Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Disappointing Sedaris? YES!


I LOVE David Sedaris, but alas, this post is not lovely. When we were shopping for the kids' Christmas presents recently, I happened upon a copy of Holidays on Ice on a buy one, get one free table and decided I would splurge. I've been on a pretty strict no-book-buying jag this year, and I've done very well. What better excuse to buy a book, right?
When I got this little puppy home, I started reading "SantaLand Diaries" and I was in love with it. Pure, aching, laugh til I want to puke, David Sedaris love. I loaned it to a student for a couple of weeks because she was doing a research paper on Sedaris, and when I got it back I finished the still-wonderful "SantaLand Diaries," and then I read....the rest.
Well, some of the rest.
This is not all Sedaris's funny haha essays we're all used to; there's also fiction intermingled with the essays. I just have to say, not such a fan of the fiction. It's funny, but it's not the essence o'Sedaris that I adore so much. In short, I skimmed the majority of the book and tossed it lackadaisically when I was done. Tossed, I say. Lackadaisically.
So it seems a lackluster book will finish off my reading for the year. I doubt I'll stuff another book under my ever-growing belt before the first day of 2010, and I can't say I'm terribly hurt to wave g'bye and farewell to 2009's reading.

21 comments:

  1. I know! I found Holidays on Ice to be majorly disappointing as well. And it's barely credible that it *could* be disappointing - shouldn't the holidays in the Sedaris house be even wonkier than the rest of the year? Sigh.

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  2. I hear you. LOVED SantaLand Diaries. I don't even *remember* the rest of the book.

    Lezlie

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  3. Colleen, shocking isn't it?? He should have the best holiday stories ever. And SantaLand was close, mind you. But not enough to fill up a book without lame fiction? I object.

    Lezlie, amen to that! lol I doubt I'll remember anything beyond SantaLand.

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  4. Sad! I've had this book for a couple years, always intending to read it at Christmas then promptly forgetting. Maybe next year :)

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  5. I guess I should be glad I didn't get this book in the end! I have never read Sedaris before and I want my first read by him to be a good one. :)

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  6. When I saw Sedaris a few months ago, he mentioned that he's working on a book of fiction. I can't remember if that's what's going to be published next or not. But, from what I remember, it's a collection of sort of fables, though not aimed at kids (I think). Anyway, he read one of them, and I wasn't crazy about it at all. I much prefer his essays.

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  7. Phew...thanks for the warning. I will skip this one!

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  8. Sorry this didn't work for you. I listened to it last year and enjoyed it. I've always listened to his books and I think his delivery really enhances his delivery.

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  9. Kim, I wish I'd forgotten with the exception of "The SantaLand Diaries."

    Kailana, definitely start with another of his collections. My personal faves are Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. When You are Engulfed in Flames was excellent, too, though a bit darker than his earlier books. I have Naked on my shelves to savor. I keep putting it off because I don't want to run out of his work! He's amazing on audio, too.

    Pilgrim, I know he had some fiction included in Barrel Fever as well. I wasn't aware of that at first, but it's one of the things I learned from the student who did the research paper. I'll probably be skipping the fiction entirely.

    My pleasure, Kathleen! lol

    Kathy, I love his audio offerings, too, and listening to this one might've enhanced my experience. His fiction was less charming in writing somehow, but if I'd been able to experience his quirky delivery it probably would've helped.

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  10. Whew! I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt that way.

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  11. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it. I found it to be a hilarious book. It may have helped that it was my first Sedaris and I read...or more accurately 'listened to' a bunch of the other stuff later. There were definitely some dark, grim stories here but as someone who loves Christmas I was able to enjoy the anti-Christmas feeling of some of these tales. It isn't one I could recommend to a lot of people though as it certainly has its bizarre moments.

    And someone also mentioned listening to it, which I did after I read it and all of his work is so much better when he is reading it. His delivery makes it all so much better.

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  12. We're twins, Chris. :)

    Carl, I expected to love it for that "twisted Christmas" feel. I'm tooootally that girl that loves those movies and books (National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Politically Correct Holiday Stories). Somehow it just didn't work for me, but I suspect I might've had an easier time if I'd listened.

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  13. Just like anything, it is a 'to each his/her own' thing. Some stuff just doesn't do it, and this is certainly a collection of stories that I can see eliciting a wide variety of response, probably more so than any of the other things of his I've listened to. I'd love to get an opportunity to hear him live sometime, I imagine it would be great fun.

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  14. I've never read any of his books, but maybe I won't start with this one?? Have a Very Happy New Year and hopefully much better reading experiences than this one! :)

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  15. Carl, I'd love to hear him live, too! A good friend of mine had tickets to one of his readings a couple of years ago, but something happened and she had to skip out or he cancelled--can't remember the circumstrances. She was extremely disappointed to say the least.

    Danielle, I would definitely recommend Me Talk Pretty One Day first. I've loved all his stuff, though, and don't think you can go wrong (except with this one). :)

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  16. I hope 2010 gets you back to rocking the reading Andi!

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  17. Oh say it isn't so!
    I love Sedaris but haven't read this one. I've heard some of the stories from this book on NPR but had not gotten around to reading all of it. Maybe because I've heard him read from it, it sounds better. He's just so fun to listen to.

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  18. Wow way to be ambitious! I am wholly against reading more than one at a time, but that's because I don't like switching. :) I think you should post pictures of your Nook as soon as you get it!
    Alayne
    The Crowded Leaf.

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  19. It was crazy right? A Sedaris that wasn't capable of inciting a riotous giggle overload!! I listened to the audio of this one and was surprised that it wasn't all that funny. But I guess they can't all be perfect.

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  20. Hmmm...I felt the same way. I'm not sure why though! The first time I came across Sedaris, I saw a one man play (not played by Sedaris) of the Santaland Diaries and I couldn't stop laughing. It was so good. Maybe because I'd read it before it wasn't AS funny...and then the rest of the book kinda fell flat for me. Hmm. Wasn't awful but wasn't what I was expecting. Hm.

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  21. As a fellow diehard Sedaris fan, I agree with your summation of this book. Santaland Diaries is frickin' hilarious, but it's all downhill from there. Now that I think about it, I can't remember if actually read all of it, either.

    I tried to read Barrel Fever a couple years ago and couldn't get into it - that's fiction as well. I guess I just love him when he's writing non-fiction.

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