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Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls | [David Sedaris]

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Humor, 2014

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

What the Critics Say

"Sedaris is the preeminent humorist of his generation." (Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3118 )
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  •  
    FanB14 Rockville, VA, United States 05-07-13
    FanB14 Rockville, VA, United States 05-07-13 Member Since 2011

    Short, Simple, No Spoilers

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    "Devout Fan Disappointed"

    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.





    96 of 104 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Glade, BC 08-22-14
    Anne Glade, BC 08-22-14 Member Since 2006

    Audible brings the printed word to vibrant life. It's such fun to listen while driving or doing the chores.

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    "Prescription for The Blues"


    I read this book after a day of thwarted effort, and it was a perfect escape, a pleasurable dive into David Sedaris's quirky, sharply observed, and often hilarious world.

    Audiobooks offer a more intimate, warmer reading experience than the printed page, and Mr. Sedaris's work is a perfect fit for Audible. He performs well, and possesses the gift of mimicry, and hearing him read his own writing heightens the reading experience for the listener, makes it more immediate and alive.

    I also like the musical stings that set up each essay reading in the audiobook, but the sound capture on some of the live performance segments wasn't very good. Not a show-stopper but I don't need to hear a audience clapping or laughing to find a given segment funny.

    The audio may enhance the work, but the content is what really draws you in and holds you. Mr. Sedaris takes the humdrum and turns it into an opportunity to learn, to observe an unfolding cultural narrative. The simple act of standing in line to board a plane becomes a broad comedy of social manners; his interaction with a telemarketer from a far-away place launches him into an unexpected and poignant story about white privilege in the American south.

    Mr. Sedaris writes about personal stuff, but never self-indulgently. Coming of age, his troubles with addiction, his personal obsessions, all are inputs into his essays. But his writing makes them so much more than personal family anecdotes: they have the ring of familiarity, of a universal cultural experience, especially for baby boomers.

    Many of us recognize The Father who can only criticize and challenge and sometimes beat the son, and, more broadly, the struggle to communicate that exists in families. He also explores the enormous power that families have to define us, to give meaning to our lives.

    Mr. Sedaris comments about his lifelong daily diarizing habit as recording life rather than living it. But his voice is that of someone watching in puzzlement and appreciation, not judgment or a sense of aggrievement.

    My favourite essays in the book involve his everyday experience as an American abroad, where ordinary errands become adventures in cultural and social exploration.

    At times, the humour is laced with empathy. At other times, the author employs more edgy satire. This is especially apparent in the essays at the end, where he skewers the politics of hatred and bigotry, taking the idea to absurd extremes. I found these stories less interesting because I think they are pure imagination, rather than grounded in observation and experience. Similarly, his dog poems, like the title itself, seemed contrived to me, and this is why I gave this wonderful book a rating of 4 instead of 5.

    Since I buy David Sedaris's books not for their titles, but for his unique voice, his wonderful storytelling, comic timing, and brilliant turns of phrase--and I'm still laughing about his description of Australia as "Canada in a thong"--I'd highly recommend "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls".

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    09-20-13
    09-20-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Started out great....but fizzled"

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda UT 04-27-13
    Melinda UT 04-27-13 Member Since 2009

    So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

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    "He Not Talk So Pretty"

    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.

    70 of 100 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan 09-08-14
    Jonathan 09-08-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Meh.........."
    What was most disappointing about David Sedaris’s story?

    I had heard that David's books were hilarious and funny, but maybe I just don't understand his humor. The collection of essays was somewhat interesting at times but I wish I hadn't spent a credit on it. Maybe borrow it from a friend or local library.


    What does David Sedaris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The sections where he's reading to an audience are funnier than the studio recordings, maybe because that was when I could hear that I was supposed to be laughing.


    Was Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls worth the listening time?

    Not in my mind.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Name withheld because stalkers Google me and I find it annoying Orchard Park, NY United States 04-05-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Non-stop laughter"
    Would you listen to Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls again? Why?

    There aren't a lot of books I'd go back and listen to multiple times, but there are a few. There are definitely some stories in this one I would revisit and share with a friend or two.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls?

    I find it very difficult to choose just one, but the two stories that I liked the best were the one about Obama being elected and the Europeans thinking it would never happen because Americans are too racist and the one where he talks about traveling abroad and learning German from the language recordings. Oh... and the young father with the special t-shirt in the airport. Can't forget that.


    What about David Sedaris’s performance did you like?

    Not only is he a wonderful writer, but he is a very entertaining narrator. He tells the stories in an almost acerbic manner, but so humorously. The thoughts he describes going through his head are so much like what I think, and I'm sure anyone else who enjoys him. This is a man that I would absolutely love to encounter in an airport or coffee shop and spend some time bitching about other people.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I enjoy listening to books while I do my grocery shopping. I go alone, so I like to disappear into my head. I use a set of bluetooth headphones and you can't see them under my long hair. I was listening to one of his stories while shopping the other day and noticed that a lot of people kept smiling at me. Then I realized that they thought I was smiling at them because I just couldn't stop laughing at David. They either thought I was extremely friendly or completely mental. Either way, I enjoyed that shopping trip very much.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm very glad my friend suggested David Sedaris to me. I'd never heard of him, but I will be enjoying him from now on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 04-26-13
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 04-26-13 Member Since 2011

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

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    "Let's explore HOOTers with diabetics."

    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.

    34 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 04-24-13
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 04-24-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Gem Collection"

    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!

    30 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rebecca 09-14-14
    rebecca 09-14-14 Member Since 2014
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    "car tripping"
    If you could sum up Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls in three words, what would they be?

    Laugh Out Loud


    What about David Sedaris’s performance did you like?

    His reading is excellent! I love his voice!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh and kept me entertained on my four day car drive....


    Any additional comments?

    A must in your library!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Walnut Creek, CA, United States 09-14-14
    Sue Walnut Creek, CA, United States 09-14-14 Member Since 2013
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    "At his best when he talks about language"
    Would you listen to Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls again? Why?

    His chapters on the difficulties of living abroad and speaking another language are priceless.


    Would you recommend Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes, I have but with the caveat that they might want to skip the chapters on Sedaris' depressing family history.


    What about David Sedaris’s performance did you like?

    Usually I don't like authors who read their own work but Sedaris' wry voice adds to the hilarity.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The chapter on going to the dentist and the doctor in France was worth listening to many times.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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