Friday, December 22, 2017

Best of 2017: Diaries

Here is Laura M., reference librarian,
with a "best of '17" book:

My favorite book of the year was one I initially had no interest in reading: Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002), by David Sedaris. I love David Sedaris, but when I heard he was publishing his diaries, I wondered if there was any part of his life I didn’t already know about from reading his personal essays. How wrong I was! If you are familiar with Sedaris from his collections of essays such as Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day, then you know him from when he was already making a living as a writer. Theft by Finding chronicles his life from the years struggling to make a living to the early years of his success.

The book was funny of course--almost anything that happens in IHOP, where he eats every night for years, is hilarious. But I also found his diaries more touching than his essays. He often writes about his money problems, like in this entry:

January 13, 1978, Chapel Hill:

  1. I’m cold.
  2. I’m bored.
  3. I spilled a full glass of ginger ale on the floor and have nothing to clean it up with.
  4. I went to the grocery store and spent $5.37 on total crap.
  5. I made beans and franks on my hot plate and it was just a mushy mess.
  6. I want to be in school.
  7. My radio is suffering from me falling asleep on it.

Beside the dire financial situations in which he often finds himself, there is also a struggle with drugs and alcohol that you also wouldn’t have guessed at by reading his essays. I really appreciated getting to know both sides of Sedaris. He is a sharp observer, and I enjoyed looking at the world through his eyes for awhile.

Editor's note: We own this as an audio book (narrated by the author), for those who prefer to listen. Also, in addition to the two books of essays mentioned here, we also own seven other collections by Sedaris.

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