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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

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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.

257 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 2004

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About the author

David Sedaris

124 books24.5k followers
David Sedaris is a Grammy Award-nominated American humorist and radio contributor.

Sedaris came to prominence in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "SantaLand Diaries." He published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. Each of his four subsequent essay collections, Naked (1997), Holidays on Ice (1997), Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (2004), and When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2008) have become New York Times Best Sellers.

As of 2008, his books have collectively sold seven million copies. Much of Sedaris' humor is autobiographical and self-deprecating, and it often concerns his family life, his middle class upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, Greek heritage, various jobs, education, drug use, homosexuality, and his life in France with his partner, Hugh Hamrick.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

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5 stars
106,222 (39%)
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3 stars
46,185 (16%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,161 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
795 reviews3,619 followers
September 20, 2020
Sedaris isn´t for everyone, because his weird and disturbing tales are no humor easy to laugh about, because it involves many dark and black comedy elements, some indirect social criticism, and coarse scenes, often dealing with topics that are against the code of conduct of acceptable targets. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...
But I like it, the mini humor tales are perfect for in between, whenever one doesn´t want to exhaust oneself with reading something more complex or of high quality with full focus on enjoying the art, the perfect stopgap. I would really like to know how much of it is authentic and what just exaggerated or fictional, because I could truly imagine super sized families acting in a Malcolm in the Middle or Married with kids style or whatever sitcoms taught us about it.

And, not to forget, there are hardly satirical authors that mostly write short stories and articles for magazines, it are mostly novels and these are often so interwoven, deep, and complex that it isn´t easy to get the whole package out of the first read. If someone tries it and doesn´t like 2 or 3 stories, I would suggest not to continue, because they are all quite similar mini plots around happenings fueled by the author´s real and fictional experiences.

There is so much truth about the fact that each dysfunctional, sad, and broken family is destroying each others lives in a unique way and Sedaris´ humor is nourished with the darkness and pain hidden behind the broken veneers of many seemingly happy families.

I am often thinking that people have the completely wrong idea that easygoing humorous texts aren´t hard to write and, already second question in this review, I would be interested to know how many edits Sedaris needs until his small diamonds sprinkle like glass cutting and torturing anyone of his protagonists.

Being funny is one of the hardest things, no matter how trivial, dirty, and cheap it might seem and how Sedaris uses his homosexuality for laughs in the same way Woody Allen does it with Judaism
is hilarious. A perfect description of the struggle of being gay and finding identity in a sadly still intolerant and homophobic world too.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,227 followers
April 11, 2017
The Sedaris family is certifiably crazy and I love them.

Out of everything he's produced (I've read all of his major work and only missed a few short pieces) this is my favorite David Sedaris book. Yet, I don't recommend it...

...not always, not to everyone. The subject matter can be too much for some people, especially if they've been told that David Sedaris is a humorist and then they encounter some the more depressing details of his real life experiences. I laugh my ass off at the bottom-feeder personalities and occasional bargain basement morals herein, but some people will wring their hands and cry, "Oh how awful!"

Get over it and enjoy the ride, is my approach. The ride includes experiences of being gay and coming out (horrible and hilarious!), portraits of various family members that bring the people as vividly alive as any long-running sitcom is capable, and living on his own for the first time, which includes apartment living in general and specifically the trials of low-income housing.

Sedaris is a master at autobiographical essays. These short form pieces about his life read like carnival folklore, so seemingly unreal at times it feels surreal.

Some of his other books are not quite so warts-and-all. If you try Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim on for size, realize it may not suit you. Perhaps try on another first and ease your way into this strange fashion.

Audiobook Note: Listening to Sedaris read the audiobook is a must. He wrote the stories, hell, he lived the stories, so he knows how they're to be read. I've listened to him enough now that I can not only read his work in his voice, but also accurately guess at the necessary inflection in new material. Yeah, it's a gift...
Profile Image for Candi.
614 reviews4,639 followers
May 26, 2020
“She's afraid to tell me anything important, knowing I'll only turn around and write about it. In my mind, I'm like a friendly junkman, building things from the little pieces of scrap I find here and there, but my family's started to see things differently. Their personal lives are the so-called pieces of scrap I so casually pick up, and they're sick of it.”

I think David Sedaris would be surprised to hear that he has been a hero of sorts for me during the last few weeks. He’d probably go so far as to say he’s been called many things but never a ‘hero’! But he has saved me from singing the blues on a number of days and lifted me from boredom on many more, so ‘hero’ he shall be named.

This was my second Sedaris collection, my first being Calypso which I read and made a big to-do over back in March of this year. I ran around telling everyone about that one, trying to force the book in a few pairs of hands. I’m not always easy to please when it comes to humor – not a big fan of outlandish slapstick or inane bodily jokes. But the Sedaris brand of comedy has won me over wholeheartedly. I guess you’d call it more of an observational kind of humor. Looking at ordinary events and finding the absurd in them. Things many of us can relate to regarding family life, relationships, run-ins with strangers and that sort of juicy stuff.

After reading Calypso, it was recommended to me by several friends here on Goodreads that I must absolutely listen to David Sedaris read his own stories. Well, these friends are wise, so I did just that! Naturally, they were right! What an added pleasure to hear David’s voice as he relates what would seem at first like mundane occurrences transformed into hilarious anecdotes. I don’t think I can experience his writing any other way other than audio from this point forward. Some of these I played twice, once for myself and then holding my teenage children as captive audience at the dinner table for a second listen. I think I may have converted them into fans as well!

Do yourself a favor and give him a listen if you haven’t already done so. I’m currently on a wait list for the next audio that becomes available through my fine library system.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,447 reviews7,544 followers
November 16, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I think by this point it’s pretty much common knowledge that I love David Sedaris like a fat kid I love cake and, well . . . . .

Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim might be my favorite collection yet. I could seriously kick myself for not only not trying audiobooks before this Fall, but also for not thinking of collections like these as something that would fit into my short commute time perfectly. We’re talking true . . . .

Even while in a stupid ass Fiat rather than a Volkswagen since mine decided to die like a whore on the corner a few months back. And when work got like WAAAAAAY too worky the other day and I was afraid I was going to full out pull a Milton . . . .

Or a Leslie Knope . . . .

I opted to schedule a mental health vacay day instead and went home to immerse myself in my favorite type of therapy this time of year – decorating Christmas trees (with an added bonus of listening to the soothing sounds of David’s dysfunction this go ‘round). Dress Your Family was a great blend of stories of the Sedaris children and parents (words cannot express how much I adore Sharon, their mother), the Sedaris children as adults, David and Hugh and everything in between. Thanks to the combo of some sort of sinus condition/basement dust I lugged upstairs along with the decorations, I laughed until I was overtaken by an emphysema-ish coughing fit/wheeze that may or may not have concluded with me urinating a bit on myself - and if THAT isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

I’ve put a hold on every other available Sedaris audio in order to get myself through the end of the year without (hopefully) causing bodily harm to anyone at work. Now I just have to deal with a cat who is terrified of Santa’s impending visit after hearing the story of “6 to 8 Black Men”. . . . .

No it isn’t. Read the story. Anyway, I keep telling him we don’t live in Amsterdam so he doesn’t have anything to worry about, but I think it’s pretty obvious by the look on his face that he doesn’t believe me . . . .

Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews112k followers
November 13, 2019
I chuckled out loud a couple of times while reading this book, and enjoyed learning more about Sedaris's quirky, dysfunctonal, yet endearing family. There wasn't one particular thing that majorly stood out to me that would push it to 4 stars though - I wonder if this would've been stronger had the essays tied together for an overarching theme or thesis. The book reads as if it were supplementary info about David's life, and since this is my first time reading his work, I desired more. I plan on reading his other books to get a more complete picture.
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
May 1, 2010
this is a book by david sedaris.

i mean, what else am i supposed to say? it's not like he went out on a limb here and wrote a space opera or a bodice ripper. it's david sedaris. if you like him, you will probably like this one. if you don't, you probably won't.

this is not my favorite of his collections, but i laughed out loud three times, which i think is pretty good. i like laughter.

**one time, connor made david sedaris laugh. he has yet to write a story about this incident, but we are all holding our breaths and waiting.
July 10, 2021

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David Sedaris is so fucking funny. I feel like he'd be a total laugh to grab a beer with. But I also feel like he would probably goad you to do naughty things, to drink that extra drink. And then he'd turn around and say, "You wouldn't believe how much she drinks, it's like watching an alcoholic balloon try to self-inflate..." and you'd be like HEY, that is NOT true and also, this was all your fault, you man-bitch.

Nowhere is this more apparent than DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM, where he unleashes his inner-snark. Sometimes he's cringe, sometimes he's sadistic, but he's almost always funny. I think I actually enjoyed these essays more than ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY, maybe because, to me, they felt more consistent as a whole. I especially loved the one about his aspirations to wealth via his obscenely wealthy aunt, and his hilarious house-cleaning escapade that quickly ends up turning sexual (against his expectations).

I'm currently doing a rereading project to see what holds up and what doesn't and so far, David Sedaris is hitting it out of the park. If you enjoy humorous collections of autobiographical essays, I think you'll really enjoy Sedaris's writings. He's not very PC and sometimes he says things that are actually pretty offensive, but it helps that he doesn't spare himself when unleashing his cruel wit. He lets us see him at his best-- and also, at his worst.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,563 followers
July 14, 2020
Okay so the Chip Kidd covers usually ruins authors like this for me. These covers almost ooze a Wes Andersonish Americana... I'll let prejudices slip past.

So this writer has a following and it is understandable. This guy CAN WRITE. And topping that: he can write short stories. I am very ambivalent about short vignettes or even the lofty novella: why don't writers just extend the s**t out of whatever story they are writing to fit the perimeters of the novel? O so close.

Sedaris observes, writes. He's underwhelmingly unextraordinary, but his voice sures gots sass.

I have known someone the exact prototype of this Woody Allenesque guy: all style no substance. Yes-- keen, keen like a knife. But what ties it all? Why are these so damn popular? Sometimes, the collective I.Q. ...

I want to read more of this self-centered pedant. He ain't all that, though. This must be mentioned.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,447 reviews7,544 followers
October 1, 2018
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I think I may have broken free of the endless Sedaris loop which I have had playing in my car, but I’m sure I’ll return to it eventually. If for no other reason than to hear about . . . . .

I will tell you, audio is the ONLY way to go when it comes to stories about the youngest Sedaris – be it David or Amy’s impersonation, you’ll be hard-pressed not to look like a hysterical maniac if driving while listening.

When my sisters and I eventually left home, it seemed like a natural progression–young adults shifting from one environment to another. While our departures had been relatively painless, Paul’s was like releasing a domestic animal into the wild. He knew how to plan a meal but displayed a remarkable lack of patience when it came time for the actual cooking. Frozen dinners were often eaten exactly as sold, the Salisbury steak amounting to a stickless meat Popsicle. I phoned one night just as he was leaning a family pack of frozen chicken wings against the back door. He’d forgotten to defrost them and was now attempting to stomp the solid mass into three six-inch portions, which he’d force into his toaster oven.

I heard the singular sound of boot against crystallized meat and listened as my brother panted for breath. “Goddamned … fucking … chicken … wings.”

I called again the following evening and was told that after all that work, the chicken had been spoiled. It tasted like fish, so he threw it away and called it a night. A few hours later, having decided that spoiled chicken was better than no chicken at all, he got out of bed, stepped outside in his underpants, and proceeded to eat the leftovers directly from the garbage can.

I was mortified. “In your underpants?”

“Damned straight,” he said. “Rooster ain’t getting dressed up to eat no fish-assed-tasting chicken.”

All the Stars.
Profile Image for Jean-Luke.
Author 1 book384 followers
December 29, 2020
"He demanded and received an extended lifetime warranty on the refrigerator, meaning, I guessed, that should it leak in the year 2020, he'd return from the grave and trade it in."

In many ways 2020 probably hasn't turned out quite as David Sedaris imagined it in the early 2000s, his father still being alive--going on 96 and living an assisted living home last I heard--being the most positive aspect.

Having read all about rich and fabulous Sedaris in Calypso, it was nice to read not always so rich but still as quirky and hilarious Sedaris in this one. With a childhood right out of The Virgin Suicides--you'd think it was about the only book I've ever read based on how much I'm referencing it lately--what's not to love? Cue quote about love: "Real love amounts to witholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings." David Sedaris doesn't usually make me go awww, but come on, that's pretty cute, especially given that he dedicated the book to his longtime boyfriend Hugh.

Can't forget to mention this gem from his brother Paul: "He took a sip of my father’s weak coffee and spit it back into the mug. "This shit’s like making love in a canoe."
"Excuse me?"
"It’s fucking near water.”"
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
October 13, 2019
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is a 2004 collection of 22 autobiographical essays by American humorist David Sedaris. The essays address the author's upbringing in Raleigh, North Carolina, his relationships with family members, and his work and life in New York City and France.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهارم ماه اکتبر سال 2019 میلادی
عنوان: مخمل و جین تن خانواده‌ ات کن؛ نویسنده: دیوید سداریس ؛ مترجم: پویان رجایی؛ تهران: بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب پارسه، ‏‫‬‏1397؛ در 229 ص؛ شابک: 9786002533418؛ موضوع: نوشته های نویسندگان ایلات متحده آمریکا - سده 21 م

سداریس در این داستان‌ها آنگاه که خوانشگر دارد از خنده روده‌ بر می‌شود، ناگهان غافلگیرش می‌کند. سداریس از آنجا که در رادیو برنامه‌ سازی کرده و برای برنامه‌ های رادیویی متن نوشته، در درآوردن فضای چالشی بین شخصیت‌ها و خلق لحظات ناب استادانه عمل می‌کند. کریس لمان می‌نویسد: «داستان‌هایی گیرا، خنده‌آور و بی نهایت تکان دهنده، از دیوانگی‌هایی بسیار معمولی. سداریس استاد بی چون و چرای این سبک است». مجموعه حاضر شامل نوزده داستان از سداریس است (نسخه اصلی 22 داستان است). نقل یکی از داستان‌های این مجموعه با عنوان «پول همه چیز را تغییر می‌دهد»: مادرم عمه‌ ای داشت که حومه‌ ی کلیولند زندگی می‌کرد و یکبار در بینگهامتون نیویورک به دیدن ما آمد. شش سالم بود اما خوب یادم می‌آید که ماشینش چطور ورودی تازه سنگفرش شده‌ ی خانه را طی کرد. کادیلاکی نقره‌ ای بود و مردی که آن را می‌راند کلاه لبه دار صافی داشت، از آن‌هایی که پلیس‌ها سرشان می‌گذارند. درِ عقب را با تشریفات ویژه‌ ای باز کرد که انگار کالسکه است، و ما کفش‌های عمه بزرگ را دیدیم که با وجود طبی بودن تجملی بودند؛ چرمی که استادانه کار شده بود با پاشنه‌ هایی کوچک به اندازه‌ ی قرقره. بعد از کفش‌ها لبه‌ ی پالتوِ پوست سمور بود و سر عصا و آخر از همه خودِ عمه بزرگ که بزرگ بود چون پولدار بود و بچه‌ ای نداشت. مادرم گفت: «اوه، عمه میلدرِد»، و ما با تعجب نگاهش کردیم. در غیابش او را عمه مانی صدا می‌زد، ترکیبی از دو کلمه‌ ی ناله و پول و نام واقعی به گوشمان تازه می‌آمد. عمه مانی گفت: «شارون!» به پدرمان و بعد به ما نگاهی انداخت. مادرم گفت: «این شوهرمه، لو و این‌ها بچه‌ هامون اند.»؛ -چه خوب. بچه‌ هاتون. راننده چندین کیسه‌ ی خرید را به دست پدرم داد و در حین اینکه ما وارد خانه می‌شدیم، به ماشین برگشت. مادرم به آرامی گفت: دستشویی یا چیز دیگه‌ ای لازم نداره؟ منظورم اینه که قدمش رو چشمه…؛ عمه مانی طوری خندید که انگار مادرم دارد به خودِ ماشین تعارف می‌کند که بیاید داخل. «آه نه عزیزم، بیرون می‌مونه.»؛ باورم نمی‌شد که پدرم همان تور گردشگری‌ ای را که برای بیشتر مهمان‌ها به راه می‌انداخت، برای او هم به راه انداخت. قسمت‌هایی از خانه را خودش طراحی کرده بود و از توصیف اینکه اگر مداخله نکرده بود حالا خانه چه وضعیتی ممکن بود داشته باشد لذت می‌برد. می‌گفت: کاری که کردم اینه که باربیکیو رو همین جا تو آشپزخونه درآوردم که به یخچال نزدیک‌تر باشه. مهمان‌ها به خاطر خلاقیتش به او تبریک می‌گفتند. بعد آنها را به قسمت صبحانه‌ خوری راهنمایی می‌کرد.» پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for David.
865 reviews1,304 followers
July 15, 2007
So. David Sedaris.
Well, let's be clear. Nobody with a funnybone can hate David Sedaris. And neither do I. But it has to be said - that last book ("Dress your family in corduroy and denim") was quite a disappointment. Judging by the number of people showing up for his readings here in San Francisco, and its lengthy sojourn on The New York Times bestseller list, it obviously did pretty well commercially. And, based on the enormous amount of accumulated goodwill from his earlier books, I don't begrudge DS his commercial success. Not one bit.

Well, OK. Maybe just a little bit. Because, for the first time, in this collection, we see clear indications that Sedaris is bumping up against his limitations. How so? I think (and make no claim for the originality of this analysis) it's because Sedaris is at his best when he writes from the point of view of slightly marginalized outsider. In his earlier stuff, he was poor, he's gay and he managed to achieve a tone of bemusement in reporting what went on around him that was completely hilarious. In the face of increasing commercial success, the edge that was conferred by his being poor became harder to maintain. But he and his boyfriend moved to France, thereby achieving automatic outsider status, and Sedaris was able to mine this for comedy gold (his accounts of misadventures while learning French are truly funny, and credit must be given for the way in which he makes the comedy seem so effortless). But that's his previous book Me Talk Pretty One Day.

Problem is, the whole 'marginalized outsider' position seems less and less plausible for an author whose books spend months on the best seller list. Similarly, after a few years in France, the forces of assimilation are bound to cut down on the number of amusing misunderstandings funny enough to be worth writing about. This leaves one other area which Sedaris has mined fruitfully in previous books - anecdotes about his family. Indeed, the majority of the stories in this latest collection are family-based anecdotes. However, the stories in this collection do not come close to matching the wit and poignancy of those in earlier books, suggesting that this vein of inspiration may be close to being tapped out. Hardly surprising - any author would lead with the funniest material; this collection has occasional flashes of wit, but never reaches the 'laugh-out-loud' quality of the earlier books. Several pieces in this collection (describing his brother's wedding, his job one summer at the State Fair) are downright pedestrian, and a couple of pieces just fall flat - ruminations about apartment-hunting while visiting the Anne Frank house, accounts of visits with two of his sisters, whose feelings about being featured as bit-players in this, or subsequent collections are decidedly mixed. It's to Sedaris's credit that he too is ambivalent on this point, but his soul-searching on the issue doesn't make for interesting reading.

One of Yeats's later poems is called "The Circus Animals' Desertion"; in it, he bemoans the fact that the themes which inspired him early in his career have lost their inspirational power. "Dress your family in corduroy and denim" supports the notion that David Sedaris may be experiencing similar difficulties. But don't count him out yet. His previous books estalished Sedaris as a hilarious, extremely talented writer. Anyone can have one bad book. Let's hope he will leave it at that.

Profile Image for Michelle.
139 reviews46 followers
June 6, 2009
I thought I was over David Sedaris. I don't mean that I don't like him. I do. His essays are funny, but after a while they all seem to run together. He mines the same territory again and again -- stories of growing up with his dysfunctional, quirky, yet lovable family. Stories of himself as the odd and awkward kid growing up and trying to figure out how to live in this world.

I wasn’t going to buy Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim in print, but I saw the audio version, read by Sedaris himself, on sale at CompUSA when they were going out of business and selling their entire inventory for cheap. I couldn’t resist even though I much prefer to read books rather than to listen to them. I did nothing with it for more than a year until I decided I should listen to it while going for walks around my neighborhood.

I found myself rolling my eyes, not laughing, and quickly becoming bored. Finally I had the idea to take the book with me when I drove places. I felt I would get through it much quicker that way and could finally move on to something else.

It turned out that that was the way to listen to David Sedaris. Walking around the neighborhood while thinking about the pain in my hip and how at 38 years old I’m afraid I’m going to have to have a fucking hip replacement is no way to appreciate him. I just wanted to slap the shit out of him and his idiosyncratic family/neighbors/and everyone else he was talking about. Relaxed and driving on the freeway with his pleasant voice in my ear was the way to go. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that it made me want to listen to his books rather than read them, which was kind of a first for me.

That being said, it’s not going to come as a big surprise that this collection is more of the same types of stories we’ve heard in the past, but I have to say that Sedaris really shines when he talks about his sister, Tiffany, and his brother, Paul (a.k.a. The Rooster). Those were my favorites in the collection.

I was also sad to learn that Sedaris’s mother, Sharon, has passed away. I’ll never forget his Ya-Ya refusing to call Sharon by her name and stubbornly referring to her as “The Girl” because she was pissed she wasn’t Greek. And if you already know and love The Rooster, man are you in for a treat when Sedaris reads in Paul’s voice. Something about this charming, well-spoken man saying the words “She had tubes coming out of her pussy” in a thick southern accent cracked me up more than reading it on the page ever could.
Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books550 followers
June 21, 2019
This was my first book by David Sedaris and though there were some stories that spoke to me more than others, all in all, I enjoyed it and would read more by the author. Yes, he came across as kind of cranky and irritating at times, but I think that is probably part of his charm. He doesn't seem to put up a facade, which makes for entertaining reading. I very rarely read collections of anecdotes like this, because I already know a number will stand out and others will not, and I tend to prefer one cohesive story. That being said, I knew what I was getting into, and I can see Sedaris' appeal. He is chatty, yet very observant and doesn't shy away from anything. Overall, this book was a good introduction to this author's work and I'm curious to see how I like "Calypso" in the near future.

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Profile Image for Calista.
3,881 reviews31.2k followers
February 21, 2019
I read this again which was a happy accident. I didn't think I had. I have heard several of these stories in other works, so David does recycle a story here or there. This was a wonderful laugh and tension drainer for me. I really enjoyed some of these stories.

I have to say that I think my favorite stories of his are when David uses his brother Paul. That man is crazy and so funny. He just had me laughing. He has a way of finding the funny in the mundane. I would love to be able to do that.

A list of the stories: (copied from Wikipedia)
"Us and Them" - childhood memories of a family "who don't believe in TV"
"Let It Snow" - the day when Sedaris's mother locked her children out in the snow
"The Ship Shape" - childhood memories of the second home that his father never bought
"Full House" - a childhood game of strip poker gives the young Sedaris a touching moment
"Consider the Stars" - reflecting on the cool kid at school
"Monie Changes Everything" - Sedaris' rich aunt
"The Change in Me" - the 13-year-old Sedaris wants to act like a hippie
"Hejira" - Sedaris' father kicks him out of his house due to his homosexuality
"Slumus Lordicus" - Sedaris' father's experiences as a landlord of a apartment complex in the early 80s.
"The Girl Next Door" - Sedaris' relationship with a girl from a troubled family
"Blood Work" - a case of mistaken identity while cleaning houses
"The End of the Affair" - Sedaris and Hugh's different reactions to a love story
"Repeat After Me" - Sedaris' visit to his sister Lisa, and his family's feelings about being the subject of his essays
"Six to Eight Black Men" - thoughts about the traditional Dutch Christmas story, among other cultural oddities
"Rooster at the Hitchin' Post" - Sedaris' younger brother is born and gets married
"Possession" - searching for a new apartment, and Anne Frank's house
"Put a Lid on It" - a visit to Sedaris' sister Tiffany's home, and their relationship
"A Can of Worms" - Sedaris's mind wanders as he, Hugh, and a friend eat at a diner
"Chicken in the Henhouse" - prejudiced attitudes towards homosexuals in America
"Who's the Chef?" - bickering between two people in a long-term relationship
"Baby Einstein" - the arrival of his brother's first baby
"Nuit of the Living Dead" - a late night encounter at home in rural France
Profile Image for Sarah.
85 reviews8 followers
July 26, 2007
This book makes me laugh myself sick every time I read it. Blood Work and La Nuit of the Dead are put together so perfectly. Sedaris creates a series of misguided attempts at human connection that seem doomed to fail through selfishness or insecurity, but somehow don’t. Sedaris is so good at exposing the frailty of those emotional connections without ever doubting that they can still sustain our relationships. He makes me relate to even the most impossibly awkward and painful situations. Every time I read it I think, “That’s so ME!” And then realize that I’m not a gay man living in rural France, fearing zombies and drowning a mouse in a bucket at midnight. And yet somehow I can still not only relate to the situation, but feel the familiarity of it. The parts about his brother make me miss my brother horribly. Sedaris is so great at showing that most of our love for each other doesn’t lie in our similarities, but in the strength of our shared history and our sheer will to maintain the relationship. This can seem either damaged and pathetic or comforting and hopeful. I’m going with the latter.
Profile Image for . . . _ _ _ . . ..
284 reviews146 followers
August 28, 2018
Ο Αμερικάνος Κορτώ μας λέει (ξανά) για τον γκόμενο του, τη μάνα του, τα αδέρφια του

*φωνή Σταυρίδη στα Κίτρινα Γάντια*


Κάπου πιάνει μια μελαγχολία, και αυτό είναι που τον ξεχωρίζει κάπως, αλλά στην πραγματικότητα διαβάζεις ημερολόγια μιας οικογένειας που ούτε τους ξέρεις, ούτε σε πολυνοιάζει.
Να μην πιάσω το γεγονός το ανατριχιαστικό ξεπούλημα ζωών της ίδιας του της οικογένειας (πχ τον τρόπο ζωής μιας αδερφής του που λίγα χρόνια μετά αυτοκτόνησε με συνθήκες ζωής ανατριχιαστικά ίδιες με αυτά που περιγράφει στο διήγημα του)
Επίσης, ξέρω είναι δύσκολο να βρεις ένα καλό σπίτι, αλλά να στήσεις ένα ολόκληρο διήγημα για το αν πωλείται το σπίτι της Άννας Φρανκ, και το πόσο γαμάτο είναι, να μην προλάβει να το αγοράσει κανένας άλλος, για μένα δεν είναι ακριβώς comedy material.
Profile Image for Jessaka.
888 reviews121 followers
March 15, 2019
Books to Sleep By

I wonder if you have to be weird to like Sedaris’ books, or maybe even weirder to use them to get to sleep at night like I do?

I have listened to his books many times over, that is, what I remember of them, as I am lying in bed trying to not think so I can sleep. What is it with old people and insomnia? At least I am not alone. But that is not comforting.

Maybe it is that old people think too much because they have a lot in their brains from all the years of accumulating knowledge. Only I am not lying in bed going over and over the things that I have learned, instead, I think about how to go to sleep when I am not tired, or how to go to sleep when I am overtired.

Well, this book by Sedaris has some moving in it. It seems like Sedaris can’t stand still, or maybe this was from another book; they all run together. Still, I can say that I didn’t really like this book, as the narrator, Sedaris, seemed really down, and his stories were blah. It wasn’t the kind of blahness that made me fall to sleep; it was irritating. It made me think about the news, such as, what is the man in the WH going to do next to screw up my life and everyone else’s? It was the kind that made me wonder if I could get to sleep at all. It made me wonder what I was going to do after I had listened to his books enough times. Is there sleep after Sedaris?

I do think I found the right book for sleeping. It is The Underground Railroad by Whitehead. Every time I listen to it, and I tried hard to not allow my mind to wander, I went to sleep. One day I was reading that the main character was in a tunnel escaping, and when I woke up she was in a doctor’s office and he wanted to tie her tubes for population control. It never got any better.

I thought of listening to Spalding Gray because he gives one man monologues, but the narrator of Monster in a Box had an irritating voice. Maybe one of his other books will have a better narrator.

Now with Sedaris, I never know what is true, half true, or all made up. I don’t know if his father really threw him out of the house when he learned that he was gay or not. I don’t know if Sedaris really put a fly in a jar and shook it up, which knocked it out so he could put it on a spider web, at which point it woke up, wiggled around and be eaten. That was probably another book though. In one of his earlier books he was talking about people having dead animals in their freezer, and this was not steaks. I wondered if that were true, and if so, what kind of people do this besides taxidermists? And did Sedaris really lick light switch plates as a kid whenever he left a room? Was his dad really as weird as he portrays him to be? Did he really clean houses?

I am so tired this morning because I only had about 4 hours sleep. So I got up and laid down on the couch and began listening to The Underground Railroad and fell back to sleep.

Profile Image for Julie G .
883 reviews2,750 followers
February 11, 2014
Sedaris's four sisters move in and out of these essays like a modern Greek chorus, and every time they appear, I am reduced to an attack of adolescent giggles.

His mother stands in the forefront as a powerful Medea, and almost every line of hers is worthy of quoting.

The essay in the earlier part of the book, "The Ship Shape," sums up just about every bad family trip that every family has ever taken, and this little couplet from "Monie Changes Everything" caused me to spit out the water I was drinking:

"I was working in a cafeteria then but still honored a once-a-week babysitting job I'd held since junior high. The children despised me, but there was a familiarity, almost a comfort, in their hatred, and so their parents kept me on."

You can make this up, but he doesn't, and it's so much funnier when you know it's real.
Profile Image for Jill Hutchinson.
1,459 reviews105 followers
October 31, 2022
Who couldn't love David Sedaris and his crazy, off-kilter world? Here is another of his books of short essays on life around him, his family, and his friends........or at least life as they see it which turns everyday events into comic scenarios. The neighbors who don't have television, his sister lying in the street to be hit by a car so their mother will unlock the front door, cheating at strip poker, his sister's parrot, and the list goes on. His clever writing is guaranteed to evoke many chuckles and even a "laugh out loud". It is too bad the books are so short but they certainly are fun. If you are feeling down and put upon, read Sedaris to see the funny side of life. You will feel better!!
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,828 followers
May 6, 2015
Sometimes cynical, sometimes neurotic, always entertaining. These stories are great for a few laughs and just might make you think.

Often Sedaris says what we are thinking, but too afraid to say out loud.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,468 reviews563 followers
April 25, 2019
David Sedaris makes me happy. This is my second (after Calypso) and I am thrilled about his lengthy backlist. There were many laugh out loud moments here and also some poignant ones.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,474 reviews495 followers
November 30, 2019
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another hilarious winner from David Sedaris. This is my second audiobook (and book) by him and I loved it even more than the first one I listened to {Calypso}.

Sedaris talks about growing up, Santa Claus, drowning a mouse, a little girl that stole an eraser from him and so much more. I found Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim to be less serious than the other book I read and a lot more lighthearted as far as stories went. Sedaris is so witty, and I just LOVE listening to him read his books. I also really like the spattering of sound effects and the music every time he moves on to a new topic. They are a great addition to the audiobook!

Song/s the book brought to mind: Family Is Family by Kacey Musgraves

Final Thought: I think my favorite stories had to do with his brother Paul, but I laughed out loud so many times throughout the entire book. Prepare yourself for utter hilarity, and once again I highly recommend audio because there really is nothing like listening to Sedaris read his books. I've now listened to two and I already started my third!
Profile Image for Jennifer Good.
6 reviews
August 29, 2007
oh so hilarious...

"What the hell are you doing?" she whispered, but my mouth was too full to answer...as she closed the door and behind her and moved toward my bed, I began breaking the wax lips and candy necklaces pulled from pile no. 2. These were the second-best things I had received, and while it hurt to destroy them, it would have hurt evern more to give them away. I had just started to mutilate a miniature box of Red Hots when my mother pried them from my hands, accidentally finishing the job for me. BB-size pellets clattered onto the floor, and as I followed them with my eyes, she snatched up a roll of Necco wafers.
"Not those," I pleaded, but rather than words, my mouth expelled chocolate, chewed chocolate, which fell onto the sleece of her sweater. "Not those. Not those."
She shook her arm, and the mound of chocolate dropped like a horrible turd upon my bedspread. "You should look at yourself," she said. "I mean, really look at yourself."

Profile Image for Antoinette.
755 reviews39 followers
May 4, 2020
David Sedaris has been a mainstay through everything over the past couple of months. He has been my companion when I walk with just my dog. His reflections on the minute details of life are humorous, but sometimes also very poignant. This is the third book of his I have listened to over the past 6 months. Easy to fall into and easy to listen to.
Profile Image for Kelli.
850 reviews395 followers
December 21, 2019
This is my second favorite David Sedaris, so apparently I really prefer his older stuff. Six to Eight Black Men was the funniest thing I’ve heard in a very long time. 4 plus stars
Profile Image for Adam.
89 reviews
October 1, 2007
Honestly, I tried to like this book. Maybe it's one of those that, at page 100, kicks everything glorious into overdrive, making you gleeful and giddy and full of delight at reading it. Maybe I should have read further and waited longer. But, you see, I only really started to read this because it seemed hip at the time to do so. I'm not too sure that I care enough about maintaining some form of imagined quasi-hipness to make myself sit through the rest of it. There. I'm admitting I didn't read the whole thing, but I am admitting (and openly so) that David Sedaris depresses me.
The end.
Profile Image for Ginger.
754 reviews373 followers
June 11, 2019
Another good collection of short stories by David Sedaris!
3.5 stars!

I decided to do the audiobook for Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim and I’m glad I did. At times, his voice bugged me a bit. It was more indifferent then I liked, and I know he was going for deadpan. But at the same time, David Sedaris is cynical, funny and does the best job of explaining his crazy family and all his neurotic thoughts. Boy does he have a lot of neurotic thoughts!! Ha! I think we all do at times.

His humor is not for everyone though. He is often dark and dry, and you often wonder if he’s being funny or truthful. I enjoy this type of humor for its subtlety and honesty.

The short stories that I enjoyed the most were:
1. The neighborhood family that didn’t watch television
2. Christmas in the Netherlands (I laughed out loud at least 2 to 3 times!!!)
3. The misunderstanding erotic house cleaning service
4. His brother’s wedding.

It seems that most of the family members are funny on their own but add them all together and it’s a great recipe for some good chuckles!
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