A guy walks into a bar.
From here, the story could take many turns. A guy walks into a bar and meets the love of his life. A guy walks into a bar and finds no one else is there. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humour and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.
In Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy. The common thread? Sedaris masterfully turns each episode into a love story: how it feels to be in a relationship where one loves and is loved over many years, what it means to be part of a family, and how it's possible, through all of life's absurdities, to accept oneself.
©2013 David Sedaris (P)2013 Hachette Audio
"A humorist par excellence, Sedaris can make Woody Allen appear ham-tongued, Oscar Wilde a drag" (Observer)
"The world's finest comic writer" (Independent)
"David Sedaris is a man who could capture your heart and lift your spirits while reading out the ingredients of a rice cake" (Observer)
Moving further from work extended my daily commute... thank God for Audible.
I was totally unfamiliar with Sedaris’ back catalogue when I started this audiobook. From my subsequent research, it seems the author has a distinctive and predictable style; essentially a series of semi-related, extremely personal, based-on-a-true-story essays strung together like mismatching baubles on an eclectic necklace. And what a bizarre and conflicting little necklace this book turns out to be.
Some of the chapters are true jewels --- preciously hilarious, wonderfully observed and dryly told pieces of satire. This is especially true of the chapters recorded at live book-readings with an audience. But the worst chapters are rotten --- like sodden, red Froot Loops masquerading as rubies.
After the first chapter, I was a “David Sedaris Convert”. I was ready to purchase every book he’d ever written, and I’d already decided Diabetes was clearly going to be a five-star listen. Although he peaked way too early, there were some genuinely funny moments speckled throughout. But there was just too much self-involved, self-righteous, self-pity to keep me interested.
There are definite shades of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” here (a series I adore by the way). While Larry David knows how to flirt perfectly with controversy, I’m afraid I can’t say the same for David Sedaris. Maybe he’s the kind of “character” who grows on you --- in which case I humbly suggest first-timers like me start with some of his earlier works and progress to Diabetes.
Oh, and by the way. I’m Australian and “kookaburra” is pronounced with a “cook” (like the chef), not a “kook” (like the eccentric neighbor). A small thing, but…
I’ll end on one positive note. The narration by the author is fantastic. More than a few times, some very average jokes were elevated beyond their station by Sedaris’ dry and knowing delivery. For fans of the hardcopy version (yes, I do realize many people love this book), the audio version would be a sound investment.
This was my first Sedaris book and I will definitely read more as a result. Very entertaining.
"funny and often disturbing"
The title drew my attention. I thought what the heck and I'm glad I did. David Sedaris writes with alacrity and wit. Aside form baring his soul authentically, his use of mind grabbing metaphors and turns of phrase make his writing engaging and compelling.
A collection of mostly autobiographical stories about his experiences in a rather macabre taxidemists, diabetes or battling his demons with his father, Sedaris keeps you fully engaged form start to finish.
As always, David Sedaris is wonderfully entertaining and reads his work so effectively.
Some of the short essays have appeared in other anthologies of his work but it is well worth revisiting them.
"Enjoy spluttering in public and laughing out loud?"
The funniest collection of readings I have heard, ever.
David Sedaris is unique in his quirky and wry view of life. Unlike other semi-autobiographies where you are taken through the chronological order of a noteworthy or tragic life, David Sedaris' collection of essays allows you to light like a butterfly on the fleeting moments of significance in his, sometimes poignant but more often trivial, life. Instead of observing, we share his awkward and gauche acts, secretly believing that we are imperfectly wonderful too.
There are so many moments to enjoy. The need to clear out the junk of unwanted gift collections, "this is what happens when you tell someone you like something...nothing stems the tide of crap," is one we are all familiar with but perhaps not one with so many humorous outcomes as Sedaris' owl collection. The salacious taxidermist showing his collection of body parts is both shocking and fascinating at once and Sedaris simple dares to say what we all think - or at least hope we would on a really, really smart day.
If you think the trivia of someone's life, the minutia of their day, their thoughts and their relationships is not enough then Sedaris has even more. Writing in the voice of the mad in the way only Americans can be, the final selection of stories will have you crying with laughter. The homophobic mother whose gay son encourages her to wear a T-Shirt with initials he assures her stand for Another Savvy Senior Hopes Obama Loses Everything and the Dahl-like poem in homage to dogs will leave you desperate for more.
Luckily, there are lots more. Lots and lots more.
Laugh, think and love this life in all its infinite triviality.
"Good Stuff From Sedaris"
This is the latest collection of stories from David Sedaris, some of which appeared on the Radio 4 series "Meet David Sedaris" and as usual they are funny, charming and sometimes moving in places.
As usual his dad doesn't come out well in this collection and his poor family! but you can tell that despite the cutting comments about them there is genuine love between them all.
Being read by the author himself is the main selling point of this- I have read some of his books but it is hearing them in his voice that makes them so much better.
If you have never read/heard any David Sedaris before jump in here and I guarantee you will download more!
"An hilarious and intimate insights"
While I've not read the book, the audiobook allows Sedaris to convey truly, and with lacerating wit and candour, his fascinating history, views and stories.
Sadaris paints characters superbly, with several coming to life through his impressions but often just through his writing.
I've also listened to When You Are Engulfed In Flames, which is also good, but Diabetes with Owls is superior.
Lacerating wit, beautiful candour
"A great listen"
Having David Sedaris himself narrating in his witty tone is a real bonus. It's perfect for long car journeys or travelling with headphones. Chapters are self contained stories so perfect to dip in and out of while keeping a vague overall theme. I find myself going back to the stories I enjoyed most and registering to their perfectly formed prose and pinpoint delivery.
"I'm quite the fan of Mr. Sedaris"
This book has been out for a while, but I thought I'd review it just the same, even if I'm just adding another voice to the choir.
I thought his last book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, was a bit of a misstep, but with Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls David Sedaris is to back to form. Form, of course, being the wry comedic essays in which he excels above any other. If you enjoyed any of his other books, you'll like this one too. It's that simple. If you know about David Sedaris from listening to the BBC Radio 4 specials he did, you'll be sad to know that quite a few of the stories from those sessions are also included in this book. However, his stories and his performance deserves at least a second listen, if not a third or even a fourth and fifth, so don't let that put you off.
If you enjoy David Sedaris, you might also like David Rakoff and the CBS radioprogram Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein.
"Not his best but still very enjoyable"
Wonderfully gently amusing
David as I find him easy to relate to
All of them
No as I use audio books to fight insomnia
He has a lovely soothing relaxing voice..wonderful to get to sleep to until the chapter changes and its a louder live reading or the music in between chapters wakes you up...but it was not designed as an insomnia aid so I have forgiven him lol :-)
Performance: 1 star off for the odd music in between sketches - sorry, David, if this was your personal choice. Otherwise excellent observation and delivery - as always.
"Self-congratulatory, dull, waffle….."
I’ll admit, once I’d recovered from the initial tedium of his voice the first couple of stories weren’t that bad…… but then it just goes on and on and on and on. I gave up after an hour (yes, I think it was an hour) of Sedaris imagining himself as a white conservative on a gun crime mission due to hearing that gay marriage was legal, which was about as funny as errrr… a white conservative on a gun crime mission due to hearing that gay marriage was legal.
If you want an audiobook equivalent to being stuck on a 7 hour flight next to an aging, bleating, lamenting, smug American who thinks he has a ticket to talk to you because he understands anti Americanism and is desperate to tell you about his ‘hilarious’ life… buy this audiobook, but be advised, you may be tempted to strangle yourself with your headphones in an attempt to end the journey.
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