David Sedaris: Serious About Book Recommendations

For many of his fans, seeing and hearing David Sedaris read from his latest collection of essays is as anticipated an event as the release of the book itself. Sedaris’ inimitable voice, matter-of-fact delivery, and sidesplitting commentaries make his appearances seem more like uniquely sophisticated comedy shows than book readings by a writer whose audiences are made up of This American Life listeners and The New York Times subscribers.

So entertaining is Sedaris reading his own work that I recommend the audiobook formats of his essay collections as much as the print versions. Somewhere, I have Naked and Barrel Fever on cassette, which isn’t that crazy given that my car’s stereo can play that format.

I learned from a recent broadcast of Fresh Air with Terry Gross that Sedaris had released a new book,  Let’s Explore Diabetes with OwlsAnd then I saw Sedaris on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which prompted me to look into where I might see him read from his latest collection of essays.

That got me thinking about the last time I saw Sedaris, at The Bushnell in Hartford. While that occasion was a number of years ago, I remember leaving the theater not just with ribs sore from hysterical laughter but with an appreciation for how much Sedaris cares about the written word.

At the end of his appearance, Sedaris recommended a book by a much-lesser-known author, whose name and book I can’t remember. Apparently, Sedaris has made a habit of recommending other writers’ work, which is a wonderful gesture given that many of his fans are likely to buy the recommended titles at his suggestion.

As much as he’s enthusiastically celebrated for his writing and public reading, Sedaris deserves a round of applause for introducing audiences to the work of other authors.

David Sedaris is scheduled to appear at the Shubert Theater in New Haven on October 21.

— David Brensilver

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