David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother’s wedding. He mops his sister’s floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn’t it? In his newest collection of essays, David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives — a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.
I’m a big David Sedaris fan– so much so that I trekked all the way across the city on a bus just to meet him back in Albuquerque– and so everything he writes is automatically my favorite thing ever. He also does excellent audiobooks! Some authors can read their stories out loud in such a way that they’re actually better as audiobooks than as text books; they’re funnier, more entertaining, better in basically every other way you could think of. David Sedaris and his books are, I think, infinitely more enjoyable in person/as an audiobook.1
Anyway! Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is, of course, brilliantly hilarious. David Sedaris’ stories are always funny, sometimes depressing, and occassionally disgustingly embarrassing. There was only one of the latter kind of stories in this collection, which was so bad it made me skip to the next chapter.2 Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim was especially interesting because it was focused way more on his siblings than the other books of his I’ve read.3 I knew he had sisters but I didn’t know he had a younger brother, for some reason. And I didn’t remember anything about Tiffany from previous books, so it was cool getting to know her more (via her older brother who she doesn’t like, true).
My favorite story in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, though, was actually the last one, “Nuit of the Living Dead.” It’s set in France at one of DS’s houses, and it’s exactly the sort of story that made me a David Sedaris fan in the first place. I like offbeat humor, and a story about DS trying to drown a mouse at 2am while a van full of tourists in tracksuits asks him for directions is about as offbeat as you can get.
DS is an excellent narrator, like I said, but a nifty thing about this audiobook was that two of the stories are recordings of DS reading them at an event. His public reading voice and his audiobook reading voice are slightly different; in public readings he’s more lively, I think, while in audiobooks you can kind of tell he’s been reading for hours. Both types of reading have their benefits, but I think for the long haul I’d rather listen to his audiobook voice– if only so I don’t have to listen to people laughing in the background.
Read: May 29-30, 2012
Trufact: I haven’t actually finished reading that book I got signed way back in 2008. Terrible, but true. Maybe I’ll finally finish it this year, who knows.
Also: covers. This one has a naked Barbie doll on it and the title is about clothes. Naked has boxers on it and the title is, well, NOT about clothes. What’s going on here?
- And comforting, too! I actually listened to two or three DS audiobooks my first year in college, during the bus rides to and from school. They made me laugh and feel good about things, and I honestly think they helped me get through that first semester. ↩
- I can’t handle secondhand embarrassment. ↩
- That I remember, anyway. ↩