Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002” as Want to Read:
Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  17,671 Ratings  ·  2,295 Reviews
David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed
Hardcover, 514 pages
Published May 30th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Theft by Finding, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
KATHLEEN He did not act afraid. I think women are taught to be afraid of spiders and snakes when all we need do is respect the venomous ones.
"Don't worry,…more
He did not act afraid. I think women are taught to be afraid of spiders and snakes when all we need do is respect the venomous ones.
"Don't worry, spiders
I keep house
Ashlee From the book's introduction: "In the U.K., if you discover something of value and keep it, that's theft by finding.”

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Elyse Walters
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook- read by David Sedaris

Overall I really liked listening to David read his diaries.
I liked it a lot...but it grew on me. I only listened to about 1 or 2 hours of it a day. It was 13+ hours long in length. I would have gone crazy listening ‘or’ reading this type of book without breaks.
There ‘is’ a tedious feeling when David reads a date of a diary entry - followed by another date/location and paragraph type diary entry...on and on and ON!
Some of it didn’t feel any more personal than cal
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Before I even begin this ramble, I feel a disclaimer should probably be provided regarding these 4 Stars. If you have not yet had the privilege of experiencing David Sedaris’ essays, you most definitely should not begin with Theft By Finding. Pick up any one of his other collections and read that first. Then repeat. Repeat again until you reach superfan status and you’ve started fantasizing about how delightful it would be to wear him
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
Dear Diary, I read this book recently that was completely in diary format since the author had, in fact, published 25 years of diary entries, (Volume I apparently), that started when he was about 20-21 years old and has continued on ever since. He started off with brief statements and observations of his day. I guess 1977 to 1983 are his really "bleak" years. Which are typical when you're young, broke and no real goals in life. I think many of us could relate. He's starting to sound a little hum ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
David Sedaris explains in the Introduction of his new book that “in the U.K., if you discover something of value and keep it, that's theft by finding.”

Thus a great title was born, and it suits the general theme of David's diaries. But, I have a suggestion for two alternative titles for this collection, one borrowed from Garth Brooks: "Friends in Low Places" and the other stolen from William Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors.

Before I proceed, I want to clarify: I am a Sedaris lover, not a hater.
Rebecca McNutt
Every year it seems in any undergrad English class, the works of David Sedaris pop up as expected reading material. I did like the basic concept of this book, but the humor to me seemed very vulgar and not particularly funny, and the stories themselves were wallowing in the depravity of the worst life has to offer, going nowhere and presenting stuff that was either totally pointless or just weird. Maybe it's just my sense of taste, but to me a pornographic magazine story about a (view spoiler) ...more
Rachel León
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
David Sedaris is funny. And he's funny in his own way. It's like his humor comes in its own flavor that you can't find anywhere else. Which is why when he has a new book come out, it's an event.

This book is a collection of Sedaris's old diaries. I winced at the idea for a minute, then decided it'd still be worth reading. I wasn't wrong. This book is funny, introspective, and interesting. It's not the best intro to Sedaris for new readers, but fans will enjoy it.

Shawn Mooney
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2017
It's a free country. Anybody can write about any old thing they want in their diary, of course. But it is beyond me why in this highly selective published version of his Sedaris would choose to include so many—dozens and dozens of—entries that record in great othering detail his observations of disabled and mentally ill strangers. I have long had a complicated relationship with his writings; now I'm turned off of him probably for good.
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
David Sedaris is so authentically David Sedaris. This first collection of his diaries reveal him as everything you'd expect, and want, him to be, and reading it only made me love him more. The feeling of being in the backseat (or perched on the handlebars of his bike, perhaps) as he struggles through his early years is both incredibly reassuring and, of course, hilarious. There is so much fantastic observational humor in this: Sedaris spends loads of time just sitting in various IHOPs and writin ...more
Matthew Quann
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, memoir
I think this is my first Goodreads review of a Sedaris book, but I've been a fan for a good while before that. My first exposure to Sedaris was with the excellent When You Are Engulfed in Flames audiobook. With his black humour, wry observations, humanist stories, and morality that never feels cheesy, Sedaris had me hooked. So I was pretty excited when I saw there was not one, but TWO new Sedaris books dropping this year.

A bit of a disclaimer that should have been evident to me from the book's c
May 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, quit
I gave the audiobook a try, but quit after a couple of hours and returned it to Audible- I think I was up to 1984. It is too bleak and filled with tiny little details about everyday life, but without the insights I expect from a Sedaris book. I don't really want to hear about the crazy stuff he did while on meth- that isn't entertainment for me.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoirs
"I'm not a misogynist. I'm a misanthrope. I hate everyone equally."

This is a book for established Sedaris fans. I say this because I'm not sure one can truly appreciate if they haven't read his other work (or at least some of it).

I love his style of humor. Very intelligent, but also so silly and twisted. I was captivated even by the most mundane stories. He has a way of making anything interesting. Looking forward to the next volume!
Julie Ehlers
July 1, 1979, Raleigh, NC

It's been a couple of days since I've written. Friday night I took some LSD and arranged five yellow Kodak boxes in the front yard. It was good acid. It made me notice color a lot, and I could read and not get depressed. Saturday I took some crystal and spent all night doing rubbings of envelopes. Now I'll be off for three days.

I found out that Jack and Mary, the night managers at work, secretly refer to me as "the space cadet." God, that makes me mad.

[insert laughing-un
I don't listen to NPR, and I'm not a huge David Sedaris follower. I have read 3 of his books after this one, and seen him live once - so I do know his stuff pretty well.

Theft by Finding is classic Sedaris form, wry, witty, fully of oneliners and based on his extraordinary powers of observation. It deals with the mundane for the most part, but makes that mundane interesting with remarkable stylistic affect and a fantastic sense of voice.

Especially if you listen to this one, you will notice how Mr
Giss Golabetoon
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only reason it took so long to finish this is because I bought it on iBooks and the only time i had to read it was on the bus to work, anyways, it was worth it. Sedaris manages to be funny writing his diary and recounting daily routine to himself, he's very good with sarcasm and self sarcasm. Loved it
I’ve read six of David Sedaris’s humorous collections of personal essays; a college friend first recommended him to me in 2011. When I heard he was publishing his selected diaries, I wasn’t sure I’d read them. I knew many of his essays grow out of episodes recorded in the diary, so would the entries end up seeming redundant? I’d pretty much convinced myself that I was going to give Theft by Finding a miss – until I won a proof copy in a Goodreads giveaway. This is the first volume, covering 1977 ...more
Jason Koivu
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Theft by Finding is like a b-sides and rarities album, a retrospective that includes a bunch of old stuff, rough cuts, alternative versions of the hits, etc. It's designed for preexisting fans of the artist. They're the ones yearning for this sort of material. I'm one of them.

This might also be enjoyable for non-fans, who just like a good salacious diary, something that feels gossipy and gives you the sense that dirt has been properly dished. Most of this dirt however is on himself and the dirt-
da AL
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for Sedaris' typical style of book, this isn't it. It begins with his usual poking at the absurdities of life but soon turns from dark to bleek. He writes with sincerity about grappling with the many challenges of life, from bigotry to death, family to success. Thank goodness for Hugh. Twentyfive years is a huge chunk of life, in his case dealing with the making of his career, then of navigating it, and of finding one's place in the world as well as love. His writing and readin ...more
Book Riot Community
I am a die-hard David Sedaris fan. I’ve read all of his books, and I want to keep it that way. So when I heard last month that he had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it ASAP. Lucky for me, Book of the Month club offered it as an add on. I snapped it up right away, hit ship immediately, and watched for my box. Theft by Finding had me laughing out loud. Since it’s an edited down version of Sedaris’s diary from 1977 to 2002, it revisits many of the antics and obsessions is readers will ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
“In the U.K., if you discover something of value and keep it, that's theft by finding,” she told me. “You're supposed to investigate whether it was lost or stolen, though in this case – five pounds – of course you're fine.”

Theft by finding. It was, I thought, the perfect title for this book.

I've read quite a bit of David Sedaris and his collections of wry and biting essays, and I think it was in Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls that I first learned his work method: Walking around every day with
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought maybe this book would be slow going because it's 500 plus pages of diary, but it didn't. I found his life mostly interesting and enjoyable. He sees the world in a unique way that I somehow identify with. This book will probably be something that Sedaris fans enjoy more than someone who hasn't read any of his work. If you are new to Sedaris, I recommend starting off with "Me Talk Pretty One Day."

In this diary collection, David Sedaris finds everyday life circumstances entertaining. I th
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A MUST-READ for Sedaris fans. This sort of feels like a behind the scenes look at David's life. It's truly admirable that he's been keeping a journal all these years and explains how he writes his fabulous, funny stories. Not to mention he's honest, observant, kind, and a humble guy.
Jill Hutchinson
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor

What is is about David Sedaris' books that appeal to me so much?
* Is it that they are, like Seinfeld, about nothing?
*Does he remind me of George Carlin without the dirty words?
* Is it the stream of consciousness style?
* Is it his sense of the ridiculous?
*Is it all of these or none of the above?

Whatever the answer, the books provide whimsy, sadness, chuckles, and outright laughter and this large diary covers his years between 1977 when he was broke and cleaning houses for a living through 2002
T.D. Whittle
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
This is worth reading if you are a die-hard Sedaris fan. For me, it was also poignant because my young adult life in NYC overlapped with Sedaris's own, and I worked in the book world at the time. We moved in overlapping circles, in overlapping neighborhoods. I attended his readings, hosted him at our shop, and passed him on the street from time to time. The upshot of this is that much of what he wrote about during the 1980s and 90s reminded me of some events and experiences in my own life that I ...more
Book of the Month
Master of the humorous essay (and Book of the Month Judge), David Sedaris has built a career based on his witty observations about everyday life, and his diaries contain a treasure trove of raw material that shaped his distinctive writing. Theft by Finding is a 24-year spree of notes, recounted conversations (that ear for dialogue as honed as ever!), Christmas lists, overheard jokes, recipes, and straight up hilarity. A must-read for any Sedaris fan, this is the perfect book to flip through at r ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I feel so bummed out having finished this because I know I won't read something else this good for a long time.
Debra Komar
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I adore Sedaris and this is a strange and wonderful view into his life. It starts slow - as he warns us it will - but once he moves to New York and becomes serious about writing, it is magical. Watching him fall in love with Hugh and become a writer is a joy. There are the usual brilliant one liners and the cutting observations of odd people. It never feels mean-spirited, Sedaris always finds the humanity.

On a side note, I have seen Sedaris read a number of times over the years and h
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, reviewed
I'm a big fan of David Sedaris, an author who takes the chaos of the world, sometimes even the worst challenges, and spins it into a unique view. But, you know those fiction books that pretend to be, say, "found manuscripts which prove grandpa was a vampire..."? Some of these "Diaries" sort of feel that way, as some entries (toward the end of this book) are constructed so beautifully, leading to a typical Sedaris punchline, that you just gotta remember what Sedaris tells us in his introduction: ...more
Angie Six
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received Theft by Finding: Diaries as an ARC from Little, Brown.

Bedtime is safe again. For several nights in a row, my poor husband would be almost asleep when I would bust out laughing while reading an entry from one of David Sedaris' diary entries. Let's just say he was not amused. I've been a David Sedaris fan for nearly 20 years and have been looking forward to this book for months. For that reason, I'm not the most unbiased of reviewers. If you've read and enjoyed previous Sedaris books,
My introduction to Sedaris was as a reference librarian. A patron had heard a piece on NPR and wanted to track down the author and title. This was, of course, pre-Internet, and even calling our local public radio station didn't elicit the answer...until I heard Sedaris myself reading Santaland Diaries on NPR as I returned to work from a dentist appointment. He'd find that ironic, I think. And thus began my love affair with Sedaris reading his own work, including a chance to see him perform live. ...more
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
Update 3/8/18: I gave this book another try and listened to it on audiobook instead. Much better choice! The author narrates, which I always enjoy. The first half was still a bit more tedious, but the second half is closer to his other essays. It was fun to witness the transformation from Sedaris as young, broke and frequently high to older, wealthier and extremely successful in his career. Some of the entries were less interesting than others, but it was easier to "zone out" listening to the au ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Audiobooks vs Print Books 4 12 Jul 09, 2018 11:10AM  
ACPL Online Book ...: David Sedaris - The Early Years 6 21 Sep 25, 2017 11:29AM  
TLP Book Club: How far are you guys? 1 4 Aug 10, 2017 09:41AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #38 Theft By Finding (David Sederis Diaries) 1 3 Jul 31, 2017 06:23AM  
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 Fa
“That's the thing with a diary, though. In order to record your life, you sort of need to live it. Not at your desk, but beyond it. Out in the world where it's so beautiful and complex and painful that sometimes you just need to sit down and write about it.” 11 likes
“Real trouble doesn’t walk around with a ponytail. It doesn’t have a Mohawk or special shoelace patterns. Real trouble has a bad complexion and a Windbreaker.” 8 likes
More quotes…