Theft by finding : diaries (1977-2002) / David Sedaris.

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  • Additional Information
    • Edition:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: David Sedaris has kept a diary for forty years, recording everything that has captured his attention -- overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences. Now Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is an account of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet. Most diaries -- even the diaries of great writers -- are impossibly dull, because they are generally about the authors' emotions, or their dreams, or their interior life. Sedaris's diaries are unique because they face outward. He doesn't tell us his feelings about the world; he shows us the world instead, and in so doing he shows us something deeper about himself. Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can't fully disguise, Theft by Finding is a potent reminder that there's no such thing as a boring day. When you're perceptive and curious, adventure waits around every corner.
    • Other Titles:
      Diaries. Selections
    • ISBN:
      9780316154727
      0316154725
      9780316552462
      0316552461
      9780316556651
      0316556653
      9780316508209
      0316508209
    • LCCN:
      2016959026
    • OCLC:
      ocn960279299
      960279299
    • Accession Number:
      fay.531682

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2017 March #2

*Starred Review* Sedaris' diaries are the wellspring for his cuttingly funny autobiographical essays, and he now presents a mesmerizing volume of deftly edited passages documenting 35 years of weird, disturbing, and hilarious experiences. Theft by Finding, Sedaris' latest riddling title, following Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (2013), is a sly allusion to his artistic method: he is a champion eavesdropper and omnivorous observer, and this selective diary is basically a set of meticulous field notes cataloging atrocious human behavior. In 1977, college-dropout Sedaris is hitchhiking out West, picking fruit for pitiful wages, and getting high. He returns to Raleigh, his hometown, where he works odd jobs, makes art, and matter-of-factly records a litany of alarming encounters with enraged strangers, a theme that continues after he moves to Chicago, attends art school, and begins writing in earnest, and then in New York, where he ascends. People throw rocks and bottles at him, insult and threaten him, demand money and cigarettes. He records a constant barrage of racist, sexist, and anti-gay outbursts, and portrays an array of hustlers, eccentrics, bullies, and misfits. Sedaris is caustically witty about his bad habits and artistic floundering. Even when he cleans up his act, falls in love, and achieves raving success, Sedaris remains self-deprecating and focused on the bizarre and the disquieting. A candid, socially incisive, and sharply amusing chronicle of the evolution of an arresting comedic artist. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Devotees of mega-best-selling Sedaris have been waiting for access to his diary, and a robust marketing plan will get the word out fast. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2017 April #2

For decades, Sedaris has engaged readers with artfully constructed essays of his and his family's experiences. His diaries have served as source material for those pieces, and this collection of selected diary entries provides new stories, vulgar jokes, and social commentary that have not previously appeared in his writing. While his essays are crafted to present a particular persona and possess a wry tone, reading the same situation in the diaries fills in the edges and makes Sedaris (and his family) more fully rounded people as we see the trajectory of their lives unfold over time. Of particular interest are details of his collaborations with his sister Amy. Here Sedaris is still a keen observer of the world, but he's also a man who must get to work, navigate sexual relationships, and consider the price of chicken. VERDICT For Sedaris fans, this is a primary source not to miss, but even the more casual reader will be drawn in, as the author comes into his own as a writer and a person.—Margaret Heller, Loyola Univ. Chicago Libs.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2017 March #2

This American Life and New Yorker humorist Sedaris (Naked) displays the raw material for his celebrated essays with these scintillating excerpts from his personal journals. Sedaris collects entries stretching back to his penniless salad days working odd jobs (apple picker, construction worker, house cleaner, a now-famous stint as a Christmas elf), hanging out at the International House of Pancakes and wrestling half-heartedly with drink and drugs. He moves on to his breakthrough as a memoirist and playwright and then to later embroilments and obsessions, including a fixation on feeding flies to pet spiders. Here as elsewhere, Sedaris is a latter-day Charlie Chaplin: droll, put-upon but not innocent, and besieged by all sorts of obstreperous or menacing folks. The frequent appearance of colorful weirdos spouting pithy dialogue may strike some readers as unlikely to be entirely true. But Sedaris's storytelling, even in diary jottings, is so consistently well-crafted and hilarious that few will care whether it's embroidered. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.