Tuesday, February 17, 2009

David Sedaris Cures Headaches

Had an amazing, overwhelming time at the AWP conference in Chicago—so overwhelming that when I got home, I promptly got one of those awful tension headaches that requires no action beyond laying around for hours and hours. So more on the conference tomorrow, but for now, I will say that the only benefit to the headache was re-discovering my CD of David Sedaris reading his wonderful book of essays, Naked, and listening to it several times while I couldn’t sleep.

I like all of Sedaris’s work, but this book is the best (IMHO) as it has the tightest focus on his family and so achieves that greatest triumph of all—making me laugh even as I’m reaching for the Kleenex. Especially noteworthy is “Ashes,” in which he learns three weeks before his sister’s wedding that his mother is dying of cancer. I also thought that “I Like Boys” is another sad/funny one, where he goes off to Greece to summer camp and tries to battle his homosexuality.

The printed book is good—and I admit that the CD is abridged—but even so, nothing beats hearing him read these essays out loud. It’s the best introduction to his work that I can imagine.

(Check out David Sedaris’s list of recommended reading here.)


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.