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Publisher's Summary

One of the most anticipated books of 2017: New York Times Book Review, New York's Vulture, Bustle, and BookRiot.

From best-selling author David Sedaris, for the first time in print: selections from the diaries that are the source of his remarkable autobiographical essays.

For nearly four decades, David Sedaris has faithfully kept a diary in which he records his thoughts and observations on the odd and funny events he witnesses. Anyone who has attended a live Sedaris event knows that his diary readings are often among the most joyful parts of the evening. But never before have they been available in print. Now, in Theft by Finding, Sedaris brings us his favorite entries. From deeply poignant to laugh-out-loud funny, these selections reveal with new intimacy a man longtime fans only think they know. Tender, hilarious, illuminating, and endlessly captivating, Theft by Finding offers a rare look into the mind of one of our generation's greatest comic geniuses.

©2017 David Sedaris (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Only David Sedaris should narrate books by David Sedaris. He's simply wonderful.... With his inimitable sweetly sarcastic delivery, he precisely records encounters with anti-gay thugs and gay perverts and recounts examples of the ignorant sexist, racist, and vicious comments he experiences. Everyone who listens to these diary entries, beginning in 1977 and going through 2002, will be satisfied, but waiting eagerly for more, narrated by Sedaris, of course." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A softer, sweeter Sedaris

Having grown up with super snarky David Sedaris, this is a much gentler version of the guy we love so much. I guess because it's David as a person rather than David as a writer, everything seems to have a smoother edge. Yes, the funny is still there, but the tender and sadder part of him is just more so knowing that he lived through all of this and came out on the other side as a sophisticated artist born from a picked-upon kid. It's fascinating to see how he records the racism (they ASSUME he's a racist) homophobia (they KNOW he's one) and anti-semitism (they aren't sure IF he's one) that is overt and part of his day to day life.


Now, don't get me wrong, he still often doesn't take prisoners, but knowing that comes from some real poverty, drug fueled concerns, and a desperate need to finally grow up makes following this time of his life often uncomfortable but ultimately deeply satisfying. And, as always, listening to him deliver this is just perfect. Can hardly wait for 2003 to whenever.

59 of 63 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

It gets better

Roughly the second half of the diaries is when this goes from good to great: we meet more of the characters and experiences we have become familiar with, in new settings, or with expanded stories. His description of feeding his spiders is particularly funny, as are the stories around his book tours and signings. His experience of 9/11 is also very moving.

Sedaris references his drug-taking years in his prologue and even with his edits, the period before his move to Chicago and particularly New York does move at a slow pace. It has many interesting moments, but you find yourself wanting him to stop wasting his life and get on with it. While he is to be commended for his candour I found many of these parts to be unusually unengaging and he is not always a terribly sympathetic figure. Thankfully for his many fans, he did.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Don't hate me but...

I love David Sedaris so much that criticizing him is tantamount to sacrilege for me but I was not that entertained by this book. I did have a chuckle or two in the latter part of the book but for me it didn't get remotely interesting until about chapter 25. Hearing so many mundane diary entries about things like the price of chicken per pound on sale that day were mind-numbing. I'm still a die-hard Sedaris fan and will undoubtedly by every book he writes for the rest of his life but this one was just a bit off the mark in my opinion.

79 of 88 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Long time fan...huge disappointment

I've been reading and listening to Sedaris for about a decade. Loved every minute of everything he has written and read....until now. He gives you fair warning that this book is a collection incoherent ramblings. I thought he was being modest and there'd be some redeeming qualities. I was wrong. I spent hours at a time wondering why in the hell I was still listening to this dribble. Loyalty is the only answer I could come up with. It's what got me through this collection of garbage diary entries and what will undoubtedly get me to buy the next book. Here's for hopes for the better..... and grab a drink for the worst.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Boring and repetitive

I am a big fan of all of his previous work, especially in audiobook form. I've gone to see him live twice in different cities. I highly recommend his performances.

However, great artists often lose their touch once they get their lives in order. I think this might be the case with Mr. Sedaris. My opinion is that he owed his publisher a book and he had nothing to say so he mined his old diaries for material. The entries are dull and mostly not interesting. Those that are interesting are repeating events discussed in his previous works.

If this book had been by an unknown author, it would not sell or even been published. I feel that this book is an example of a once great artist resting on his laurels. Mr. Sedaris has a good life now. I am most happy to hear that. But, if all he can produce now is drivel like this, I think he should just sit back and have a long and enjoyable retirement.

53 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Disarming. Delicious. Delightful!

Not at all your regular Sedaris fare. When I first started to listen I really did not like this new book at all. I only stuck with it because I am a true and loyal fan. However I am so glad that I stuck with it.

I had to remind myself that David Sedaris writes with so much honesty. Truth is not always funny or pretty is it? However through life's trials and tribulations comes experience which gives us a better perspective and if we are wise that should make us more well rounded human beings capable of greater things.

You can experience this in Sedaris's Diaries. I really feel that through the pain and joy we see him grow through the years.For extra fun for us, the listener some days have identifiers. For example David will mention an event that happened that day such as "Lady Diana died tonight". Really takes you back.

The more you listen, the greater the joy. Subsequently that is why I gave him Five Stars all the way.

Superb work Mr. Sedaris. Thanks you for sharing this journey with us. Cant wait for the next diaries to be released.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

This book! These stories are so honest and the perfectly timed narration by David Sedaris. This collection is like watching the young voice develop and struggle into the person none of us can get enough of. This book is him at his very best and it just keeps getting better and better!

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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This is Sedaris' worst book yet

Would you try another book from David Sedaris and/or David Sedaris?

I love David Sedaris and grew up reading all of his books savoring them and laughing out loud as I read them. This book, however, was literally him reading diary entries that were often mundane and not at all funny or interesting or following some type of storyline. I guess I should have expected that considering the title but I loved his other books so much I expected more. I found myself so bored I could only get through the first three chapters.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Couldn't even finish it

This book is HORRIBLE. I couldn't even make it into the 1990s and I had to stop listening. I have only quit one other boom in my life. This makes number two. I could care less how much chicken cost in NYC in the 90s!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Worth my time

I usually rail against authors who perform their own books but I didn't mind Sedaris though he drones on, too. He looks at life from a different perspective than I, as if I were tall and he was an 8 pound Maltese walking beside me or vice versa. For sure, we don't see and marvel upon the same things. But I pretty much enjoyed his odd-to-me take on mundane life and I jotted down a number of his suitable-for adolescent boys jokes in order to share them with my friends. None of us is an adolescent boy but we laughed ourselves silly. Have you ever seen an ant-eater? No. What about your uncle?

6 of 7 people found this review helpful