David Sedaris - Last of the literary rock stars?

Categories: Books
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David Sedaris is a force. And by force I mean a quiet, semi-quivering voice that spread out to the land over the airwaves of NPR. It happened in1992, when he read his essay, “Santaland Diaries” on Morning Edition. He was an instant delight. Since that little essay he’s risen to the level of literary rock star. And while some view this as a dying breed...

...and talk of the 60s as the zenith of literary rock stars -- Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote and Tom Wolf (still kicking) – they will admit that Sedaris is most of time, universally loved. I mean… no one went James Frey on his ass even after he admitted to “Twain-ing” some of his stories.

So, in honor of Sedaris’ reading at the University of Minensota Bookstore tonight we present a modest guide to prepare you for the force of Crumpet the Christmas Elf.

Notes upon entry: Sedaris reads have a track record of selling out. Get there early for good seats. Also, Sedaris tends to sit out front to autograph his books prior to the readings. After getting his signature it’s fun to watch from a distance as other fans make their way inside the building and do double takes at the small man. Their necks twist around fast and then they double check their book jackets to make sure it’s him. And if you haven’t registered to vote, don’t worry. Sedaris usually asks that his venues provide voter registration opportunities at most all his events. The gay-elf does his American duty.

Don’t do this: Take his picture. Sedaris is a shy man, slender build. He quivers when he talks. His hands shake. While being a pro on the lecture circuit, he looks frightened on the stage. Clicking a photo of him while he reads is like firing off an air gun before Tiger Woods hits a tee shot. Don’t do it. It throws off his impeccable timing and deadpanned delivery style.

Watch for: His pen. Sedaris often reads unpublished material. He uses his pen to edit the stories as he reads them, making notes to see which punch lines work and which ones bomb. So in addition to a rock star, he’s a multi-tasker.

Question to ask him: Which presidential candidate and or presidential spouse would you most like to go shopping with? The man loves to shop. That’s why he fell for the Japanese and their devotion to retail therapy. And we’re curious to see his answer. Top bets are on Michele Obama.


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