From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.
©2013 David Sedaris (P)2013 Hachette Audio
"Sedaris is the preeminent humorist of his generation." (Entertainment Weekly)
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
When I discovered David Sedaris I was elated, devouring everything he'd written, preferably in audio format so I could enjoy his delivery. He is a witty genius exploring life experiences for humorous, thought provoking, and snarky effect.
This book however produced fewer laugh-out-loud moments instead turning out the occasional chuckle and a few smiles. Listening is like visiting an old friend who doesn't have much new to share; maybe the well is dry for now. A full length book should have been replaced with an article or two in the New Yorker.
The transition music was long and eerie, not in keeping with the tone for the content. Also, his delivery wasn't as fervent and immediate as in earlier performances.
Still love David, and am not frustrated I used my credit. My advice to those who enter is this...don't expect the same initial high from his earlier work and enjoy the nostalgia. His body of work is phenomenal and am hopeful for future writings.
Say something about yourself!
The first time I heard Sedaris, I thought I was listening to the funniest, most clever and original humorist since the early years of George Carlin and Steve Martin, whose live performances had you leaning on complete strangers to help support your racked-with-laughter body to keep you off the floor. Forget polite sophisticated chuckles--these were open-mouthed, tears down your cheeks, ugly-faced guffaws. You never finished a drink before the carbonation went flat...you knew there'd not be even one safe second to swallow before an explosive laugh might send that sparkly beverage spraying out your nose. Sedaris even had the added unique ability to get you laughing at those never before funny, tough memories we all share--those growing up rights of passage moments that elicit laughter through tears. He was (and is) that good at observing life and the ridiculous humor in the everyday.
Maybe I've lost my funny bone, but it seemed like something was missing with this latest collection. I never felt the urge to rewind and listen again, and at times found myself giving an obligatory chuckle out of respect for a comedic genius that has shared better comedy. He is still observant and witty; several of the pieces were great, but there was not much that seemed new and crisp, nothing to catch you off guard and slap you silly. There's a dusty air of reflection, even melancholy, in a few of the pieces that set a tone that stayed with me, in spite of some sunnier funnier bits. But then, maybe unfairly, I always compare his latest to his greatest, the one that had me afraid to drink a Coke even alone at home--Me Talk Pretty One Day; several guffaws better that hooting it up here with the owls.
Fans of Sedaris will still enjoy this, and will probably get plenty of laughs that make it worth the price of admission. Anything that can lift our spirits, give us a little enjoyment, and make us smile is worthwhile, afterall. *Worth mentioning: not a great or consistent production. As usual, there are live bits which you expect to be a little tougher to listen to, but even the studio recorded pieces are tinny and inferior.
Book Lover in Ottawa
I’m not sure why I bought this book as I’d never heard of David Sedaris before. It was likely the couple glasses of wine that lowered my resistance to buying 3 Audible credits and and a desire to stock up on audiobooks before going on vacation, even though I didn’t need more books.
This title had permeated my consciousness with hype on Audible and some magazines I read and had peaked my curiosity. In my research prior to purchasing, I found that David is an American humorist with a decent following and so I decided that Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls would be my introduction to David Sedaris.
This book then sat unread for a little over 4 months before I queue it up while waiting for my next Audible credit to arrive. I figured as this was a book of distinct stories that I could always stop part way through if I wanted to read something else, but didn’t.
David reads this book himself which I have always liked for biographical audio books and does a solid job presenting his material. Some of his stories have been recorded live, but most of the book is recorded in studio. The stories reflect David’s life growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, living abroad, traveling, and being gay before ending with some short absurd and funny stories at the end of the book.
All the stories are good to great and I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions. Sedaris is just a bit older than I am, so I related well to his commentaries on how the world has changed since the 1970s. His stories are sympathetic enough that you are able to relate and care enough to find out more about Sedaris’ life, but not good enough for me to rush out and buy all his other audio books immediately. I’m not saying I won’t pick up another book by Sedaris, I probably will, but just not today.
In conclusion, a good book and a solid read if this is the type of book that interests you pick it up.
Near the top. It is so funny and dead on that it makes you think as well as laugh. There is always something we can personally relate to in each story.
His bizarre perspective on the simple things of life.
The scene with the pygmy .
His obvious love for his father...yet poking fun at him every chance he gets.
This book starts out funny and witty in wonderful Sedaris style, but then gets very political. I turn off the TV to get away from all the different view points. I barely made it to the end.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
While I enjoyed this collection more than Sedaris' previous book 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk', it just didn't rise to the levels of his great collections ('Naked' or 'Me Talk Pretty Someday'), or even his very good collections ('When You Are Engulfed in Flames' or 'Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim'). I just feel like he is retreading the same ground, picking up the same litter, and is starting that phase in his career where he is like a band from the 80s that isn't creating as much as exploiting his better work.
I hope I am being overly pessimistic, and maybe I am just jaded from the horrible audio experience my wife and I had last night listening to him at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, AZ, but it seems that the reading typified my feelings about his book. Sedaris was reading to a comfortable group in comfortable shoes, reading comfortable stories. We all laughed at the appropriate parts, we all knew what we expected and David Sedaris delivered the goods -- mostly.
The audio quality wasn't great, but I walked away mostly amused that I somehow ended up parting with 1 credit at Audible, $15 bucks on Amazon, $45 for a live reading, and while mildly entertained ... I wasn't particularly blown away. It was like I was a beer-bellied, middle-aged man at a Journey concert. I figure I didn't pay for the new set, just for the couple hours of nostalgia at how great it was ten or twenty years ago. Now, I've just got to figure out now how much nostalgia will cost me tomorrow.
Fans of David Sedaris rejoice--this is his best collection of essays since "Me Talk Pretty One Day"--at least in the humble opinion of this reviewer. Sedaris is in top form here on topics ranging from airline travel to the pitfalls of foreign language instruction (Japanese, German, Chinese) to the casual everyday cruelty of children--and of adults, for that matter. The tone is in turn poignant and sarcastic, and always unflinchingly honest.
Sedaris' humor has an edge to it and he doesn't spare himself from its blade, but he unfailingly finds the comedy in his experiences and invites us to do the same. His turn of phrase manages to state truths while at the same time being very funny--one example I can't get out of my head is his observation that Americans see Australians as "Canadians in a thong."
While one or two of the essays had a familiar ring to them (perhaps from a version appearing on an episode of This American Life?), the material is almost all new as far as I can tell.
Sedaris' deadpan delivery style greatly enhances the listening experience--this is certainly an instance where the audio surpasses the print version. Highly recommended!
Other reviewers complain that it's not as fresh as his older works, but its good moments are great. The dog poetry would do Ogden Nash proud. Even the production credits at the end had me laughing out loud.
A listeader. I love the journey of listening to my intellectual fortification.
I haven't read it but if the book is half as good then it would be great.
Obammmaaaa in France. You had to be there.
His parents. Hilarious.
His Dad's insistent rejection of him and then trying to be there for him for the colonoscopy.
Listen to it.
I would listen to all of David Sedaris' books again and again! He's delightful and has inspired me to write my own blog of funny flashback memories of my own life.
The dentist in France.
Check out "Holidays on Ice" by David Sedaris. HILARIOUS and relatable.
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