Books by David Sedaris

CALYPSO by David Sedaris
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 29, 2018

"Sedaris at his darkest—and his best."
In which the veteran humorist enters middle age with fine snark but some trepidation as well. Read full book review >
THEFT BY FINDING by David Sedaris
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 30, 2017

"A surprisingly poignant portrait of the artist as a young to middle-aged man."
Raw glimpses of the humorist's personal life as he clambered from starving artist to household name. Read full book review >
LET'S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS by David Sedaris
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 23, 2013

"Those who have followed Sedaris through the years will find plenty to enjoy, though not much in the way of surprise or revelation."
A more varied and less consistent essay collection from the noted humorist. Read full book review >
WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES by David Sedaris
NON-FICTION
Released: June 3, 2008

"Just when Sedaris seems to have disappeared down the rabbit hole of ironic introspection, he delivers a cracking blow of insight that leaves you reeling."
Older, wiser, smarter and meaner, Sedaris (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, 2004, etc.) defies the odds once again by delivering an intelligent take on the banalities of an absurd life. Read full book review >
DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM by David Sedaris
NON-FICTION
Released: June 1, 2004

"Sedaris's sense of life's absurdity is on full, fine display, as is his emotional body armor. Fortunately, he has plenty of both."
Known for his self-deprecating wit and the harmlessly eccentric antics of his family, Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day, 2000, etc.) can also pinch until it hurts in this collection of autobiographical vignettes. Read full book review >
ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY by David Sedaris
NON-FICTION
Released: June 1, 2000

"Naughty good fun from an impossibly sardonic rogue, quickly rising to Twainian stature."
The undisputed champion of the self-conscious and the self-deprecating returns with yet more autobiographical gems from his apparently inexhaustible cache (Naked, 1997, etc.). Read full book review >
NAKED by David Sedaris
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1997

In this collection of essays, playwright and NPR commentator Sedaris tops his anarchically hilarious miscellany Barrel Fever (1994) by inventing a new genre: autobiography as fun-house mirror. From the first sentence (``I'm thinking of asking the servants to wax my change before placing it in the Chinese tank I keep on my dresser''), Naked pretty well clobbers the reader into dizzy submission. Growing up in Raleigh, N.C., Sedaris had disruptive nervous tics that only disappeared once he took up smoking, which, ``despite its health risks, is much more socially acceptable than crying out in tiny voices.'' The author volunteered at a mental hospital and spoke solely in Shakespearean English for a spell. One Christmas his sister brought home a coworker who moonlighted as a prostitute: ``From this moment on, the phrase `ho, ho, ho' would take on a whole different meaning.'' Sedaris's best humor is generally rooted in misery: At college he befriended ``a fun girl with a degenerative nerve disease'' and confined to a wheelchir, with whom he successfully shoplifted (no one stopped them) and hitchhiked (everyone stopped for them); he astutely illuminates the weird mixture of altruism and vanity that motivated him to become his friend's caretaker. Sedaris's extensive rÇsumÇ of hitchhiking trips and dire jobs has provided him with an absurd array of distressing incidental characters, like the belligerent, legless Jesus freak for whom he worked making jade clocks in the shape of Oregon. The author's wisecracking mother emerges as a full-blown comic heroine, and the essay discussing the months before her death achieves a brilliant synthesis of solemnity and humor. Only at the end, when describing a visit to a downscale nudist camp, does Sedaris disappoint, as he seems to have gone on the jaunt solely to acquire filler material. Sedaris applies the same deadpan fastidiousness to his life that Charlie Chaplin applied to his shoe in The Gold Rush—this is splendid stuff.*justify no* Read full book review >
BARREL FEVER by David Sedaris
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1994

NPR storyteller Sedaris chronicles a society slightly removed from the mainstream and characters who don't quite fit in with the masses. Deadpan exaggeration gives this first collection a satirical edge. The narrator of ``Parade'' discusses his homosexual relationships with stars whose straightness has never been questioned (Bruce Springsteen, Mike Tyson, and Peter Jennings), using the same matter-of-fact tone to describe the torrid affair of Elizabeth Dole and Pat Buckley. In ``We Get Along,'' Dale lives with his mother, who is full of anger against her deceased, womanizing husband and every night spitefully calls a woman she suspects had an affair with him. Distancing himself from both parents, Dale tries not to rock the boat while keeping some secrets to himself. ``Glen's Homophobia Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 2'' is a parody of the persecuted in which any minority group could be substituted to replace the whining homosexual who bemoans his suffering at the oppressive hands of society in a style so over- the-top as to be laughable. These and nine other stories are followed by four essays. ``Diary of a Smoker'' is also an account of persecution (by nonsmokers); ``Giantess'' relates Sedaris's experiences with a magazine of erotica about enormous women. Far exceeding them in wit is ``SantaLand Diaries,'' previously read on NPR's ``Morning Edition,'' which describes his seasonal stint as a Macy's elf. Four days of rigorous training on the eighth floor barely prepared him for the crowds, the Santas, and the unending barrage of questions. Throughout the collection, without slapping the reader in the face with a political diatribe, the author skewers our ridiculous fascination with other people's tedious everyday lives. Life may be banal here, but Sedaris's take on it is vastly entertaining. (Author tour) Read full book review >