Bookshelf Archives – May 7th

Books I’m Reading, Have Read, Or Want You To Think I’m Reading Or Have Read.

My Latest Bibliothoughts

I don’t know why it took me so long to buy and devour David Sedaris’ latest collection, Calypso. Maybe it’s because David Sedaris is one of those authors you always take for granted. Every time I get an issue of The New Yorker, I first check the table of contents for a Sedaris drop-of-gold in the pages. If there is, the issue is much less likely to simply join the stack in the bathroom to be read at moments of essential convenience. He’s a can’t miss writer. You always know what he’s going to say, and you know you’re always going to like it. Maybe that makes it just a bit easier to put off actually reading it; you take the enjoyment as read and move on to other pursuits.

Except you don’t always know what he’s going to say.

And that’s the fundamental reason why he is one of my favorite authors. As odd as it sounds, even though I always anticipate liking his work and agreeing with what he has to say, there’s always something he says that surprises me, some little twist or nuance that makes me take another look at my perspectives and pre-conceived notions. For instance, I never necessarily expected someone to feed their own excised benign growth to a snapping turtle in North Carolina. Or, to put it another way, that it might not be that bad a thing to have a parent who voted for Trump (I don’t, though, thankfully!).

David Sedaris has that perfectly skewed vision of the world, just off-beat enough to make you know you would get along and he would understand why you look at the world with bemusement sometimes.

I’ll always remember the performance he gave in Missoula when I was in college, back in the 1999-2003 range, when he signed my friend Peter’s copy “To Peter, with a $incere feeling.” Benevolent, but with a dig at conventions.

In Calypso, he’s mastered the art of the elegy for something that isn’t gone yet, but which soon will be. I think I know what that is, but I could be wrong; in any case, you should read it yourself. More importantly, the writing transcends any simple definition of the subject. As with any good writing, the reader can take their own lessons out of what they read.

Although I get the feeling the author would be outraged at that notion.

Next In The Queue

  • The Body: A Guide For Occupants, by Bill Bryson
  • The Last Emperox, by John Scalzi
  • Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi
  • The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin

In Limbo/Progress Made Here and There Between Other Books

  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (a leisurely re-reading after finishing Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami.
  • The Rise of Skywalker, by Rae Carson
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