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Life is only what you wonder.

Friday, May 13, 2005

New Review

Before I get to the review, please allow me to ramble for a little while, OK?

I've done several reviews and/or critiques in here, but they've all been movies or CDs. Why is that, you ask?
Because I've come to the conclusion that people no longer read.

Oh, to a certain extent people read. You're reading this now, aren't you?
I should be more specific. People don't read books.
They'll read the horoscope in the newspaper, they'll see what's up with Garfield and Dilbert, or they'll scan a magazine article about their favorite celebrity, or a blog post (like this one), but an entire book? From cover to cover? I highly doubt it.

I have an addiction to the printed word. Ever since I started reading at about age three (my first book was was Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, BTW) I have loved reading. I've always had my nose in one book or other. You won't find my photo by the word "bookworm" in the dictionary, but it's a very close thing.

So, given my love for reading, it's odd when I walk into people's houses and I don't see a book anywhere. When my friend Mark moved into his new apartment, one wall of his living room was nothing but one big bookcase, so he bought four boxes of used books and put them up on his shelves. He didn't care what the books were about, because he never intended to ever read any of them, they were just for decoration.
How bizarre is that?
Books aren't for decoration! You don't buy a book because it looks good on the coffee table!

Maybe it's just the people I hang with, or maybe it's just me being pessimistic, but it has seemed to me that reading has become something of a parlor trick. Kind of the way people can add up a long list of numbers in their head with no pencils, paper or calculator. People see all the books on my bookcase and it's like "You've read all of those? Amazing!"
The only thing that makes it so amazing is that the only thing they've read recently was the TV Guide.

OK, that was my semi-rant on the decline of literature.
Now, on with the review!

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

It's all Tony's fault.

Tony told me that David Sedaris is one of his favorite authors, and even went so far as to include an audio post of David Sedaris reading an excerpt from one of his books on his weblog.
I had seen David Sedaris' books at the gay bookstore, but I had never picked one up and read the dust-jacket, and consequently, had no idea what they were about.
Intrigued by the excerpt I heard, I immediately did a search and found a few other writings by the author on the internet.

Funny stuff.
Laugh out loud stuff.
I was sufficiently primed by what I had read to purchase the book, hoping I wouldn't be disappointed.

I wasn't.

Perfect for the short attention spanned, Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of essays on a number of topics, all of them hilarious.

In one essay titled Twelve Moments in the Life of the Artist he tells of being an methamphetamine using performance artist:

    "I bought my drugs from a jittery, bug-eyed typesetter whose brittle, prematurely white hair was permed in such a way that I couldn't look at her without thinking of a late-season dandelion."
And in another titled Picka Pocketoni, he writes of tourists visiting France thinking he's a pickpocket (and an unwashed, smelly one at that). Instead of feeling embarrassed at the situation, which would be the normal reaction, the author uses the situation to feel "quick and dangerous".

We also follow him on adventures with the concept of masculine and feminine vowels in French, and how he avoids this conflict by referring to everything in the plural:

    "Hugh may be annoyed by the two turkeys in the freezer, but wait until he sees the CD players I got him for his birthday."
Me Talk Pretty One Day will consistently make you laugh, while touching strong emotional cords in regards to your own perspective on life. In this book, one can glimpse elements of their own predicaments and foibles, while laughing over how much stranger Sedaris's are.
Most authors strive to make their characters easily relatable to ordinary people, but Sedaris makes the reader able to relate to himself through the insane exaggerations and misadventures that we all like to think we have.

Would I recommend this book?

But now I'm going to have to read all of his books.
I blame Tony for that, too.