It is a bibliophile’s thrill to have a favorite book signed by its author. For the second year in a row, thousands of David Sedaris fans had the opportunity to hear him read at Wolftrap, and those willing to stand in line before or afterwards could meet the author and have their books signed. Sedaris read from his latest book, Theft by Finding, derived from his diary entries of 1977-2002. He also read some new stories that have yet to be published.
The author revealed information about his work in progress, such as the title for the second volume of his diaries, still a couple of years from being published – Carnival of Snackery. Inspiration came off the menu of an Indian restaurant in London. Sedaris often chooses titles based on absurd phrases he happens upon- a curation habit that aligns with his knack for documenting pithy occurrences of everyday life.
The question and answer period uncovered more tidbits about the author’s life and work. Sedaris was asked about Carol, the semi-tame fox that lived near his home and would walk beside him. Sadly, Carol was killed by a neighbor- “because he used to have chickens” the author fumed. When asked for advice about public speaking, Sedaris explained that he always takes time to talk with his readers during book signings before shows. This enables him to get a feel for his crowd, and he pictures those people he’s met in the audience as he speaks.
Sedaris fans often ask him for book recommendations, and August 19th was no exception. He recommended Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible. The latter is a collection of stories he describes as simply astounding in an unassuming way, without show-offish turns of phrase.
He reported that he listens to many audiobooks while completing several miles per day of walking. Recently he was amused by a Joan Crawford memoir on audio, My Way of Life, read by the author (not owned by FCPL). He also let drop that any short story by Lorrie Moore is the first thing he’ll read in The New Yorker.
Quirky and clever, Sedaris doesn’t disappoint in person. Whether or not you were able to catch Sedaris, be sure to enjoy some of the free upcoming author visits at Fairfax County Public Library and Fall for the Book.
-Suzanne Summers LaPierre, City of Fairfax Regional Library