Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002by David Sedaris Published 30 May 2017
|Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002.pdf|
|Publisher||Little, Brown and Company|
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David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.
For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest 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 the story 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.
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 proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It's a potent reminder that when you're as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there's no such thing as a boring day.
"Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002" Reviews
Every year it seems in any undergrad English class, the works of David Sedaris pop up as expected reading material. I did like the basic concept of this book, but the humor to me seemed very vulgar and not particularly funny, and the stories themselves were wallowing in the depravity of the worst life has to offer, going nowhere and presenting stuff that was either totally pointless or just weird. Maybe it's just my sense of taste, but to me a pornographic magazine story about a [spoilers removed] just isn't funny, nor is describing random objects in the most obvious ways.
I also found that Sedaris's diary entries didn't feel altogether genuine. They were pretentious and sounded too rehearsed to have come from any real informal journal or diary at all, and I kept wondering how much of it was real, and how much of it was later tailored or fixed. With its large size it's also a hassle to read. I love big books when they have something substantial and powerful to offer, but Theft by Finding was just a collection of ramblings about nothing notable in particular.
I am a die-hard David Sedaris fan. I’ve read all of his books, and I want to keep it that way. So when I heard last month that he had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it ASAP. Lucky for me, Book of the Month club offered it as an add on. I snapped it up right away, hit ship immediately, and watched for my box. Theft by Finding had me laughing out loud. Since it’s an edited down version of Sedaris’s diary from 1977 to 2002, it revisits many of the antics and obsessions is readers will be familiar with. What makes Theft by Finding different is its slice of life quality. I got to follow my favorite funny weirdo through his day-to-day, and I couldn’t get enough. I’m in for another installment. Gimme 2003 to 2017!
— Rebecca Renner
from The Best Books We Read In June 2017: https://bookriot.com/2017/07/03/riot-...
I don't listen to NPR, and I'm not a huge David Sedaris follower. I have read 3 of his books after this one, and seen him live once - so I do know his stuff pretty well.
Theft by Finding is classic Sedaris form, wry, witty, fully of oneliners and based on his extraordinary powers of observation. It deals with the mundane for the most part, but makes that mundane interesting with remarkable stylistic affect and a fantastic sense of voice.
Especially if you listen to this one, you will notice how Mr. Sedaris has a great talent for voices, spoken and written. His impressions are on point, whether it is southern drawl, russian spy, bronx born native, or jewish grandmother. He really does have a voice for radio, and I was astounded that he even remembered the precise tone of voice and accents in this book - given that it is simply a collection of his diaries from the past 20 some odd years.
As for cons, the book gets a little too mundane at points and definitely ventures into familiar Sedaris territory. If you have read his previous works you may see some repetition in content here, but delivered differently.
It's also interesting to observe his transition from feeble and down-on-his-luck meth head to relatively self-obsessed member of the literati. The beginning of the book as such is more interesting than the end, as I imagine the comforts afforded by his success have made juicy anecdotes harder to come by.
A MUST-READ for Sedaris fans. This sort of feels like a behind the scenes look at David's life. It's truly admirable that he's been keeping a journal all these years and explains how he writes his fabulous, funny stories. Not to mention he's honest, observant, kind, and a humble guy.
What is is about David Sedaris' books that appeal to me so much?
* Is it that they are, like Seinfeld, about nothing?
*Does he remind me of George Carlin without the dirty words?
* Is it the stream of consciousness style?
* Is it his sense of the ridiculous?
*Is it all of these or none of the above?
Whatever the answer, the books provide whimsy, sadness, chuckles, and outright laughter and this large diary covers his years between 1977 when he was broke and cleaning houses for a living through 2002 when he had become a best selling author/ playwright and had found his life partner, Hugh. But of course, there is no plot as Sedaris jotted down his thoughts, no matter how trivial, and gives the reader a sense of his life which was to say the least, interesting.
It is hard to review a Sedaris book.....you either love it or shrug your shoulders and wonder what it is all about. Do I need to say that I did not shrug my shoulders????? Recommended with one caveat........don't start reading Sedaris with this book. It takes some familiarity with his style and his life to fully appreciate it. You might want to read Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls initially.
It's a free country. Anybody can write about any old thing they want in their diary, of course. But it is beyond me why in this highly selective published version of his Sedaris would choose to include so many—dozens and dozens of—entries that record in great othering detail his observations of disabled and mentally ill strangers. I have long had a complicated relationship with his writings; now I'm turned off of him probably for good.