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Theft by Finding

Diaries: Volume One
Narrated by: David Sedaris
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
4 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

'He's like an American Alan Bennett, in that his own fastidiousness becomes the joke, as per the taxi encounter, or his diary entry about waiting interminably in a coffee-bar queue.' (Brian Logan, Guardian review of An Evening with David Sedaris)

The point is to find out who you are and to be true to that person. Because so often you can't. Won't people turn away if they know the real me? you wonder. The me that hates my own child, that put my perfectly healthy dog to sleep? The me who thinks, deep down, that maybe The Wire was overrated?

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 or audio.

Now, in Theft by Finding, Sedaris brings us his favourite entries. From the family home in Raleigh, North Carolina, we follow Sedaris as he sets out to make his way in the world. As an art student and then a teacher in Chicago, he works at a succession of very odd jobs, meeting even odder people, before moving to New York to pursue a career as a writer - where instead he very quickly lands a job in Macy's department store as an elf in Santaland....

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

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Profile Image for Colin
  • Colin
  • 03-15-18

Not what you might be expecting...

I am a great fan of David Sedaris’ work, both the written and the performances, in which he shows an uncanny eye for finding the ridiculous and absurd in everyday people and events. Listen to any of his books, and you will find yourself smiling, a lot.

Not so with this title in which, through his personal diaries, Sedaris draws a picture of an America far darker and more dangerous than Hollywood ever let on, populated by bigoted and ignorant people who’s only thought is ‘What’s in this for me?’

David is in his 20s, and has relocated from the family home in North Carolina to the big, bad city of Chicago. Financial pressures mean he has to consider every penny when scouting for a rental apartment, and thus he ends up living in a very run-down and dirty part of town. He learns early on that if you want the cops to come to your aid you need to use the word ‘Gun’ when you call them, otherwise they just ain’t coming.

A typical day for Sedaris starts with the physical and verbal abuse he experiences from passing cars or strangers on the street pretty much every time he steps outside, followed by witnessing repeated abuse toward waiters in his favourite diner, then having his possessions snatched from him by vagrants as he walks along. This is then compounded by the dark, awful stories of abuse, addiction and squalor he hears from random people he encounters. A nation of helpless, hopeless people who have given up, and now spend their days with only one aim, to get as high as possible at someone else’s expense. People with nothing, who have nothing to lose…

The writing, and Sedaris’ delivery, is as brilliant as ever, even though I do find I take a deep breath every time I take off my headphones, just to clean the dirt out of my system.

A very different listening experience…

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz Scully
  • 11-28-17

Big fan Sedaris fan but this is just dull

There's ten years of diaries here and they become boring fairly quickly. It's a long audio book and there's none of the lightness of story of his other work. In fact as they're diaries, there's no story at all.

this is very much simply the inside of his head without much humour. As he's depressed, broke and a heavy drug user for all the parts I listened to, it's also fairly depressing

There is an interest in seeing what interests him - what he remembers and comments on. You can see how those themes come out in his more structured work.

But as his other books areso autobiographical anyway, i found this repetitive and dull. I tried really hard but i could only get through a few hours before wanting to throw it out the window. if you're looking for story any of his other works are superb.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-07-17

I'm a big fan but this one is boring

I'm a massive fan of David Sedaris and I listen to his other books again and again. However this one is just an endless list of observations and events in chronological order. None of the great storytelling that he is known for.
Also, because it is chronological, it lingers forever in his early years of addiction, poverty and hopelessness. I don't know if I'll make it past chapter one!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbara Murray
  • 11-15-17

How can you not love David Sedaris??

I love David Sedaris so I enjoyed this book immensely. Very funny and excellent narration as usual by David. Would highly recommend

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Milena Bregnhøj
  • 07-25-17

Brilliant

Loved it - funny, weird and pensive all at once. David Sedaris is one of my all time favorite storytellers

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jorgen
  • 06-06-17

Different in every way

No real storyline, but small snaps from diaries
so you need to know all his previous books. Not funny but maybe interessant for some people.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • mrs clare m martin
  • 06-11-19

Wonderful

wonderfully honest delicious diaries . Will listen to this again. I delight and an honour to listen his diaries

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-27-19

brilliant as always

nothing like his other books, as it is literally his diaries, however it is interesting to see the basis of his stories in his diary entries.

well worth a listen

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  • Maverick
  • 03-30-19

Amusing anecdotes though faintly irritating...

The truth is, you have to be 'in the mood' for Sedaris; sometimes whimsical, sometimes mildly amusing; occasionally slightly dark and bereft of humour and frequently irritating - it has taken me 6 months to listen to this in bite size pieces. That is an advantage in that you can pick it up and put it down without penalty or any need to scroll back as the narrative really just rambles on. Sedaris's reading is actually very pleasant and welcome but again can become something of a whinging irritation. Worth a credit but certainly not worth 'real money.' His half hour radio shows on the BBC are just the right-bite sized and do seem to have s start and an end where as this book just.... ends.... seemingly mid-flow; as if the publisher just said 'right time's-up just give us what you've done.' A little bizarre I guess....

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  • "mdtnash"
  • 03-05-19

like listening to a friend...

As the years (in the book) went by my enjoyment grew. Having come across David ten years ago on Radio 4, he's been a reliable source of amusement and insight through a tough period.

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  • Giulia
  • 06-18-17

Sedaris delights again with his latest book!

If you love David Sedaris you'll love this book, if you've never encountered him, this is a great entree to his work. The diaries give you a great insight into David and his hilarious way of encountering the world. I absolutely adored this book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • borneveryminute
  • 06-26-17

sedaris goes deep

david sedaris remembers with some trepidation his early years as a diarist. it makes his transformation into the brilliant literate and humorous writer of today all the more amazing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sophia Cosmas
  • 08-24-17

Every day is better with Sedaris

These snippets of Sedaris are variously hilarious, heart wrenching, tender, silly, frustrating and always, ALWAYS the bare bones truth of it. Every day is better with this level of honesty. David Sedaris is a treasure: a man unafraid of himself or the truth as he sees it. I could take a bath in his writings were it possible.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicky Webber
  • 03-15-18

Interesting View of Sedaris's World

An eclectic mix of an eccentric view of day to day life. Challenges contemporary values and behaviours. Entertaining & often amusing Sedaris captures the madness, mayhem and double standards of humanity.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Glenn price
  • 11-22-18

Honest review

Was recommended this book in a book club. It was one of the most boring books I've listened to. Got up to chapter 11 and couldn't finish it.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful