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Theft by Finding
Cover of Theft by Finding
Theft by Finding
Diaries (1977-2002)
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One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York's "Vulture", The Week, Bustle, BookRiotAn NPR Best Book of 2017An AV Club Favorite Book of 2017A Barnes &...
One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York's "Vulture", The Week, Bustle, BookRiotAn NPR Best Book of 2017An AV Club Favorite Book of 2017A Barnes &...
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  • One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York's "Vulture", The Week, Bustle, BookRiot


    An NPR Best Book of 2017

    An AV Club Favorite Book of 2017

    A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017

    A Goodreads Choice Awards nominee
    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.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Only David Sedaris should narrate books by David Sedaris. He's simply wonderful. Covering the period ranging from his starving early days to his much-deserved outrageous success, these diary entries are well worth hearing, including an entire entry of "uh's." Even his unfinished ramblings are well crafted, and Sedaris is truly a delight to hear. He's candid about his early drug use and drinking, self-deprecating about perceived flaws, and completely honest about his emotions. With his inimitable sweetly sarcastic delivery, he precisely records encounters with anti-gay thugs and gay perverts and recounts examples of the ignorant sexist, racist, and vicious comments he experiences. Everyone who listens to these diary entries, beginning in 1977 and going thru 2002, will be satisfied, but waiting eagerly for more, narrated by Sedaris, of course. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 13, 2017
    This American Life and New Yorker humorist Sedaris (Naked) displays the raw material for his celebrated essays with these scintillating excerpts from his personal journals. Sedaris collects entries stretching back to his penniless salad days working odd jobs (apple picker, construction worker, house cleaner, a now-famous stint as a Christmas elf), hanging out at the International House of Pancakes and wrestling half-heartedly with drink and drugs. He moves on to his breakthrough as a memoirist and playwright and then to later embroilments and obsessions, including a fixation on feeding flies to pet spiders. Here as elsewhere, Sedaris is a latter-day Charlie Chaplin: droll, put-upon but not innocent, and besieged by all sorts of obstreperous or menacing folks. The frequent appearance of colorful weirdos spouting pithy dialogue may strike some readers as unlikely to be entirely true. But Sedaris’s storytelling, even in diary jottings, is so consistently well-crafted and hilarious that few will care whether it’s embroidered.

  • Library Journal

    April 15, 2017

    For decades, Sedaris has engaged readers with artfully constructed essays of his and his family's experiences. His diaries have served as source material for those pieces, and this collection of selected diary entries provides new stories, vulgar jokes, and social commentary that have not previously appeared in his writing. While his essays are crafted to present a particular persona and possess a wry tone, reading the same situation in the diaries fills in the edges and makes Sedaris (and his family) more fully rounded people as we see the trajectory of their lives unfold over time. Of particular interest are details of his collaborations with his sister Amy. Here Sedaris is still a keen observer of the world, but he's also a man who must get to work, navigate sexual relationships, and consider the price of chicken. VERDICT For Sedaris fans, this is a primary source not to miss, but even the more casual reader will be drawn in, as the author comes into his own as a writer and a person.--Margaret Heller, Loyola Univ. Chicago Libs.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from February 15, 2017
    Raw glimpses of the humorist's personal life as he clambered from starving artist to household name.For years, Sedaris (Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, 2013, etc.) has peppered his public readings with samples from his diaries, usually comic vignettes with a gently skewed view of humanity. Those are in abundance here. "Jews in concentration camps had shaved heads and tattoos," he writes after learning about a Chicago skinhead's arrest. "You'd think the anti-Semites would go for a different look." Forced to trim his toenails with poultry shears for lack of clippers, he writes, "that is exactly why you don't want people staying in your apartment when you're not there, or even when you are, really." The diaries also provide Ur-texts for some of the author's most famous stories, like his stint as a Macy's Christmas elf that led to his breakthrough radio piece, "The SantaLand Diaries," or the short-tempered, chalk-throwing French teacher in Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000). But though the mood is usually light, the book is also a more serious look into his travails as an artist and person: Sedaris is candid about his early ambitions to succeed as a writer, his imposter syndrome as a teacher, his squabbles with his never-satisfied dad and mentally ill sister, Tiffany, and his alcoholism. Even that last challenge, though, is framed as comic, or at least the stuff of non sequitur: "Today I saw a one-armed dwarf carrying a skateboard. It's been ninety days since I've had a drink." While Sedaris' career took flight during the period this book captures, success didn't change him much; it just introduced him to a broader swath of the world to observe and satirize. He can hardly believe his good luck, so he's charmed by the woman who, upon escorting him to a packed bookstore reading, exclaims, "goodness, they must be having a sale." A surprisingly poignant portrait of the artist as a young to middle-aged man.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from March 15, 2017
    Sedaris' diaries are the wellspring for his cuttingly funny autobiographical essays, and he now presents a mesmerizing volume of deftly edited passages documenting 35 years of weird, disturbing, and hilarious experiences. Theft by Finding, Sedaris' latest riddling title, following Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (2013), is a sly allusion to his artistic method: he is a champion eavesdropper and omnivorous observer, and this selective diary is basically a set of meticulous field notes cataloging atrocious human behavior. In 1977, college-dropout Sedaris is hitchhiking out West, picking fruit for pitiful wages, and getting high. He returns to Raleigh, his hometown, where he works odd jobs, makes art, and matter-of-factly records a litany of alarming encounters with enraged strangers, a theme that continues after he moves to Chicago, attends art school, and begins writing in earnest, and then in New York, where he ascends. People throw rocks and bottles at him, insult and threaten him, demand money and cigarettes. He records a constant barrage of racist, sexist, and anti-gay outbursts, and portrays an array of hustlers, eccentrics, bullies, and misfits. Sedaris is caustically witty about his bad habits and artistic floundering. Even when he cleans up his act, falls in love, and achieves raving success, Sedaris remains self-deprecating and focused on the bizarre and the disquieting. A candid, socially incisive, and sharply amusing chronicle of the evolution of an arresting comedic artist. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Devotees of mega-best-selling Sedaris have been waiting for access to his diary, and a robust marketing plan will get the word out fast.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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