Tag Archives: David Sedaris

David Sedaris Discusses New Book The Best of Me

Asking an interview subject about their pandemic isolation journey is dangerously close to passé. But for a David Sedaris interview, it’s a requirement: The essayist’s entire brand is built on nonstop international touring, his best material flowing from his travels and his frequent — and often off-color — interactions with his fans. (On his last tour, he drew portraits of readers naked from behind instead of signing their books.) Anyway, his quarantine story: He spent the first part in his apartment in New York before decamping to his North Carolina beach house — dubbed the Sea Section — and then, ultimately, to his homes in the U.K. (Sussex and London), where he’s passed his days maintaining his diary and obsessively checking his Fitbit.

Entertainment Weekly conducted this interview in early August, by late-night (for him) phone call — Sedaris has a strict no-Zoom policy. He paces back and forth in the office of his Sussex home, nearly crossing the 18-mile mark on his daily steps as the clock strikes midnight. Asked for a visual — he’s an infamous clotheshorse — his description goes beyond what could typically be seen in the waist-up frame of a screen: “It looks like I’m wearing a white skirt, but it’s a pair of shorts,” he says. “The legs are so wide, I look like one of those Greek soldiers.”

If it seems like Sedaris, 63, has a very cushy pandemic setup — this bucolic pic was shot at his London abode — he’s more than earned it. Punishing schedule aside, he’s been publishing best-selling books for more than a quarter-century (his first, Barrel Fever, debuted in 1994), and this fall he’s set to release his inaugural greatest-hits collection, The Best of Me. He wrote every day for 15 years before Fever was published (“Most of those days I thought, ‘Wow, I suck’ ”), so he doesn’t take this point in his career lightly. The Best of Me encompasses a wide swath of his past work, from early entries in The New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs section to fan-favorite essays like 2000’s “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (in which he recounts taking French-language classes from a merciless teacher) and 2016’s “The Perfect Fit” (about shopping for outrageous clothes in Tokyo).

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to pander to the masses: It’s better you hear it here first that “SantaLand Diaries,” about his stint as a Macy’s elf, is not included. “That might have been other people’s favorite, but it was never even in my top 100,” Sedaris says of the 1992 story that plays on NPR to this day. “It’s what most people know me from, but I’ve kind of moved on — I think the writing is so clunky, even if others don’t see it.”

The Best of Me required far less work than an original book, so the author is already looking to his next one: a second diary compilation (following 2017’s Theft byFinding), expected in late 2021. The pandemic is providing plenty of time to comb through journal entries, triggering as they may be. “In so many of [the entries] I was on tour,” he says. “So even the hotels I was complaining about, it’s like, God, I’d give anything to be back in that shitty hotel.” Much of what Sedaris records in his diary stems from the human contact we all took for granted before our age of quarantine. But he’s finding new ways to drum up material: Recent visits to the grocery store featured the sighting of a shopper without a shirt (or a mask) and a man who told him, “The funniest thing you ever said was that you gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton.”

And while Sedaris misses the collective laughter that a packed theater provides, he doesn’t miss it enough to get on an Instagram Live or join Twitter: “I just don’t want to live in that world,” he says. “I think it makes me a happy person that I’m not on social media.” It’s a stark contrast to many of today’s authors, who find it crucial to promote their books on every digital platform. But Sedaris sees himself as part of the last generation to have the luxury of getting famous without social media, and he credits his early start on This American Life, when the radio format limited criticism of his work, for his rise: “I feel fortunate to have come up in a time when people didn’t get the opportunity to see the cracks.”

A social media absence shouldn’t be confused for an immunity to public opinion — with every release, a self-imposed pressure to perform at his peak mounts. The Best of Me offers a bit of a reprieve, since everything but the introduction has already been published. “With a normal book, if it wasn’t number one on the New York Times best-seller list, I would berate myself,” he says. “I would still like for it to do well, but I don’t feel its success reflects on me personally.”

There’s no tour this time around, obviously, but Sedaris is getting back to another beloved activity from his old life: shopping. He counts high-end boutiques among his favorite places, and shopkeepers as his personal friends. The author has ventured out to London’s Dover Street Market — he’s a regular — and to Bloomingdale’s, where a fittingly bleak interaction presented itself. “The clerk said, ‘Welcome in,’ ” Sedaris recalls with good-humored disdain. “Civilization as we know it ends, but ‘Welcome in’ survives? I realized I should have been grateful everyday I didn’t have to hear that.” His readers will just have to hope he wrote the whole thing down.

For more from Entertainment Weekly’s Fall Books Special, you can find it on newsstands beginning Sept. 18. There will also be a special edition of the issue at Barnes & Noble stores beginning Sept. 25.

Reprinted from Entertainment Weekly.

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The Best of Me By David Sedaris

A lavish gift edition of David Sedaris’s best stories, spanning his spectacular bestselling career. Hand-picked by David himself, these are stories that will make you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time, from “the funniest man alive” (Time Out New York).

What could be a more tempting holiday gift than a compendium of David Sedaris’s best stories, selected by the author himself? From a spectacular career spanning almost three decades, these stories have become modern classics and are now for the first time collected in one volume.

The collection will also feature an introduction by the author; a never-before-collected story, “Unbuttoned”; and a new interview with David Sedaris.

Table of Contents

Glen’s Homophobia Newsletter Vol. 3, No. 2
Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol
Christmas Means Giving
The Incomplete Quad
You Can’t Kill the Rooster
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Jesus Shaves
Us and Them
Let It Snow
The Ship Shape
The Girl Next Door
Repeat After Me
Six to Eight Black Men
Possession
Nuit of the Living Dead
The Understudy
In the Waiting Room
Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle
Town and Country
The Cat and the Baboon
The Motherless Bear
The Faithful Setter
Dentists Without Borders
Think Differenter
Memory Laps
Loggerheads
If I Ruled the World
Easy, Tiger
Laugh, Kookaburra
A Guy Walks into a Bar Car
Standing By
Understanding Understanding Owls
Now We Are Five
A House Divided
The Perfect Fit
Leviathan
A Modest Proposal
Why Aren’t You Laughing?
The Spirit World
Unbuttoned

Available for pre-order HERE. The 400 page hardcover will be available on November 3, 2020.

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David Sedaris Inducted Into The American Academy of Arts and Letters

David Sedaris, is one of the new class of inductees into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

His membership safely confirmed, Sedaris joins an elite group which over the past century and a half has included Langston Hughes, Georgia O’Keeffe and John Updike. This year, the academy voted in 11 new members, among them the multimedia artist Meredith Monk, poet-playwright Claudia Rankine, poet-essayist Grace Schulman, author-essayist Ian Frazier, author-conservationist Terry Tempest Williams and violinist-composer Chen Yi.

Others include four Pulitzer Prize winners from a variety of fields: playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, fiction writer Edward P. Jones, historian Stacy Schiff and poet Natasha Trethewey.

An honor society founded in 1898, the academy has 240 core members, in the categories of books, music and art. New artists are voted in after previous ones die, with those dying over the past year including Philip Roth, Donald Hall and Ursula K. Le Guin.

New members will formally join in May, at a ceremony held at the academy’s complex in upper Manhattan, where composer David Del Tredici will give the keynote address. The academy will also hand out literary medals, and Rankine, Yi and Sedaris are among those who have been awarded in the past. Sedaris was honored last year with a Medal for Spoken Language.

David Sedaris is the bestselling author of the books Calypso, Theft By Finding, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, Naked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4.

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David Sedaris Announces New Book, Calypso

David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book.

If you’ve ever laughed your way through David Sedaris’s cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you’re getting with Calypso. You’d be wrong.

When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself.

With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny—it’s a book that can make you laugh ’til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.

This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris’s darkest and warmest book yet-and it just might be his very best.

The 288 page hardcover is due on May 29, 2018 and can be ordered HERE.

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David Sedaris Announces Book Tour To Promote Theft by Finding

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David Sedaris has announced a book tour for his latest work Theft by Finding. With Theft by Finding, readers are getting a chance to look behind the curtain of David Sedaris’ eccentric mind. The book is made up of excerpts from the diaries that have inspired his stranger than fiction essays over the years. The 23-stop tour will kick off in Brooklyn on May 30. On some stops, Sedaris will be joined by Ariel Levy, a writer for The New Yorker and author of the upcoming memoir The Rules Do Not Apply, out March 14. This is Sedaris’ latest work since 2013’s essay collection Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls.

Theft by Finding comes out May 30.

The tour dates are as follows:

Tuesday, May 30th – Brooklyn, NY – Powerhouse Arena (Launch Event)
Wednesday, May 31st – New York, NY – McNally Jackson
Friday, June 2nd – Toronto, Canada – Indigo Books (Bay Bloor)
Sunday, June 4th – Boston, MA – Harvard Bookstore
Monday, June 5th – Grand Rapids, MI – Schuler’s Books
Tuesday, June 6th – Chicago, IL (Naperville) – Anderson’s Bookstore (joined by Ariel Levy)
Wednesday, June 7th – Milwaukee, WI – Boswell’s Books
Thursday, June 8th – Louisville, KY – Carmichael’s Bookstore
Friday, June 9th – Nashville, TN – Parnassus Books
Saturday, June 10th – Atlanta, GA (Athens) – Avid Bookstore
Monday, June 12th –Homewood, AL – The Alabama Booksmith
Wednesday, June 14th – Tulsa, OK – Booksmart Tulsa at Magic City Books
Thursday, June 15th – Omaha, NE – The Bookworm of Omaha
Friday, June 16th – Kansas City, MO – Rainy Day Books
Saturday, June 17th – St. Paul, MN – Common Good Books (joined by Ariel Levy)
Monday, June 19th – Bozeman, MT – The Country Bookshelf
Tuesday, June 20th – Vancouver, BC – Indigo Books (Granville)
Wednesday, June 21st – Spokane, WA – Auntie’s Bookstore

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Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2016) By David Sedaris To Be Published On June 6, 2017

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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 readers 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.

The 368 page hardcover will be published on June 6, 2017.

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Read The Latest David Sedaris Short Story, A Modest Proposal

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The current issue of The New Yorker magazine has published David Sedaris’ latest short story, A Modest Proposal.

London is five hours ahead of Washington, D.C., except when it comes to gay marriage. In that case, it’s two years and five hours ahead,…

Read it HERE.

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Read David Sedaris’ New Essay, Company Man

David Sedaris has a new essay in the June 3, 2013 issue of the New Yorker magazine. You can read the essay, “Company Man” HERE.

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