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
Audiobook- read by David Sedaris
Overall I really liked listening to David read his diaries.
I liked it a lot...but it grew on me. I only listened to about 1 or 2 hours of it a day. It was 13+ hours long in length. I would have gone crazy listening ‘or’ reading this type of book without breaks.
There ‘is’ a tedious feeling when David reads a date of a diary entry - followed by another date/location and paragraph type diary entry...on and on and ON!
Some of it didn’t feel any more personal than calling off names at a High School graduation,
but after awhile - something happens.
And we feel EMOTIONS.
Then I remembered:
David gave a clear warning at the start of what this book was anyway. He almost didn’t publish it. It’s from years ago. 1977-2002 just as the title says.
I doubt if this were a first book, that any major publishing company would have touched it.
But..., given who David is, that changes things.
I experienced another side of David.....,
tender, sweet, soft spoken, and he ‘felt’ years younger & vulnerable.
There was much sadness - especially the first half.
His funny bone shines brighter in the second half.
David shares about poverty - sex - racism - drugs - ( he really paints a vivid picture of the 70’s), religion - a moving experience with 911-and lots daily random things from his life.
When people say the expression “that guy could read the phone book and make it interesting”...
well, somebody must have been thinking about David Sedaris.
I ended up enjoying my time listening to David’s tedious dairy entries - his dry wit - and his child like being in the world.
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.
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.
David Sedaris is so authentically David Sedaris. This first collection of his diaries reveal him as everything you'd expect, and want, him to be, and reading it only made me love him more. The feeling of being in the backseat (or perched on the handlebars of his bike, perhaps) as he struggles through his early years is both incredibly reassuring and, of course, hilarious. There is so much fantastic observational humor in this: Sedaris spends loads of time just sitting in various IHOPs and writing down what people say and do. His eye (ear?) for detail is superb. And his own wonderful personality shines through at every turn.
Most mind-blowing moment (which I am spoiler-tagging only because I got so much pleasure out of being surprised by it, not because I actually think you can spoil history/reality): [spoilers removed]
I think this is my first Goodreads review of a Sedaris book, but I've been a fan for a good while before that. My first exposure to Sedaris was with the excellent When You Are Engulfed in Flames audiobook. With his black humour, wry observations, humanist stories, and morality that never feels cheesy, Sedaris had me hooked. So I was pretty excited when I saw there was not one, but TWO new Sedaris books dropping this year.
A bit of a disclaimer that should have been evident to me from the book's cover. This is not a series of essays that follow any arc, nor are they stories, Theft By Finding is a collection of diary entries. Some days are quick snippets, the earlier stories are rougher, and the later entries hew more towards the Sedaris I first met. We follow Sedaris as a young adult dabbling in every drug imaginable, we see him meet many people who would become instrumental in his life, and we see the nuggets that would eventually become his well-known stories.
If you're like me, then you'll find a lot of common ground with Sedaris. His professional people watching and documentation of his ludicrous encounters is always spot on. He brings up situations in which I've found myself and has thoughts I've had too. It's always nice to know there's other humans with whom you share some cognition. With an eye for the absurd and a knack for making me laugh, I'm just about guaranteed an enjoyable venture with Sedaris.
This would never be my recommendation to a Sedaris newbie--When You Are Engulfed In Flames is my suggestion!--but it still ends up being a pretty enjoyable listen. It functions extremely well as something to put on during the commute, dishes, and was a steadfast companion for my fiancé and I during a recent move. It is the audiobook equivalent of the book that's easy to pick up and put down. So, if you know you like Sedaris, I'd recommend it highly!
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.