Reviews for A Carnival Of Snackery

by David Sedaris

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Sedaris's second collection of diary entries are more cosmopolitan and assured than his first collection, Theft by Finding, which covered 1977–2002. In spite of Sedaris's new financial security and his homes in Europe and the United States, the core of his personality and insecurity—which draws so many to his writing—remains. Sedaris is curious about the world, particularly its tawdry or ugly sides, and constantly aware of his role and complicity in that ugliness. His style of engagement means finding humor in nearly everything, often in ways that may elicit discomfort, though he is serious when it comes to tragedies such as mass shootings. For this reason, some will see his book as unsalvageable. Yet selected and edited as it is, his work is about radical vulnerability and reflects a universal experience of contending with one's internal life. "Who am I, how did I get to be this way, and what is wrong with me?" is a question Sedaris asks, and one worth asking. VERDICT Entertaining reading in itself, with references to some of the books he published in this era; a must-read for Sedaris's many fans.—Margaret Heller, Loyola Univ. Chicago Libs.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Surely Sedaris has shared enough of his life in his audaciously funny and poignant essays, showcased in his first selected collection, The Best of Me (2020). Not so! His judiciously edited diaries, beginning with Theft by Finding: Diaries, 1977–2002 (2017) and continuing here, cast more light on his omnivorous curiosity, habit of vigilant observation, acid wit, and impishness. Mesmerizing and jolting, Sedaris recounts his seemingly perpetual world tour of literary performances with gleanings from his voracious eavesdropping and nervy chats with fellow passengers, drivers, and restaurant and hotel staff. Sedaris claims, “I just can’t for the life of me figure out what to say to people,” the instigation for the outrageously cheeky questions he asks fans who wait in hours-long lines to talk with him. Sedaris records his passions for collecting “rudeness stories” and picking up litter in his West Sussex environs, and how the latter effort inspires his community to dedicate a garbage truck to him. Sedaris’ shrewdly sketched world travelogue, hilarious anecdotes, and frank reflections on loved ones, and life's myriad absurdities and cruelties major and minor, make for a delectably sardonic, rueful, and provocative chronicle.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Sedaris' books are like a beloved, long-running sitcom; fans don't want to miss a word.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The second volume of diaries by Sedaris (after Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002), who navigates the early 21st century wealthier but still bemused. The flashpoints of the modern era—the Iraq War, Ferguson, Trump, Covid-19—pop up throughout these entries, but mainly so the author can sail past them with his usual irreverence. For example: “When the pandemic hit, my first thought wasn’t Oh, those poor dying people but What about my airline status?” His bottomless capacity to make everything about him doesn’t read as selfishness or ignorance, though; as with all good comics, the particulars of his life are stand-ins for everybody’s foibles and frustrations. Traveling the world for readings, Sedaris takes note of every culture’s peculiarities, from spitting on the street in Tokyo to offensive insults to language quirks—e.g., Tagalog is like “English on quaaludes.” Sedaris treats his own life as a kind of foreign country, too. After moving from his longtime home in France to England, he began his hobby of picking up litter (documented in Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls), and the reactions of his neighbors, not to mention the trash itself, provide comic fodder. Family matters were trickier during this period: His troubled sister, Tiffany, killed herself, and his elderly but resilient father still treated him like a failure. Because Sedaris traveled all over the world during this stretch, the tone and form of the diaries shift; he’s sometimes glib, sometimes contemplative, sometimes content just to catalog funny stuff he overhears. So for better or worse, he’s a humorist who’ll go anywhere. This book contains one of the best jokes about the Crucifixion you’re likely to hear, along with a few subpar quips: “To honor the death of Marcel Marceau I observed a minute of silence." A rich trove for hardcore Sedaris fans, though no more personally revealing than his well-shaped essays. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The second volume of diaries by Sedaris (after Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002), who navigates the early 21st century wealthier but still bemused. The flashpoints of the modern erathe Iraq War, Ferguson, Trump, Covid-19pop up throughout these entries, but mainly so the author can sail past them with his usual irreverence. For example: When the pandemic hit, my first thought wasnt Oh, those poor dying peoplebut What about my airline status? His bottomless capacity to make everything about him doesnt read as selfishness or ignorance, though; as with all good comics, the particulars of his life are stand-ins for everybodys foibles and frustrations. Traveling the world for readings, Sedaris takes note of every cultures peculiarities, from spitting on the street in Tokyo to offensive insults to language quirkse.g., Tagalog is like English on quaaludes. Sedaris treats his own life as a kind of foreign country, too. After moving from his longtime home in France to England, he began his hobby of picking up litter (documented in Lets Explore Diabetes With Owls), and the reactions of his neighbors, not to mention the trash itself, provide comic fodder. Family matters were trickier during this period: His troubled sister, Tiffany, killed herself, and his elderly but resilient father still treated him like a failure. Because Sedaris traveled all over the world during this stretch, the tone and form of the diaries shift; hes sometimes glib, sometimes contemplative, sometimes content just to catalog funny stuff he overhears. So for better or worse, hes a humorist wholl go anywhere. This book contains one of the best jokes about the Crucifixion youre likely to hear, along with a few subpar quips: To honor the death of Marcel Marceau I observed a minute of silence." A rich trove for hardcore Sedaris fans, though no more personally revealing than his well-shaped essays. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Surely Sedaris has shared enough of his life in his audaciously funny and poignant essays, showcased in his first selected collection, The Best of Me (2020). Not so! His judiciously edited diaries, beginning with Theft by Finding: Diaries, 1977–2002 (2017) and continuing here, cast more light on his omnivorous curiosity, habit of vigilant observation, acid wit, and impishness. Mesmerizing and jolting, Sedaris recounts his seemingly perpetual world tour of literary performances with gleanings from his voracious eavesdropping and nervy chats with fellow passengers, drivers, and restaurant and hotel staff. Sedaris claims, “I just can’t for the life of me figure out what to say to people,” the instigation for the outrageously cheeky questions he asks fans who wait in hours-long lines to talk with him. Sedaris records his passions for collecting “rudeness stories” and picking up litter in his West Sussex environs, and how the latter effort inspires his community to dedicate a garbage truck to him. Sedaris’ shrewdly sketched world travelogue, hilarious anecdotes, and frank reflections on loved ones, and life's myriad absurdities and cruelties major and minor, make for a delectably sardonic, rueful, and provocative chronicle.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Sedaris' books are like a beloved, long-running sitcom; fans don't want to miss a word.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

The celebrated humorist returns with more offhand observations on the weird and tiresome in these sparkling diary excerpts. Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day) riffs on life with his partner Hugh Hamrick as they brave awkward dinner parties; his obsession with picking up trash; the personal inconvenience of societal upheavals (“I was thinking of my beloved shops,” he frets during a 2020 looting outbreak—“What’ll happen if there’s nothing left for me to buy!”); and the colorful, quotable eccentrics who materialize everywhere he goes. (“On my way for a coffee this morning, I passed a man with an umbrella on his head... ‘The devil will fool you,’ he told me.”) The proceedings are saturated with Sedaris’s trademark irony, wherein the search for energizing squalor ends only in the purgatory of the banal. “I’d like to see angry orphans and drunk people fighting,” he notes at the start of a Bucharest sojourn, but at its conclusion he’s trapped on an airliner as “the woman in front of me shoved her seat all the way back and the woman next to her put on some horrible melon-scented hand cream. I couldn’t have been any more miserable.” They may not stick to your ribs, but Sedaris’s memoiristic nuggets are always tasty. Agent: Christina Concepcion, Don Congdon Assoc. (Oct.)

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