was inside it. I had that giddy feeling I remember from my toddling times after reading my first "grown-ups" book -- that is, my first book without pictures. I don't know what that book was but it doesn ...more
MJ Nicholls
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to MJ by: Oriana
Shelves: merkins, novels
Adverbs has a twisty, clever authorial voice, all-knowing and wise like the best omniscient narrators, which doesn’t really deviate from its essential Handlerness, despite inhabiting the emotional realm of his lovesick hipster personnel. But Handler handles words like a panhandler panhandles handles, or a handler handles hands: deftly, with aplomb.

Like Watch Your Mouth, Handler uses recurring images, phrases, motifs, characters, spooling them through his stylish prose with its sardonic Sorrentin
Forget the adverbs, here's some adjectives that describe me after turning the last page.


There's a part in the book that talks about how, when love goes wrong, you want all those hours back that you spent with the other person. I feel that way about this book, although I didn't really spend that many hours reading it.

I thought it was a novel, but it read like short stories because there's no plot. But the characters change in each story, and aren't identifi
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the whole wide world
Shelves: fiction
David Handler is brilliant. This book compiles a bunch of stories involving characters who are intimately or barely connected to each other. Each chapter is a short story but the characters become so intertwined that it feels like a novel. The theme of this book? Love, love, and more love. But it aint what you think. This isn't a cheesy and cliche book about the heart to heart, folks. This is a book about every kind of love, from the obvious to the mysterious. I think that when I am done reading ...more
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What is love? The song suggests that ‘oh baby don’t hurt me’ so does that mean is love about pain? I think that this is probably not the impression you want to give… unless you are into that sort of thing, which most women 15-65 seem to be if this is so popular.

Love is…

Well, when I was young, I used to think that this represented love.

[image error]

I’m not sure that that is so healthy either, but I had a ton of them.. they were my ‘go to’ I guess…

When I google ‘Love is’ I get this comic strip
Dec 08, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Can I give this less than one star? Adverbs? I have nouns: crap, nonsense, onanism. I have adjectives: rambling, tedious, juvenile. I have better things to do than waste time on this book and so do you.
Christopher Allen
As if this book needed another review . . .

Thousands of readers apparently either love or hate this book or feel something in between too. Love is like this. Sometimes it feels a lot like hate or something in between, and that's OK.

Adverbs is a loosely knit chain of modifiers. Everything is so unrelated in its relatedness. And it's all about love . . . and people, people with similar names and a volcano or a man-made disaster, maybe. Some will see this absurd romp as the work of a genius; some
Reading this book is like looking at things at the bottom of a swimming pool. You can't hear very much, or touch them without closing your eyes and holding your breath, and the outlines keep changing and at any rate you're never sure how far away they are, but they're pretty in a fascinating sort of a way. They keep changing, and you can't get a hand on what they actually are or they're meant to represent, so all you can do is look at the shapes and how they keep fluctuating and irregularly morp ...more
Jul 25, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"This is a novel about love," says the back cover. Well, it's half right. It is about love, but calling it a novel is a bit of a stretch. The book has no central character or plot, just a series of stories, sometimes connected, about a bunch of different people who sometimes pop up in each others' stories. I think maybe someone might say that love is the main character, but having a main character who's schizophrenic and/or prone to wild mood swings is a difficult task to pull off without a plot ...more
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hate adverbs, but there was something intriguing about this collection of stories written by the author of the Lemony Snicket books. Unfortunately, this is one of those books that aspires to be something more than it is. While I like the interconnectedness of the stories, I couldn't help feeling like I'd seen this trick somewhere before...and executed less self-consciously. Anyone whose read Series of Unfortunate Events is aware of the author's insistence on always keeping one foot in the stor ...more
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
you know that type of cartoon illustration where it's a full view of a park or city street and there's a bunch of people doing things and the closer you look the more intricate and amusing each part of the picture gets? that's what it's like reading this "novel". i put quotation marks because Adverbs is classified as a novel but in quite a different sense.

the book is a collection of non-linear short circumstances with different characters (many of which share the same name and sometimes may actu
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
I don't generally write reviews, but this book disappointed me to the degree that I feel compelled to write one anyway. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised I managed to make it to the end.

One thing that drove me insane was how difficult it was to follow which characters were belonged where, and how they were connected to each other. The author drops these hints as to who someone is- a girl mentioned in passing in one passage suddenly receives a central role in another. Little tidbits like this make y
I became interested in this book after reading a rave review by a user on this very website (Hey! It works!). I picked the book up yesterday and have already finished it. That never happens with me. Generally there at least 20 naps taken between covers. As you will see if you read any other reviews this "novel" is more a series of intertwined vignettes. All stories about love framed in chapters named after various adverbs: Immediately, Briefly, Obviously, Clearly, Naturally, etc. Also, if you've ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am utterly and totally confused by this book. To start off this review, I think a quote from the author about this book would be appropriate.

Quoth Handler "Yes, there's a volcano in the novel. In my opinion a volcano automatically makes a story more interesting." And there is a volcano in the novel, it seems to be one of his favorite things to talk about. In addition to this there is an abundance of birds, alcohol, and taxis.

I'd like to provide a timeline and a list of characters but the story
Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having read The Basic Eight and a few of the volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, I picked this up for a light and absorbing plane-read on my way to a funeral. I was thrilled, then, to find it both unexpectedly poignant and powerful. Handler's easygoing and conversational voice effortlessly masks true linguistic prowess, allowing me to read his stories as breezily or as pensively as I chose. Truly a book of linked short stories, rather than a "novel" as the back cover suggests, the ...more
Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: quirky friends
Shelves: 2007reads
funny, wordsmithy, delightfully quirky. i like the occasionally intruding author's voice ("those are my wife's favorite cookies") in the lives of the characters -- kinda kundera-like in that way. the music references were fun, and i like the mixing of real bands and songs with made-up ones. but there was an authorial distance, a real arms-length narration the whole way through -- sometimes overly clever, snickety, let's have a looksee at what our hapless little characters are doing -- that preve ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Lemony Snicket's weird ways. And when I saw this in the library, I figured I would love Daniel Handler's weird ways as well. And I did, for the most part. This book is more a series of short stories, with familiar characters and themes resurfacing in nearly every chapter. It's hard to keep track of everyone, and I'd very much like to map out which character does what and appears where, but it's made clear even in the jacket copy that things are pretty ambiguous, and that one Andrea here m ...more
Jul 05, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2007
A self-indulgent, unreadable, too-clever-for-its-own good failure from the author of the Lemony Snicket series.

One is reminded of Sir Arthur Sullivan, who is said to have been unhappy his entire life, dismissing the success of all of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, mourning his failure to succeed with more "serious" composition.
Nick Kives
I disliked the book early on, and grew to like it more and more with the weird connection to other stories as i read on. I like this book more for its attempt at trying something a little different than the actually follow through. I'm just not sure if I'm a fan of Handler's writing style (will have to read another to really know I guess).
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first time I'd ever read a Daniel Handler book written for adults. Up until now, my only experience with him has been the pseudonymous stories he has written for children centered around misfortunate orphans and sinister secret organizations (a phrase which here means "he writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket"). I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but it certainly did not disappoint.

This is not so much a novel as it is a collection of short stories that happen to star the same
Devan Brown
I finished, but it wasn't really for me. Some of the stories connected with me, but a lot of them read a little pretentious.
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Daniel Handler is the author of the novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs, the Michael J. Printz Honor-winning Why We Broke Up, a collaboration with noted illustrator Maira Kalman, Let's Be Pirates, All the Dirty Parts, and, most recently, Bottle Grove. He also worked with Kalman on the book Girls Standing on Lawns and Hurry Up and Wait. Under the name Lemony Snicket he has written the ...more

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