Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Rate this book
Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Humor (2013)
A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.

With Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris shows once again why his work has been called "hilarious, elegant, and surprisingly moving" (Washington Post).

288 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 23, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

David Sedaris

122 books25.1k 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.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
39,330 (27%)
4 stars
55,429 (39%)
3 stars
34,650 (24%)
2 stars
8,439 (5%)
1 star
3,475 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,146 reviews
Profile Image for Gary Anderson.
Author 0 books88 followers
August 10, 2013
I usually like the work of David Sedaris. He’s at his best when talking about his family or childhood memories, or wryly observing society’s foibles. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls has moments of that trademark understated irony, but it’s more self-absorbed than his earlier collections. This book’s primary theme seems to be the travails of a successful author as he fulfills his tiresome obligations to accept invitations to read his work out loud in exotic locations like China, Rotterdam, and Costco. But travel wearies Sedaris, as do most other people. It’s no surprise that he doesn’t allow those who stand in line to purchase an autographed book to take pictures with him. Then he retires to one of his homes in England or France or Japan or New York and writes about how awful it is to be anywhere.

Although this book gave me a few chuckles, some topics are inherently unfunny, although Sedaris uses them as punch lines: teen suicide, cancer, ingestion of human feces, eye socket sex. Yuck. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is a disappointment because it is so much meaner and cruder--not to mention less funny--than earlier Sedaris books.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
January 16, 2022
Lets Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls is a collection of narrative essays by David Sedaris. The book was released on April 23, 2013.

Essays:
Dentists Without Borders;
Attaboy;
Think Differenter;
Memory Laps;
A Friend in the Ghetto;
Loggerheads;
If I Ruled the World;
Easy, Tiger;
Laugh, Kookaburra;
Standing Still;
Just a Quick E-mail;
A Guy Walks into a Bar Car;
Author, Author;
Obama!!!!!;
Standing By;
I Break for Traditional Marriage;
Understanding Understanding Owls;
#2 to Go;
Health-Care Freedom and Why I Want My Country Back;
Now Hiring Friendly People;
Rubbish;
Day In, Day Out;
Mind the Gap;
A Cold Case;
The Happy Place;
and Dog Days.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز یازدهم ماه آوریل سال2016میلادی

عنوان: بیا با جغدها درباره‌ ی دیابت ��حقیق کنیم ؛ نویسنده: دیوید سداریس؛ مترجم: پیمان خاکسار؛ تهران؛ نشر چشمه، سال1394؛ در183ص؛ شابک9786002293947؛ موضوع: شوخیها و بذله گوئیهای آمریکایی، سرگذشتنامه طنزنویسان ایالات متحده آمریکا، سده 21م

فهرست: («یاداشت نویسنده، ص9»؛ «دندان‌ پزشکان بدون مرز، ص11»؛ «بارک‌ الله پسر، ص18»؛ «متفاوت‌تر فکر کن، ص26»؛ «از دست دادن حافظه، ص30»؛ «دوست پایین شهری، ص42»؛ «لاکپشت ها سر گنده، ص53»؛ «اگر فرمانروای دنیا بودم، ص65»؛ «یواش آقا ببره، ص68»؛ «بخند کوکابورا، ص76»؛ «بیحرکت ایستادن، ص86»؛ «یک ای.میل کوچولو، ص97»؛ «نویسنده، نویسنده، ص101»؛ «اوباما!!!!!، ص108»؛ «کنار ایستادن، ص114»؛ «من هوادار ازدواج سنتی هستم، ص122»؛ «درک جغدهای فهیم، ص128»؛ «شماره دو برای بردن، ص138»؛ «آدمهای خونگرم استخدام میکنیم، ص147»؛ «زباله، ص152»؛ «هر روز پشت سر هم، ص162»؛ «پرونده ی باز، ص173»)؛

از متن: (اگر یک چیز به دردبخور توی آن خانه بود، چیزی حتی شبیه بستنی، مدت‌ها پیش خورده شده بود. این را می‌دانستم و برای همین از فریزر دوم که توی انباری بود صرف نظر کردم، و یک‌راست رفتم سراغ فریزر برهوت توی زیرزمین. پشت مرغ‌هایی که پارسال توی حراج خریده بودیم و بسته‌ های گوشتی شبیه شاه‌ بلوط که روی‌شان را لایه‌ ای ضخیم از برفک خون رنگ پوشانده بود، یک قوطی بستنی پیدا کردم. وانیلی و به رنگ چرک. این‌‌قدر درفریزر مانده بود که حتا من بچه هم با دیدن برچسب قیمتش احساس کردم سنی ازم گذشته، «سی و پنج سنت! با این پول تو این دوره و زمونه هیچی نمی‌شه خرید!)؛ پایان نقل

نقل از متن: (نمی‌دانم این زن و شوهرها چطور از عهده‌ ی این همه چیز برمی‌آیند، هر شب چند ساعت وقت صرف می‌کنند تا بچه‌ هایشان را ببرند به رختخواب و برایشان از روی کتاب، قصه‌ ی بچه‌ گربه‌ های بی‌ تربیت و فُک‌های یونیفرم‌ پوش بخوانند و بعد اگر بچه دوباره دستور داد دوباره از اول شروع کنند به خواندن. در خانه‌ ی ما پدر و مادرمان ما را فقط با دو کلمه می‌گذاشتند توی رختخواب «خفه شو.» این آخرین چیزی بود که قبل از خاموش شدن چراغ‌ها می‌شنیدیم…)؛ ص20؛ پایان نقل

نقل از متن:(- با خودم فکر می‌کردم هرگز نباید گفت هرگز، خصوصا درباره‌ ی خاطرات. ملت پیر می‌شوند و آدم حیرت می‌کند که چه چیزهایی را فراموش می‌کنند. مثلا چند هفته پیش به مادرم زنگ زدم تا تولدش را تبریک بگویم، هشتاد سالگی‌ اش را. گفتم: «شرط می‌بندم آرزو می‌کردی بابا زنده بود تا تولدت رو با هم جشن می‌گرفتین.»؛
گفت «ولی اون هنوز زنده است.»؛
«زنده‌ ست؟»
گفت: «البته. پس کی تلفن رو برداشت؟»؛
حالا تازه پنجاه سالم شده و یادم رفته پدرم هنوز نمرده!) (ص27)؛

نقل از متن:(- پدرم شبیه افسرهای نیروی زمینی بود، فقط به جای این که مثل آن‌ها آدم را داغان کند و بعد از نو بسازد بخش اول را انجام می‌داد و می‌رفت پی کارش.)؛ (ص39)؛

نقل از متن:(- راستش بعد از صرف آن همه وقت در هواپیما دوست داری وقتی از هواپیما پیاده می‌شوی، با یک دنیای کاملا جدید رو به‌ رو شوی، سیاره‌ ی عطارد مثلا، یا دست کم مکزیکوسیتی. ولی استرالیا برای یک امریکایی هیچ چیز جدیدی ندارد: همان خیابان‌های پهن، همان برج‌های اداری، کاناداست با شورت نخی، لااقل برداشت اول آدم این است.)؛ (ص77)؛

نقل از متن:(- سال 2004 پیشنهاد دادم که سیگاری‌ها برای امضای کتاب در الویت قرار بگیرند. دلیلش هم اینکه سیگاری‌ها زیاد عمر نمی‌کنند و وقتشان با ارزش‌تر است.)؛ (ص106)؛

نقل از متن:(- در آمریکا کسی از شما سئوال سیاسی نمی‌پرسد مگر اینکه راجع به سیاست نوشته باشید. ولی در خارج هرچی ازتان بپرسند سیاسی است، مخصوصا اگر امریکایی باشید. اگر تاریخچه‌ ی تزیین کیک را هم نوشته بودم باز هم ازم راجع به گوانتانامو و امضای پیمان کیوتو توسط کشورم سئوال می‌پرسیدند؛)؛ (ص109)؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/01/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 25/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews611 followers
February 18, 2015
You know I'm shocked by all the high ratings for this book. Maybe it's because I'm younger than the average David Sedaris reader, but my eyes were literally bleeding towards the end of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls. I don't even rate nonfiction, but I'm making an exception for this... thing that reads like the inane, self-absorbed ramblings of a Grampa Simpson type - 'when I was young...' I killed endangered animals, never got the approval of my dad, wrote a racist rant, got my passport stolen... is this supposed to be funny? Insightful? Flippant? No? Not even a little bit? Well, whatever it is, it's not funny, it's humorless, bitter, and offensive.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,256 followers
September 4, 2013
David's mah dawg, yo! I love this little guy!

I always listen to him read his own stuff in audiobook form, as opposed to reading it myself. I can't do his little elfin voice justice.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls is more of the same Sedaris: observations skewed by his quirky worldview, which produces within me squirmy giggles with the occasional guffaw explosion. This collection of essays gets an extra star on the rating from sheer worn-shoe comfort joy. It's no better than his previous books. Certainly not as introspective and tell-all as Dress Your Family Up.... It's just good, solid humor carpetted by light thought-bombs.

The topics this time around are mostly dominated by lots of travel stuff, obviously due to all the book tours he's done since becoming wildly famous. So, in a way he's turning into an irreverent, gay Rick Steves. Sedaris also spends a good deal of time writing about writing. In general, his material has become quite self-referential (no, I won't use the buzzword meta), and I fear that with his continued fame this is a trend on the rise. Luckily for me, he's one of those people that can make anything funny. It may get to the point when all he has left to talk about is the experience of writing the last thing he wrote, and I will read it, chortle or squeal, and tinkle in my trousers.
Profile Image for Gretchen.
67 reviews2 followers
December 4, 2013
I love David Sedaris but I HATED his last book, 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk'. I'm hoping he redeems himself here.

UPDATE: I read this book and I was happy to find short stories and essays. I laughed out loud many times. The story about the taxidermist is my favorite out of this collection.
Profile Image for Mark  Porton.
417 reviews366 followers
June 17, 2022
The wonderfully titled Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris was a real blast!

 

Sedaris at his best, small bites of la grecque cuisine deliciously smothered in a sauce of wicked, acerbic, and at times intimate hilarity imbued with an occasional, and somewhat surprising, persillade of vulgarity and abject cruelty. All sprinkled with macerated characters from his life, both family and strangers. I laughed a lot.

 

Highlights for me included Sedaris harping on about his daggy Dad. I could really identify with his father’s underpant home get-up. As soon as Dad came home from work, all clothes were shed except his undies. He would then happily open the door to strangers, receive guests and sit at the dinner table like this. It is such a relief to have my own behaviour externally validated. Hey it’s comfy!

 

The story about his dad banging on about how good or great - one of David’s classmates was at swimming, was hilarity at its underpant-wetting best. Seriously funny. His Dad wouldn’t stop going on about this other kid’s Olympic prospects, his manner, his looks, everything. One day David beat him (amazingly) and all Sedaris’ dad could offer in the car on the way home was “Only Just”.

 

Sedaris’ visit to a taxidermist was uncomfortably funny. He went there to purchase a stuffed owl. Something he had been obsessed about for quite some time. He needed one. (Sedaris seems to have these obsessions – for example, towards the end of the book – he asked Hugh for a plastic model of a human throat for a Valentine’s Day gift – oh my, that induced a spontaneous guffaw.) Anyway, back to the taxidermy shop, the taxidermist immediately identified David as a certain type of individual and didn’t hesitate at showing him his special collection, such as a stuffed pygmy he dragged out of a secret cupboard. Apparently, this poor person was shot back in the day – David Sedaris, as you would expect, had a number of questions whirling around his mind – the main question being - ”how much?”.

 

This Sedaris offering was slightly different from my previous experience as there are several short stories (4-8 pages) presented which have nothing to do with his direct life experiences. For example, in one memorable piece – the narrator was an intolerant conservative who was angry about the Government allowing Gay Marriage. ”What next -  marrying a pizza??”. There was also another great satirical piece where the narrator made a sign where she referred to the American President as an "Indonesian Muslim Welfare Thug Hands Off My Healthcare You Kenyan Socialist Baby Grandma Killer”. She asked her son for feedback, all he could say was “Well Mom…..it’s a little busy”.

 

Sedaris is a master of observation to be sure.

 

4-Stars

 

 

 
Profile Image for Michael.
655 reviews964 followers
April 20, 2020
A fast-moving collection of humor essays, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls takes on subjects well known to fans of David Sedaris. The essays center on the author's many travels, his writing, and his relationship with his father; several of the pieces rehash material he covers more effectively elsewhere, from early essay collections like Naked to his recent memoir Calypso. A set of short stories, more disturbing than entertaining, follows the essays, but it's best skipped. I think listening to the collection on audio made me like it more than I would have had I read it, since Sedaris’s voice always brings his writing to life, but I’d recommend more inspired collections to readers who are new to his work.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
July 8, 2013
As part of the promotional tour for this book, David Sedaris made a stop in a Barnes and Noble in my city, and I ended up going sort of by accident (I bought a copy of the book on a whim the day before the event and learned that, by purchasing the book, I had also unknowingly purchased a ticket to the reading the next day). It was a fun event - Sedaris is charming and adorable in person, and was very polite to the requisite crazy people who tend to show up at every author reading I've ever attended (I remember one particularly memorable woman at a Margaret Atwood reading who started out asking Atwood's opinion about Britney Spears and her costumes throughout the years, and ended by shrieking that "What they did to Britney was A SIN! It was A SIN!" and it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen). A word of advice for anyone attending a Sedaris event in the future, though: the man is chatty. There were only a few dozen people in line to get their books signed, but he stopped and talked with every single person, sometimes for almost five minutes each. It took a long fucking time, which I wasn't expecting, so be prepared for that. By the time it was my turn, I was just tired and didn't have anything fascinating to say, but he was very nice and asked me some polite questions as he drew an owl on my book, and then he offered me one of the chocolates that another fan had apparently made for him. I suggested jokingly that they had been poisoned, because I don't know how to talk like a normal human being, and he just kind of blinked at me, so I thanked him, grabbed my signed book, and ran. Anyway, add that to the list of Madeline's Awkward Author Encounters and let's get to the real review bit.

Like Sedaris's previous collections, the essays here can be divided into three categories: stories about Sedaris's childhood and early twenties, stories about his travels (usually featuring his boyfriend Hugh, who I'm sort of in love with), and essays written from the perspective of a fictional character. The last category is the hardest to spot, because often they'll have the exact same tone and voice as his other essays, so you assume that they're nonfiction until he reveals that the speaker is not, in fact, him. My favorite kind of Sedaris essay has always been the travel kind, and this book has plenty of those. I always love reading about his experiences learning new languages, and there's a good passage about the differences between Japanese and German lessons:

"There's no discord in Pimsleur's Japan, but its Germany is a moody and often savage place. In one of the exercises, you're encouraged to argue with a bellhop who tries to cheat you out of your change and who ends up sneering, 'You don't understand German.'
'Oh, but I do,' you learn to say. 'I do understand German.'
It's a program full of odd sentence combinations. 'We don't live here. We want mineral water' implies that if the couple did live in this particular town they'd be getting drunk like everyone else. Another standout is 'Der Wein ist zu teuer und Sie sprechen zu schnell.' ('The wine is too expensive and you talk too fast.') The response to this would be 'Anything else, Herr Asshole?' But of course they don't teach you that."

The essays dealing with Sedaris's childhood are distinctly bittersweet, because although they're still funny, there's an underlying sadness to them that's brought into the open much more than it was in his previous collections. This was the first time I had read anything about the abuse of the Sedaris children, and the saddest thing about these details was the way David Sedaris seems to calmly accept it as a normal part of everyone's childhood, which I don't think is true. Someone at the reading actually asked him about how his parents would beat him when he was a kid, and his response was essentially the same as it is in the book: he shrugged, and said that that was normal at the time and that he still didn't find anything unusual about it.
Profile Image for B.J. Leech.
13 reviews5 followers
April 30, 2013
Let's get one thing out of the way right now - David Sedaris is the preeminent satirist/essayist working and writing today. Maybe it's because of his radio readings or listening to his audio books, but his is a distinctive voice that fills your head as you read his work. For me, I can't help but think as I read a Sedaris essay that he's standing right there next to me, speaking word for word what is written on the page, which makes for interesting mental company.

When I delved into "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls" (a great title if ever there was one), I expected the same rat-a-tat yet subdued sarcasm that made his other works so completely hilarious. Perhaps it was those expectations that contributed to my disappointment in this latest effort. There is still the trademark wit of Sedaris's prose and observations, but it also comes with a sizable dose of regret, disappointment, and an undercurrent of mid-life crisis. It almost seems in this book that Sedaris is coming to terms with being at the 'half-way' marker in life and can't quite believe how little has changed since his youth. It's a familiar theme that has been described many times before, but I was hoping that Sedaris would bring a fresh perspective to it. Instead, the theme seems to creep into his humor and sour it. Sedaris explores death, the regret of missed opportunities(or misunderstood, as in the essay "A Guy Walks Into A Boxcar") fear and the idea of helplessness (in particular during an essay that recounts an attack on his sister Gretchen). Not that there is nothing to laugh about in this work - the essay in which he describes a colonoscopy is classic Sedaris... that is to say, hilarious - but there seem to be too few moments of levity in what turns out to be a heavy tome.

The last half of the book offers up some fictional social commentary as Sedaris takes on the guise of various characters steeped in conservative ideology. The first story, in which a man murders his wife, adult daughter, and mother-in-law as a reaction to legalization of gay marriage, rings a bit hollow and seems more harsh than funny. Then again, I can understand Sedaris's anger at living in a society that still denies him the rights afforded to others - I just hoped that he would approach it with a more measured and biting style than the rather unimaginative product put out in this book. However, the piece about the woman who plans to join a Tea Party march in Washington by enlisting the help of her son is quite funny. While I don't find Sedaris's fictional efforts to be his strong point, the latter is the sort I would hope to see more of from him in the future.

It's disappointing when an writer steps out of his or her expected realm to try new things and doesn't quite deliver; but in the case of "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls", it also allows for a reflection on one's own life, missed chances, regrets - and the hope that at the end of this day, another one will present new chances and new opportunities tomorrow. And if not, you'll at least have enough snark on hand to mock it appropriately.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,389 reviews1,469 followers
February 7, 2017
David Sedaris is a unique American humorist. Sometimes I love his essays and other times I hate them, so ranking a collection of his work fairly is difficult. I listened to the audiobook of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls on my daily commute and he's a wonderful narrator. Actually, having read a handful of his other books, I'd recommend listening to him read his essays. His timing and inflections are perfection. He's one of the few humorists who has literally made me laugh out loud.

The high points of this collection are Understanding Understanding Owls, Laugh Kookaburra, and A Guy Walks into a Bar Car. They're unbelievably funny and have a lot of heart. The low points were: Health-Care Freedoms and Why I want my Country Back, If I Ruled the World, and Dog Days. It's as if he ran out of material and tacked the worst of it on the end. Dog Days was awful and reminded me of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary which I couldn't stand. Vulgar prose just isn't my thing, I guess.

Recommended for adult readers who are looking for a laugh and don't mind some profanity and general silliness. More humorous books that I've enjoyed: Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, Dad Is Fat, and It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,071 reviews31.3k followers
March 20, 2020
I needed this at the moment. The Coronavirus is pretty heavy and I will admit it's easy to get swept away in the cloud of panic hanging over the world and anxiety is high with most people right now. I would get in my car while all this was going on and listen to David spin his witty tales about life and his family and for the brief time I was in my car I was laughing and forgetting the anxiety of the world for the moment.

I don't think this is his best collections, but there are plenty of laughs to be had and the levity was much needed. I think these laughs are important. I need to find some more funny authors and just run through them in my car. Who knows, I might not be driving so. As acupuncturist, we are part of the medical field and we are still open to help people, but that could change soon. Then I will need it in my home to listen too.

The is something comforting to hear the neurotic stories of David that I have heard for years and it feels normal, a reminder of life that was normal. I know we will get through this and life will go on, but this is like 9/11 and life will change after this happens. It's good to hold onto the laughs from another time until the new laughs can come. I'm sure people will take this and help lift our spirits with comedy. Stephen Colbert is doing a decent job right now. I think laughter is a great medicine and we need that right now.

Stories in this book are:

Dentists Without Borders
Attaboy
Think Differenter
Memory Laps
A Friend in the Ghetto
Loggerheads
If I Ruled the World
Easy, Tiger
Laugh, Kookaburra
Standing Still
Just a Quick E-mail
A Guy Walks into a Bar Car
Author, Author
Obama!!!!!
Standing By
I Break for Traditional Marriage (The also got a laugh out of me)
Understanding Understanding Owls
#2 to Go
Health-Care Freedom and Why I Want My Country Back
Now Hiring Friendly People
Rubbish (This one made me hee-haw. I love it.)
Day In, Day Out
Mind the Gap
A Cold Case
The Happy Place
Dog Days
Profile Image for Xandra.
295 reviews235 followers
April 12, 2017
I needed a laugh and Sedaris didn't disappoint. A few times I was laughing so hard, I expected angry neighbors to kick in my door and duct tape my mouth shut while shaking their heads disapprovingly or sighing theatrically at the evidence that I have finally gone insane. It’s not just the jokes and the context they’re in, it’s also the parallels I can draw with my own life, with my own cynical personality and my facetious nature. And a bit of empathy is essential when it comes to memoirs.

For full disclosure, I should mention that this is the first David Sedaris book I've read and it was great. On the surface, all the trivial experiences presented here are not that interesting. Just boring little life stories most of us don’t pay attention to let alone write down in a diary to ponder on them days or, god forbid, years later. What makes them interesting is David Sedaris’ voice, his wit, his irony and, occasionally, his depth.

Here we have the blistering drama of the middle class dysfunctional family in 1960s U.S., the nostalgic recounting of missed chances, the joyous preparations for an author tour, the morbid fascination with the skeleton of a Pigmy girl in a taxidermy shop on Valentine’s Day, the cultural peculiarities of foreign countries, the harassment women have to deal with, Obama drama, a poem about dogs and six fiction stories in which Sedaris impersonates different types of people in order to mock their ugly traits. I could have done without the fiction stories which I consider to be the low points of the book.

If I were to choose, A Guy Walks into a Bar Car would be my favorite story because it blends humor with nostalgia with some touching moments that hit home for me, but they’re all very strong pieces.

Now, if only I could get the damn Kookaburra song out of my head…
Profile Image for Melki.
6,039 reviews2,391 followers
December 9, 2013
Yay! David Sedaris is even older than I am. (Every year it gets harder and harder to find someone who is...) BUT, he IS close enough in age that we are basically contemporaries, therefore, his gripes are my gripes, and this makes me happy.

Like Sedaris, I can clearly remember mundane incidents that occurred in third grade - the day THAT BASTARD, Marty W., pushed me down in the playground and tore my favorite pants (true, they were plaid, so maybe he did it as a favor), but, no, I cannot remember the birth of my first child. He CAME OUT OF ME, and I don't remember it happening!

And I, too, get annoyed that no one dresses up for air travel anymore:

It's as if the person next to you had been washing shoe polish off a pig, then suddenly threw down his sponge saying, "Fuck this. I'm going to Los Angeles!"

Maybe it was just the right book at the right time, or maybe it's due to the jittery stage of life I'm currently experiencing, but from the joys of colonoscopies to finding the perfect taxidermied owl, I loved every essay in this book.

I guess the only question still remaining is how am I going to get my mother-in-law, a woman who still sends me regular e-mails about the distinct possibility of President Obama's being born in another country, to wear a conical-shaped hat emblazened with the words:

Another
Savvy
Senior
Hopes
Obama
Loses
Everything
Profile Image for Jessaka.
902 reviews138 followers
August 30, 2019
’s Explore Sedaris

While I loved Sedaris' other book, Calypso, at first I was not so fond of this book and found it rather depressing. Not funny, Sedaris, I thought to tell him. Perhaps, Sedaris isn’t always supposed to be funny. I don’t know.

There were just too many Dad stories. His verbally abusive father is a person that I would rather not think about or be around, much less desire to write about. Let sleeping dogs lie. So, I did not laugh much at all when listening to his father stories. But as I later found out, I had fallen to sleep when listening to his rants about his father, and when I awoke, and actually much later, I realized that I had missed many other stories.

But before going on about the other chapters, there was one about his putting baby Logger Head turtles in an aquarium when he was a boy, and the horrible deaths of these three creatures, which felt like listening to a science project, as in, what happens when you don’t clean their little home and don’t feed them.

Such is youth if you have parents that are not “aware” as they say and do not teach their children the value of animal life. Anyway, that was a bummer story. It will probably remain in my mind forever just as my sociopath psychiatrist boss came in to work one day and talked about frogs dying in water that was slowly heated up. Whenever the story pops up in a book or article, I cringe.

But hey, my parents were not “aware” either and it took me many years to know the value of animal life. I recall burning ants with a match as they were crawling up a tree, and this just for the fun of it. But that was temporary and I didn’t do it but once or twice. But who knows what else I had done. Well, I remember, I shot frogs at the river once. Once was enough, and I still think about those frogs from time to time. Yet, I have known adults who still like to hunt, who still kill gophers in their yards, etc. I have cats for the latter, but we don’t have gophers. Never had. Used to have mice. And is it any different than buying meat? While the Buddhists think it is, I don’t. Yet, I eat meat. Just not much. So, actually, I haven’t really learned the true value of all life, except that I know that you sometimes have to eat meat in order to survive or even be healthy.

Sedaris just tells it like it is, I suppose, and lets the chips fall where they may. Maybe that is why people like him. Me, I wonder how he comes up with these strange stories. I like that he is quirky and can deliver a story extremely well and that many of them are very funny.

Whereas, a person he had narrating one or two of his books bored me because they couldn’t tell the story like he could. The delivery was all wrong. May as well read it myself, and when I read humor myself it is often not funny. It must be the punchlines that I cannot deliver. Anyway, I gave up on those books. Then I actually tried another one of his books that was narrated by Nick Sullivan. He is an excellent reader for when listening to him I almost forgot that it was not Sedaris speaking.

Next, I discovered that I had missed his other
chapters in this book, all because I had fallen to sleep in bed, at night. So I went back to listening. The father torture stories were over with. There must have only been about 4 of them. Sedaris was back to his funny self. He had lightened up. I was once again a happy camper.

He talked about Rubbish. He and Hugh had moved to beautiful Sussex, England and had bought a run down cottage. I could relate, but instead of hiring workers like they had, my husband and I remodeled our house ourselves.

Then I learned that he always went down his road and picked up garbage thrown out of cars. I have done the same. As I listened to his stories, they were much like my own. I had found a kindred spirit. I thought of him and me going down my road picking up garbage and talking about the horrible people who thought that our world was a garbage dump. I thought of my chiropractor who had gone to another state in the U.S. and saw no garbage. Yes. NO garbage. It was a colder state, maybe Minnesota. I just remember it began with an M. and that it was cold there. I think now that it is so cold there that people don’t open their car windows to toss out garbage.

Then he wrote a chapter on President Obama. Pretty funny. He voted for him for the same reason that I had. He gave great speeches. I miss Obama so much.

Next he was speaking about Trump. Then he talked about Jesus returning and how heads would fall. He also talked about Christians and their wish to rule the world. Doesn't everyone wish to rule the world? It's good he can find humor in it all. I wish I could

And with all the madness in this world that is at the moment since Trump is the center of it all, I am so grateful that Sedaris’ is here to cheer me up or even put me to sleep.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,145 reviews2,763 followers
March 28, 2020
Given the times, I needed something light. And David Sedaris fits the bill of light but quirky. Driving down the road, I was laughing out loud at the image of buying a preserved human arm or head.
The essays aren’t uniformly funny or interesting. But the good outweighs the bad.
I had to wonder if younger folks would appreciate the stories involving David’s youth. We older folks remember the hard drinking, smoking parents that wanted nothing more than to be left alone. It brought back a lot of memories for me.
A warning - if foul language, talk of sex or bodily functions bothers you, steer clear. There’s one essay on body waste in China that turned my stomach. The stories at the end I found to be weak. It’s too easy to make fun of idiots. I expect better of Sedaris.
I did enjoy hearing Sedaris read his own works.

Profile Image for mohsen pourramezani.
160 reviews133 followers
May 11, 2016
جدیدترین اثر «دیوید سداریس» طنزنویس امریکایی است که در سال 2013 منتشر شده. مانند بقیه‌ی کتاب‌هایش، در این کتاب نیز خاطراتش را به زبان طنز روایت می‌کند. این کتاب شامل 21 جستار از 27 جستار کتاب اصلی است.
مثل بقیه‌ی کتاب‌هایش روان و جذاب بود. وقتی آخرین بخش کتاب را می‌خواندم که در مورد عادت خاطره‌نویسی‌اش بود و اینکه چندین جلد دفتر خاطرات دارد، تازه می‌فهمیدم که چطور اینقدر خوب می‌تواند خاطرات را با جزییات به یاد بیاورد و اینکه این همه سوژه را از کجا می‌آورد. کتاب‌های سداریس ��لاوه بر اینکه برایم جذاب و خواندنی هستند، جنبه‌ی آموزشی از لحاظ طنزنویسی هم دارد.

http://choobalef.blog.ir/1394/10/30/%...
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,483 reviews7,780 followers
October 1, 2018
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

3.5 Stars

It appears at this point in my life (at least until the road construction is completed and my commute stops sucking balls every day) I will be listening to each David Sedaris collection on an endless loop . . . . .



Okay, I do have to remark about how much tastes change. In my initial little blip of “I like it, it was gud” from years ago I commented how I enjoyed the final segment featuring tiny fictional selections. Who the fuck was I back then? While I still appreciate the story behind these stories (for those of you not in the know, Sedaris decided to start writing these for people to perform in Forensic competitions), there is ZERO chance I would ever want to sit through anything aside from “Six to Eight Black Men” if I was a parent forced to attend one of these events.

Now? It appears to be time to learn how to dress my family in corduroy and denim : )
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,393 reviews4,902 followers
July 15, 2021


Humorist David Sedaris rummages through his life to compose the entertaining anecdotes in his books. Sedaris's stories range from his childhood, through his drug-hazed young adulthood, to his successful career as a writer and speaker.

Sedaris was brought up in a large family; had a varied higher education (he dropped out a lot); held an assortment of jobs; met his life-partner Hugh; traveled widely; lived in Europe; and met many memorable people.....and he writes about all of it.



Among other essays in the book Sedaris writes about his father, who liked to hang around the house in his boxer shorts; was captivated by a boy he thought was 'a future Olympic swimmer' on David's pre-teen swim team; touted Donny Osmond as a role model; spanked David for refusing to stop singing 'Kookaburra' after bedtime; constantly put David down; nagged (adult) David to get a colonoscopy; and more.

As a child David was hurt by his father's incessant criticism and was convinced his dad would have preferred the prize-winning swimmer as a son. David also resented his mother for not interceding on his behalf, and constantly 'stirred the turd' - his mother's term for diverting negative attention to his siblings: too fat; gets bad grades; etc. David's stories about his family are funny, but also a little heart-breaking.

In other essays Sedaris talks about his compulsion to record everything in his diaries.....to the point he has no time to actually DO things; the people in France censuring Americans before the 2008 election, certain we wouldn't elect a black President; giving condoms and hotel shampoos to teens who come to his readings; his entire colonoscopy.....from the induced diarrhea before to the obligatory farting afterwards; 😁 and much more.


David Sedaris giving a reading

*****

Here are snippets from some stories I found especially amusing and/or memorable:

- Sedaris went to a taxidermy shop in London, looking for a stuffed owl to give his boyfriend Hugh for Valentine's Day. The store had a couple of owls, but not the one David really wanted: a barn owl with "a spooky white face like a satellite dish with eyes."


David Sedaris (right) with his boyfriend Hugh Hamrick



Barn owl

Sensing an interested customer, the shop owner brought out some "odd bits and pieces": a pygmy skeleton from a victim shot for sport; a man's hairy forearm, lost during a bar fight; and the 400-year-old head of an adolescent girl from South America. Afterwards, Sedaris mused, "The taxidermist....looked into my soul and recognized me for the person I really am: the type who’....could easily get over the fact that [the pygmy] had been murdered for sport, thinking breezily, Well, it was a long time ago.” 😏


Pygmies with a Caucasian man

*****

Before Sedaris takes a trip to a foreign country he tries to learn a little of the language using a Pimsleur Language Program. The humorist didn't have time for a Mandarin program prior to a jaunt to China, so he made do with a phrase book. The book was divided into chapters like Banking, Shopping, Border Crossing, etc.

One section, labeled 'Romance' had expressions like:
- Would you like a drink?
- You're a fantastic dancer.
- You look like a cousin of mine (which would only work if you're Asian....and is kind of creepy anyway 🙂).

A sub-section labeled 'Getting Closer' contained phrases like:
- I like you very much.
- Do you want a massage?
- I want you. How about going to bed?

Sedaris notes that the booklet didn't include the translation for "Leave the light on".....a MUST if you actually want to say any of these things. He pictures the vacationer naked on a bed squinting into his or her little book to moan, "Oh yeah! Easy tiger!".....and so on.

*****

Sedaris always chats with the people who come to his book signings, and advises that "the trick is to ask the right person the right question." One time a young woman stepped up to the table and David went blank, finally blurting out, "Uh....um....er.....when did you last touch a monkey?"

The gal took a step back, saying, "Oh. Can you smell it on me?" Turns out she worked for 'Helping Hands', an organization that teaches monkeys to assist paralyzed people. 😎

*****

When Sedaris visited China he was appalled by the sanitary conditions (or lack thereof). The Chinese people were constantly dredging up phlegm and spitting it out everywhere - on staircases, escalators, sidewalks, walls, and so on. If people weren't spitting they were coughing without covering their mouths or shooting wads of snot out of their noses. Over dinner one night, a woman acquaintance told David, "We Chinese think it's best to just get it out."

Another thing Sedaris noticed were the turds. Beijing had an "overwhelming amount of shit" - some from pets, but a lot from people. Chinese babies go without diapers, and - when they have to go - their parents direct them to the curb. One friend told David she saw a child go in the produce aisle of Walmart. To which David replied, "They have a Walmart here?" 😄

(I'm not sure I buy this story about China, which seems exaggerated.)

*****

At the end of the book Sedaris includes six monologues that teenagers can use for 'Forensics Competitions", in which participants memorize and deliver previously published short stories or essays.

Sedaris's 'forensics stories' are generally more sardonic than funny, but I got a few laughs.

In one story, a self-satisfied woman slowly reveals that she stole her newly paralyzed sister's husband and wed him at a grand affair; in a second tale, a man goes crazy when same-sex marriage is legalized, and murders his wife and daughter; and in a third monologue, a high school coed goes on a class trip to England and returns completely 'anglicized'.....with a British accent and a slew of britishisms. This story really IS funny.

I listened to the audiobook of 'Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls', narrated by David Sedaris, and found it very entertaining. I'd highly recommend the book to people who like humorous memoirs.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Wendell.
Author 40 books60 followers
July 7, 2013
It is no happy work to break the hearts of tens, but I can do nothing less than my duty. So here it is: David Sedaris is not funny. He is not clever, observant, witty, pithy, or trenchant. He is not deadpan or droll.

What he is, is not funny.

I do not argue that he has never been funny or that he may never be funny in some theoretical future. I argue that he is specifically, painfully not funny in Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, his latest book of “essays, etc.” (and it’s that “etc.” that should warn you off like a double-red pennant at the yacht basin).

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls has all the penetrating insight of your slightly tipsy Uncle Irv doing his Jerry Seinfeld impression (“So what is the deal with corn on the cob, anyway? I mean, c’mon!”).

Come to think of it, even Jerry Seinfeld would be bored by Sedaris’s hollow riffs on the absurdities of modern life, and that’s a man who would claim to find gently ironic humor at a suicide bombing.

A few of the treats in Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls:

- China. The food isn’t anything at all like what you’re used to from the food court at the mall, plus the Chinese have an entirely different take on personal hygiene, if you know what I mean. Also: did you know they eat cats?
- Parodies of the illogical beliefs of conservative Christians. A quickie to bulk up the manuscript. Actually two quickies, if we’re counting. I could have done these as fill-in-the-blanks, but it’s my barrel and my fish and I’m shooting them. Get your own book contract.
- Colonoscopies. Isn’t it weird that they knock you out and stick things in your ass? Some people go to jail for that. There’s an irony for you! Ha ha! Plus a lot of stuff about flatulence—a guaranteed crowd-pleaser if ever my agent saw one.
- British bureaucracy. Six months to get a stamp on your passport. Is that crazy or what?
- Online language courses. How come they teach you things like “The hat of my aunt is on the table” and never anything useful? I’ll bet no one’s ever mentioned that to you before, have they? Have they? Huh? Huh? Well, have they?

When I checked this book out from the library, the librarian tapped the cover with her fingernail and said, “This book is so funny. You’re going to love it.”

It isn’t, and I didn’t. This book is David Sedaris getting a hernia in the desperate attempt to be funny, failing pathetically, and still expecting people to send him on book tours and pay his publisher $27 American per hardcover copy.

No wonder our public libraries are going to hell.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
January 16, 2016
David Sedaris makes me laugh.

I love to read, want to encourage reading every chance I get, but here, in this one instance, let me invite potential readers to listen instead. Sedaris’ books are hilarious, but to truly enjoy and to really understand the David Sedaris experience, you need to listen to him read his essays and sketches. The audiobook is the key. His delivery, nasal and borderline effeminate, is perfect. Sedaris has the timing of a veteran comedian and he is just too funny.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, his 2013 collection of essays, short stories and observations might be my favorite work from him that I have read so far. David walks us through his childhood in North Carolina and we visit again his family and partner. Sedaris is also a world traveller and his wit and sharp eye for detail abroad make for some memorable and hilarious scenes.

A funny, enjoyable visit with a talented man.

description
Profile Image for Anne .
455 reviews376 followers
June 24, 2022
4.5 stars

I thought I had listened to every possible David Sedaris book published until I recently read a review of this book by Mark. What a book to miss. Funny went from big smile to guffaws to stomach hurting laughter. The latter most memorably from the essay "Easy, Tiger," about learning foreign languages. There wasn't a single essay that I did not enjoy.

FYI, this book has little of Sedaris' darker side.

I listened to this book with Sedaris narrating. For anyone who has not heard this author reading his books I recommend giving it a try. His narration adds to the hilarity factor.

Thank you, Mark!
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews605 followers
December 14, 2013
I enjoyed some parts of the book more than others.

I kept thinking ---It would have (always would be) much more fun to 'hear' David Sedaris reading these stories -rather than read them to myself.

It wasn't my 'favorite' book --yet I laughed. (and was touched)

Plus, how can anyone 'not' smile just saying 'David Sedaris's name! :)

Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,542 reviews12.9k followers
December 30, 2017
The hi-larious humorist David Sedaris returns for another collection of rib-tickling, side-splitting… ok, enough of that! But Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls isn’t a bad read and a few of the essays had me LOL-ing hard though it’s definitely not as consistently good as his other books.

His Homer Simpson-ish dad steals the show whenever he crops up, thundering about David’s childhood home in his underpants with a drink in his hand. In Attaboy, he chokes out a neighbourhood boy he wrongly mistakes for having called his wife a bitch, but, hey, it was the late ‘60s/early ’70s and that’s just how parenting was! And the kid got some shit ice-cream so fair’s fair!

Standing Still was my favourite story. David’s sister Gretchen is almost raped walking home late at night and, during the police interview, they ask if her attacker was wearing short or long pants. She says long. Sedaris writes “My father slapped his palm on the tabletop. ‘There you go,’ he said. ‘NOW we’re getting somewhere!’” before buying a baseball bat and prowling the neighbourhood in his car seeing if he can catch his daughter’s would-be rapist himself (a situation made all the more loaded by the fact that it was a black man and this was in North Carolina!).

Easy, Tiger also made me laugh as Sedaris reviews the differences between learning Japanese and German languages on tape. This scenario appears on both: a wife announces to her husband that she wants to buy something - in the Japanese one, the husband asks her how much she has, she tells him, he offers to increase it; on the German one the husband replies coldly “I’m not giving you any more. You have enough.” Oh, Germany!

That said, most of the essays are fairly ordinary and unmemorable without anything funny or impressive happening. It’s very noticeable that the best stuff is largely from Sedaris’ childhood/wayward youth while his recent stuff isn’t nearly as interesting. It’s like a successful band who spent years crafting their first record and made it big then their second album is all uninspired guff about the road and hotels; most of Sedaris’ recent essays are about going on book tours and travel, while the ones that aren’t - going to the dentist, getting a colonoscopy, buying a stuffed owl, getting into picking up litter - are equally humdrum and mundane with just the occasional sparkling sentence to tide you by (from the essay, Rubbish: “My arms are scratched from reaching into blackberry bushes for empty potato chip bags, of which there are a never-ending supply, potato chips in the UK being like meals in space. ‘Argentinean Flame Grilled Steak’ a bag will read, or the new ‘Cajun Squirrel.’” - as a Brit I can confirm this is a very wry, very true observation of the insane variety of crisp flavours!)

Also included are six fictional monologues dotted throughout, all of which are mega-crappy and added nothing. Most are predictably liberal caricatures of conservative stereotypes - easy, unimaginative targets to make fun of. These were definitely the worst parts of the book. It’s no surprise Sedaris made his name with nonfiction if this is the quality of his fiction.

There’s enough decent material here to make reading it worthwhile for most David Sedaris fans, and the book as a whole is well-written and easy to read, so Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is a decent-enough read. But I definitely think that unfortunately at this point we’ve seen his best stuff in his earlier, far funnier, books and the occasional gems amidst the growing amount of dross is the most we can expect from him going forward.
Profile Image for Amy | littledevonnook.
201 reviews1,196 followers
March 21, 2016
I really disliked this book. I honestly have no idea how this book makes people laugh.

I consider myself to have a pretty dry 'British' humour and it felt like David Sedaris was attempting to do this but completely missed the mark. I kept pushing myself through hoping the bigger joke was coming along and I was suddenly going to understand it all but it was just crude and pretty vile in places. Sedaris successfully manages to insult so many different people in this book that I spent the whole time wondering how this managed to get published.

The book simply highlights Sedaris as an extremely arrogant and bigoted man whom I know I shall never read another book from. First one star review of 2016!
Profile Image for Vanessa.
463 reviews302 followers
October 25, 2020
Every so often I need a Sedaris fix and this collection was just what I was needing. Even though I read this I could clearly hear his voice in my head and that just makes it all the better.
Profile Image for باقر هاشمی.
Author 1 book248 followers
May 21, 2019
این کتابِ سداریس از یکی دو کتاب دیگه‌ای که ازش خونده بودم شخصی‌تر بود. خاطرات‌طور بود اما طنز بود. طنز بود اما مبتذل نبود. تعلیق داستان‌هاش به این صورت بود که انگار یک داستان رو برات تعریف می‌کرد و تو آخر داستان باید از خودت می‌پرسیدی: پس منظورش چی بود؟ این بود که...

نظر خود سداریس هم درباره‌ی نوشته‌هاش همچین چیزیه:
چیزی که می‌نویسم واقعه‌نگاری نیست بلکه یک‌جور خاطره‌نویسی مدل قدیمی دخترانه است، از آن‌هایی که آدم رویش می‌نویسد دست نزنید، منظورم شما هستی. اغلب این دوتا را جای هم به‌کار می‌برند و نمی‌فهمم چرا. به نظرم واقعه‌نگاری مخزن ایده‌هاست-مغزتان را خالی می‌کنید روی کاغذ. ولی در خاطره‌نویسی قلب است که بر کاغذ می‌آید. واقعه‌نگاری، کلمه‌ای که همزمان با آلبوم بریده‌ی مجلات به‌وجود آمد، یعنی شما قاطی هستید و وقت اضافه هم زیاد دارید.
Profile Image for Johanna.
95 reviews3 followers
May 8, 2013
The most embarrassing part about writing a review of a David Sedaris book is the moment when you realize that what you are really trying to do is to write a David Sedaris-style essay. Something cute about how you were reading his book on the subway and you started laughing so hard that even the drunk homeless people moved away from you, but slowly because they hoped you wouldn't notice. You'd segue into a bit about how this made you realize that even when everyone around you makes you feel like a singular freak, you can still feel a profound connection to this man you've never met, because when he writes about his crystal meth addiction and being paddled by his father, he does it SO WELL that you actually think to yourself (contrary to all the evidence), "That's just like MY life!". Then of course you realize that your enterprise is doomed, because David Sedaris is David Sedaris and you are just you, and no, he probably wouldn't want to hang out with you in real life because, well, obviously.

Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,146 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.