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A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003-2020

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There’s no right way to keep a diary, but if there’s an entertaining way, David Sedaris seems to have mas­tered it.   If it’s navel-gazing you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street, pedestrians being whacked over the head or gathe There’s no right way to keep a diary, but if there’s an entertaining way, David Sedaris seems to have mas­tered it.   If it’s navel-gazing you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street, pedestrians being whacked over the head or gathering to watch as a man considers leap­ing to his death. There’s a dirty joke shared at a book signing, then a dirtier one told at a dinner party—lots of jokes here. Plenty of laughs.   These diaries remind you that you once really hated George W. Bush, and that not too long ago, Donald Trump was just a harm­less laughingstock, at least on French TV. Time marches on, and Sedaris, at his desk or on planes, in hotel dining rooms and odd Japanese inns, records it. The entries here reflect an ever-changing background—new administrations, new restrictions on speech and conduct. What you can say at the start of the book, you can’t by the end. At its best, A Carnival of Snackery is a sort of sampler: the bitter and the sweet. Some entries are just what you wanted. Others you might want to spit discreetly into a napkin.


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There’s no right way to keep a diary, but if there’s an entertaining way, David Sedaris seems to have mas­tered it.   If it’s navel-gazing you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street, pedestrians being whacked over the head or gathe There’s no right way to keep a diary, but if there’s an entertaining way, David Sedaris seems to have mas­tered it.   If it’s navel-gazing you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street, pedestrians being whacked over the head or gathering to watch as a man considers leap­ing to his death. There’s a dirty joke shared at a book signing, then a dirtier one told at a dinner party—lots of jokes here. Plenty of laughs.   These diaries remind you that you once really hated George W. Bush, and that not too long ago, Donald Trump was just a harm­less laughingstock, at least on French TV. Time marches on, and Sedaris, at his desk or on planes, in hotel dining rooms and odd Japanese inns, records it. The entries here reflect an ever-changing background—new administrations, new restrictions on speech and conduct. What you can say at the start of the book, you can’t by the end. At its best, A Carnival of Snackery is a sort of sampler: the bitter and the sweet. Some entries are just what you wanted. Others you might want to spit discreetly into a napkin.

30 review for A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003-2020

  1. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    A Carnival of Snackery takes its name from a sampler offering on a menu David Sedaris once perused. It’s a fitting title, because what he’s offering readers of his latest book is essentially a feast of little word snacks. Unlike his essay collections, this is 576 pages / 17 hours of short and seemingly random diary entries. Basically, if your most jaded, unfiltered self kept a journal of your daily experiences, conversations, and thoughts, it would look like this. I always feel compelled to add A Carnival of Snackery takes its name from a sampler offering on a menu David Sedaris once perused. It’s a fitting title, because what he’s offering readers of his latest book is essentially a feast of little word snacks. Unlike his essay collections, this is 576 pages / 17 hours of short and seemingly random diary entries. Basically, if your most jaded, unfiltered self kept a journal of your daily experiences, conversations, and thoughts, it would look like this. I always feel compelled to add the disclaimer that humor is subjective when sharing my thoughts on a book written for laughs, but never more so than when it’s for one by Sedaris. His brand of humor is unquestionably un-PC and often offensive. Sometimes it works for me, and sometimes it feels too cynical and mean-spirited. A Carnival of Snackery DID mostly make me laugh, a lot. It has loads of jokes I felt compelled to relay to my husband, but I’d never feel okay sharing in mixed company. If off-color isn’t your color, Snackery is not for you. Also, if you voted for Trump, you’ve wandered into the wrong section of the bookstore and should redirect yourself accordingly. David Sedaris is not your people. Like always, I chose the audiobook format since Sedaris is such an artful storyteller. While he narrates a large portion of this one, Tracy Ullman also performs large sections. His reasoning is that listeners often assume he’s a woman, so he might as well lean into that and have a little fun. It is a Carnival, after all. Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    3.5 Absurdist king of the universe! I’m a fairly new Sedaris groupie. I went cuckoo over Calypso and When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and I have his other books on my short list. Sedaris is hysterical and cynical (in a laugh-y kind of way), and he sees the absurd in everything. He’s a really talented looker. I mean, I look and look, and so much of the time I miss the funny; I need new glasses so I can see it better. Meanwhile, he gets me going and makes me go down my own memory lanes of the absurd 3.5 Absurdist king of the universe! I’m a fairly new Sedaris groupie. I went cuckoo over Calypso and When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and I have his other books on my short list. Sedaris is hysterical and cynical (in a laugh-y kind of way), and he sees the absurd in everything. He’s a really talented looker. I mean, I look and look, and so much of the time I miss the funny; I need new glasses so I can see it better. Meanwhile, he gets me going and makes me go down my own memory lanes of the absurd—and make lists, lol (my favorite occupation!) and for that I’m grateful. It’s a good book when it can make you remember funny stuff. This book is a collection of journal entries from 2003 to 2020. It’s chock full of goodies—jokes, bumper stickers, T-shirts, and bizarre conversations, especially on planes and at book signings. And there are puns galore; he’s one clever guy. As he mentions in the Preface, his entries have a lot to do with mice, litter, and travels. Who isn’t all ears when you hear THAT list? One very cool thing he does is incessantly collect litter, which he says has become a habit. He does this where he lives part-time in England. The town has even named a garbage truck after him! And his travel! I had no idea he went to so many book readings—and all over the world! There are millions! (He had numerous readings in Asia, which surprised me for some reason.) He prefaced each entry with the location, which made it look like he was on the road nonstop, switching from one far-away city to the next without a break. In fact, he just didn’t include a lot of entries in-between his trips. Makes sense—his travel provided a lot of copy; when he was home there was less excitement, less people to talk to. Occasionally, there’s an entry that he already used in his books of essays, but it wasn’t annoying because I liked hearing about the scenes again. A couple of times we got to hear about where his weird book titles came from. For example, his book Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim came as a direct quote from his partner, Hugh’s, dream! Really fun! In the Preface, he says this: “Given a choice between writing about the Arab Spring uprisings and a beggar calling out—as one recently did to a woman walking ahead of me—'Hey, you got a hole in your ass’—I’ll go with the latter.” This sums up his take on reality perfectly, and it’s a world where I want to live, too. But despite my groupie-ness, I have two big complaints: -This book is LONG. 576 pages long. I kid you not. Had I known the page count, I wouldn’t have requested a review copy. It’s not fun to read short entries for such a long time. At least with a novel, you have something that flows, happenings that go together. Here, there are snippets of fun and wisdom, but they don’t relate to each other. There are some less funny moments that could have been edited out. Actually, he could have made more money by keeping all the content but making it two books instead of one. Readers would have bought both, I know it. But let’s be clear—despite its zillion pages, I was never bored. It was just choppy is all. -He crosses the line once, and it’s really not okay. Part of Sedaris’ charm is that he’s outrageous. He has “snarky” down pat, and it’s hard not to crack up. And occasionally he tells you something just for the shock value (e.g., a dog with his eye falling out, ewww!). Well, once, he went too far. It was a joke about pedophilia. I can barely write this, it made me feel so sick. The fact that he could say something so twisted, let alone think it, messes with my head. I love him, but how can I love someone who says THAT? He says another thing that crossed the line, but it’s not as egregious. This one showed contempt for his audience (he wrote an obscene and mean autograph), and I just hate it when a celebrity disses their innocent and loyal fans like that. I can handle crude (which these things are), but here he goes from crude to disgusting and immoral. The first comment I spoke of made me want to puke; the other one just left a really bad taste in my mouth. I struggled with how to rate this one. The hugundous page count and the severe Line Crossing both detracted from my enjoyment of the book, so instead of giving it 4 stars, which was my original plan, I’m settling on a 3.5, rounded down. The unfortunate thing for me is that my love for Sedaris will forever be tainted because of that one horrible joke he made. That sucks. I still want to read all his books, but I’m not as excited about it as I used to be. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Strange, strange, strange… This book is a collection of Sedaris’ diary entries from 2003-2020. While it was an interesting reminder to see what was happening in some of the earlier years, and there were some wild stories, there were also chunks that just didn’t work for me. At over 500 pages, there's a lot of material here and it’s very uneven. A tighter editing job was needed. I did learn a new phrase. Who knew vaginal tenacity was the female equivalent of “balls”? I do recommend the book for th Strange, strange, strange… This book is a collection of Sedaris’ diary entries from 2003-2020. While it was an interesting reminder to see what was happening in some of the earlier years, and there were some wild stories, there were also chunks that just didn’t work for me. At over 500 pages, there's a lot of material here and it’s very uneven. A tighter editing job was needed. I did learn a new phrase. Who knew vaginal tenacity was the female equivalent of “balls”? I do recommend the book for those that love to see the weirdness in humans. If you like looking at pictures of Walmartians, you’ll probably enjoy this book. If you cringe at poor grammar, you’ll recognize yourself in Sedaris. If you love horrible jokes, you’ll have fun. I didn’t so much laugh at the stories as shake my head. If political incorrectness offends you, stay far, far away from this book. In summary, as you would expect from Sedaris, it’s a weird book. If you’ve not read Sedaris before, I would recommend starting with one of his books of essays instead of this. My thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown for an advance copy of this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Angie Kim

    I love listening to David Sedaris. I love reading his essays, too, but to me, listening to him read his own essays is just a different experience altogether. I love how honest he is in these diaries, saying things that sometimes make me cringe. I know this is ridiculous, but it makes me feel closer to him, like we're actually friends or something, to listen to him CONFIDE in us (because that's what it feels like, that he's confiding some of his most shameful secrets, trusting that we won't judge I love listening to David Sedaris. I love reading his essays, too, but to me, listening to him read his own essays is just a different experience altogether. I love how honest he is in these diaries, saying things that sometimes make me cringe. I know this is ridiculous, but it makes me feel closer to him, like we're actually friends or something, to listen to him CONFIDE in us (because that's what it feels like, that he's confiding some of his most shameful secrets, trusting that we won't judge him too harshly). I'm now going to google whether his father is still doing okay...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura Sackton

    I guess I'm over David Sedaris. I loved Theft By Finding, his first volume of diaries, and now I have no idea if that book was a lot less ableist and offensive than this one, or if I've just lost my patience for white men's bullshit. In any case, while there are some truly hilarious and delightfully weird anecdotes and observations in this, there are also lots of ableist jokes, outdated and offensive language, and this whole exhausting attitude along the lines of "why are young people so sensiti I guess I'm over David Sedaris. I loved Theft By Finding, his first volume of diaries, and now I have no idea if that book was a lot less ableist and offensive than this one, or if I've just lost my patience for white men's bullshit. In any case, while there are some truly hilarious and delightfully weird anecdotes and observations in this, there are also lots of ableist jokes, outdated and offensive language, and this whole exhausting attitude along the lines of "why are young people so sensitive, it's so sad I can't make offensive jokes in peace anymore!" I was turned off by Sedaris when I saw him live a few years ago and he opened the night by talking about how annoying microaggressions are. That's also how he ends this book—by complaining about microagressions and how things have changed so much (he's annoyed by the term Latinx). And I get that being mean and judgmental is kind of his thing. But it's just not funny. It's exhausting and frustrating and gross. I did a lot of cringing while listening to this. And those cringey parts made it much harder to enjoy the truly funny bits, because in the back of my mind I was just thinking, wow, just another white man taking up space and refusing to accept and celebrate...actual progress. Being mean and grouchy and judgmental and fascinatied by the grotesque is one thing. Being blatantly ableist and calling it funny is something else, and it's not something I want any part of.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I have loved David Sedaris since listening to his first book and have to say 'A Carnival of Snackery' is my favorite to date. Tracey Ullman narrates the sections David does not, and she is fabulous. David discusses his life between 2003-2020 with raw honesty, and this is what makes him such a favorite of mine. He has no shame in his game and speaks about his life with no filter. From gay marriage, to his bigoted father, the loss of his sister, Trump politics, racism, and the general idiocy and i I have loved David Sedaris since listening to his first book and have to say 'A Carnival of Snackery' is my favorite to date. Tracey Ullman narrates the sections David does not, and she is fabulous. David discusses his life between 2003-2020 with raw honesty, and this is what makes him such a favorite of mine. He has no shame in his game and speaks about his life with no filter. From gay marriage, to his bigoted father, the loss of his sister, Trump politics, racism, and the general idiocy and ignorance he finds around him in his daily life. David has a huge heart and it shines bright when he visits his father who now resides in a nursing home. He expresses how sad he feels to see him losing his cognitive skills and physical abilities. The forgiveness and compassion is palatable. - and what a good example for me in my own life. I belly laughed so hard it hurt (and also shed a few tears) as David discusses the good, the bad and the ugly of his life. A truly a matchless phenom in the art of storytelling, no one can transform random everyday mundanities into stomach aching hilarity like he does. - Soooo incredibly grateful for the many hours of sheer joy and laughter he has brought into my life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    We listened to this together during our son's recent visit. We listened while on our southern road trip, continued after we arrived back home, and finally finished it in the departures lane of the airport, before waving our son off on his journey back to England. I loved the narration, which was a sort of relay back and forth between the author and Tracey Ullman, whom I discovered in the 1980s in England. It was truly delightful to hear her voice again, especially as she performed different acce We listened to this together during our son's recent visit. We listened while on our southern road trip, continued after we arrived back home, and finally finished it in the departures lane of the airport, before waving our son off on his journey back to England. I loved the narration, which was a sort of relay back and forth between the author and Tracey Ullman, whom I discovered in the 1980s in England. It was truly delightful to hear her voice again, especially as she performed different accents and dialects. In fact, having two narrators added depth and kept me engaged. There were moments when we laughed out loud, others where we recoiled in disgust, and others still where we leaned right in and listened intently. I felt a sense of being alongside this flawed and unique person who is David Sedaris, as if he were telling me about his experiences in an intimate setting. I felt especially moved by his accounts of the medical tests he has undergone, and when listening between-the-lines of his relationship with his father. One phrase that stood out to me was when Sedaris talks about his parents' relationship and asks of himself and his siblings, "What did we know of the wear and tear, the slow bleed of a thirty-five year marriage?" I think that sums up the book for me, it's about a mature adult aging into seniorhood, a realization of what do we really know about our parents' relationship, and an understanding that we are stepping into our parents' shoes, as they age into whatever's next after this life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Frank and Scott went to an Indian restaurant the other night and took a picture of the menu, which offered what it called “a carnival of snackery.” Carnival of Snackery is about as random and shallow as that opening quote suggests: Covering the years 2003-2020, David Sedaris returns with the second volume of his personal diaries, but unlike Theft by Finding (which I thought was fascinating and illuminating; I’ve read a lot by Sedaris and seeing the source material felt like a gift), this foll Frank and Scott went to an Indian restaurant the other night and took a picture of the menu, which offered what it called “a carnival of snackery.” Carnival of Snackery is about as random and shallow as that opening quote suggests: Covering the years 2003-2020, David Sedaris returns with the second volume of his personal diaries, but unlike Theft by Finding (which I thought was fascinating and illuminating; I’ve read a lot by Sedaris and seeing the source material felt like a gift), this followup feels a bit forced. Put a different way, and using an expression I don’t really like, the first volume — written when Sedaris was struggling and figuring himself out — felt like “punching up”, whereas this half — featuring an aging Sedaris who is oddly preoccupied by getting “edgy” about marginalised communities — feels like “punching down”; but maybe even lazier than that, maybe “pointing down”. Sedaris still has the rare gifts of close observation and turning what he sees into clever and biting commentary, but it gets a little rote here; he has perfected his style, and even in his so-called personal diary, he’s writing for an audience. There were laughs, but also some cringing, maybe even some sighs of irritation. (Note: I read an ARC through NetGalley and passages quoted may not be in their final forms.) “What did people do before they took pictures of everything?” I whispered to Dawn as we accidentally invaded one photo after another. It was just as bad later on at what amounted to the Village of Yesteryear, a re-creation of a Bedouin encampment. There were a lot of Russians there, all raising their cell phones. The camera has replaced actual looking and turned life into evidence. It drives me crazy. David Sedaris has written before that he deliberately puts himself out into the world every day, looking for experiences and conversations to write down in his notebook; he might not be looking at the world through his cellphone, but I don’t get the sense that he lets himself just freely experience life (without, you know, turning it “into evidence”.) This book has Sedaris travelling between his homes in England, France, and the U.S.A., circling the globe on an endless book tour, and if he isn’t soliciting a hired driver’s life story, he’s asking audience members at his book signings to tell him a joke. And he gets plenty of great material that way. He also runs across a surprising number of mice, monkeys, and slugs, and when he’s not writing about some morbid fascination he has with people who are missing limbs, he’s writing about a morbid fascination he seems to have with people in wheelchairs: After wandering through bookstores yesterday, I went to the British Museum for a piece of cake. Beside me sat an English family with three children, the youngest of whom was in a wheelchair. The boy looked happy enough, but surely it was momentary. A pleasant half hour in the café and then it was back to a lifetime of being patronized and stared at. I was just admiring his bravery when his mother rolled him away from the table, and I saw that his leg was in a cast. Then I noted that the chair was a rental and put it together that he wasn’t crippled, just laid up for a few weeks. This sort of thing has happened before, and it always leaves me feeling betrayed — as if the child had intentionally aroused my pity. I dunno — I guess that has the classic set-up, misdirection, punchline of a standard joke. How about this one: At Marks and Spencer I emptied my basket onto the belt, saying, “I don’t need a bag, thank you.” Then I watched as my cashier, who wore a badge reading HEARING IMPAIRED, put my items into a bag and charged me ten p. for it. When we tell the disabled they can do anything they want in this world, don’t we mean that they can invent a new kind of alarm system or write a book about loneliness — something, well, that can be accomplished at home? Is that edgy, or cruel? What about: I saw in the Tribune that starting September 1, all Marriott hotels will go completely nonsmoking, meaning that I will never again stay at a Marriott. Also in the news is the continued bombing of Lebanon. Fifty children were killed on Saturday and because there’s no wood for coffins, wild dogs are eating their bodies. I read that and thought, Really, all Marriotts will be nonsmoking? Yeah, I don’t get a lot of yuks out of dead children jokes. “A man loses his soul when he has two houses or two women.” This is an old Italian proverb and though I’d love to reject it, I suspect that truer words were never spoken. It was Stefania who quoted it to me, and after it had sunk in, I asked if a man might regain his soul by having three houses. “I don’t think it works that way,” she said. “Four?” I don’t really know how many homes Sedaris owns (because this is a diary and not a comprehensive narrative, he can note that he’s buying a new house without mentioning selling a different one, but he does stop referencing his French country home after buying the English country home; that leaves the Paris and London apartments, the North Carolina oceanside property, the apartment in the Village, and the Upper East Side duplex), so what does that do to a man’s soul; to an artist’s soul? (At a minimum, I think he’s won Monopoly.) Sedaris reports telling people he’s rich (while always refusing the change people ask him for on the street), and he apparently told his father that he doesn’t need to worry about the Sedaris family name dying out so long as he has nine million books in print, and I guess you have to be really well off to wear expensively shredded clothes from Comme des Garçons, or joke that the worst thing about the pandemic was losing Executive Platinum status on American Airlines. Honestly, I think he was funnier when he was hungrier. I didn’t just turn older this year — I turned old. There wasn’t a specific single moment when I slipped over from middle age; rather, it was gradual, the change not so much physical as mental. There are so many things I don’t understand now. Our constant need to rebrand, for instance. Someone politely referred to me as “queer” not long ago, and I was like, Oh no, you don’t. I was queer in the 1970s, and that was enough for me. Now in his sixties, at least Sedaris is aware that he’s too establishment to really pass himself off as subversive; even the cussing and sex jokes aren’t really shocking to a modern reader (and the mocking of less powerful groups [including children] just seems in bad taste.) I understand that these are diary fragments; I also understand that Sedaris writes these entries with a future audience in mind and was able to select which bits to use for this volume, and I guess I just wanted something rawer and truer.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scratch

    Very reluctant 3 stars. David Sedaris didn't expend enough effort upon this book. Random diary entries are stitched together, basically in chronological order, but jumping around between countries without explanation. This isn't like some of his earlier, fantastic works. "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and "Naked" both had actual chapters, and those chapters had some careful thought put into themes. Even "When You are Engulfed in Flames" used diary entries to chronicle his progress in quitting smoking a Very reluctant 3 stars. David Sedaris didn't expend enough effort upon this book. Random diary entries are stitched together, basically in chronological order, but jumping around between countries without explanation. This isn't like some of his earlier, fantastic works. "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and "Naked" both had actual chapters, and those chapters had some careful thought put into themes. Even "When You are Engulfed in Flames" used diary entries to chronicle his progress in quitting smoking and learning Japanese. Not so here. There are many entries that mention David Sedaris' knowledge of foreign languages, but these are scattered and confusing. He learns a few phrases of Ukrainian, but doesn't ever tell the reader whether he sticks with it to try to become fluent. He mentions French and a smattering of other languages. There is even a scant reference to learning a single sentence of ASL toward the end of the book. The reader is just left confused by how many languages one man needs to learn. Towards the end, the book resolved itself into chronicling the pandemic and social unrest we all were living with through 2020. And Biden's election to the presidency. Of course, by that point the book was covering material that all of us have lived through, so it became both more interesting and less interesting at the same time. I actually enjoyed the article Sedaris wrote several years back about the death of his sister, Tiffany. I believe the title was, "Now We are Five," or something to that effect. It was poignant and relatable, particularly for any of us who have relatives like Tiffany. (My sister-in-law has the exact same personality as Tiffany and nearly all the exact same problems.) But if fans loved that article, they are in for a bit of an emotional tailspin with this book. The events immediately leading up to her death, and shortly after, are still included in this book. But the article itself, going into the meatier facts and emotions surrounding her death, are all gone. Instead, we have meaningless unrelated vignettes, some lasting less than a page, wherein David Sedaris writes down jokes he learned from audience members at book signings. Disappointing. Final point-- One diary entry contained a truckload of information. David Sedaris was apparently raped by 3 different men, and he agrees that that is a large number. Then, after nearly 30 years together, David finally learned his long-time boyfriend Hugh had also been raped once as well. ... These revelations appeared in one diary entry, and were never followed up on. If Sedaris had written a book just about homosexual rape, I would have read the fuck out of that. No, not because I love rape, but because I am also gay and was raped. There is so much untapped material there. He could describe each of the rapes, as well as his shame/fear that it happened again. He could go into the homophobia of the 80s and 90s that led him to believe he couldn't report it. Some measure of dry, self-deprecating humor would make such a difficult subject more tolerable. People could scold me that this subject might be way too emotional for Sedaris. But, to be fair, he spent so many pages talking about his colonoscopy, his father's incontinence and looming death, and his sister's suicide. He even volunteered the information about his rapes; he just didn't follow up with the details. David Sedaris-- take the time to write a real fucking book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Arienna

    David Sedaris touches on this in his last chapter but I think he's aging out of this game. He doesn't understand the modern world well enough to make witty observations about it and his life is so privileged just observing his own world has gotten a bit uninteresting. I still bought the book and moderately enjoyed it but it dragged on, much like catching up with an old friend who's gotten really into a lot of things you have no interest in. David Sedaris touches on this in his last chapter but I think he's aging out of this game. He doesn't understand the modern world well enough to make witty observations about it and his life is so privileged just observing his own world has gotten a bit uninteresting. I still bought the book and moderately enjoyed it but it dragged on, much like catching up with an old friend who's gotten really into a lot of things you have no interest in.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rennie

    I’ve liked reading his diary volumes more than I’ve liked his last couple of essay collections. I loved Theft By Finding so much that I was checking publishers’ catalogs every year to see if it would finally be the year for this second volume. It’s just mesmerizingly entertaining to get this peek into how his wonderfully weird brain works. It’s maybe a little voyeuristic but I find his diary entries strangely reassuring too — other people get upset by and ruminate on dumb bad encounters with str I’ve liked reading his diary volumes more than I’ve liked his last couple of essay collections. I loved Theft By Finding so much that I was checking publishers’ catalogs every year to see if it would finally be the year for this second volume. It’s just mesmerizingly entertaining to get this peek into how his wonderfully weird brain works. It’s maybe a little voyeuristic but I find his diary entries strangely reassuring too — other people get upset by and ruminate on dumb bad encounters with strangers for way too long too, or have thoughts that even shock you, the thinker of them. Even the way he writes about sad or sentimental moments is just so lovely. And also — not to have read his diaries and decided the most important element was me — but his style of reflection and the way he observes and interacts with people makes me look at the world around me differently too. We overlook so much even in seemingly mundane moments or simple interactions and he’s so good at finding meaning or humor or connection or just amusement in them. He makes me a little more able to do that too, and bless his gruesome, grotesque little heart for that. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea so if you were even lukewarm about the previous diaries or are sensitive about language or shocked at sudden mentions of dicks or worse don’t even bother. If you loved the other book and don’t mind his particular brand of boundary testing you’ll be equally devastated when you get to the end of this volume. I’m just disappointed that this is really the end of it now and only if he lives another 20 years will we get another volume. I mean I really hope he does live that long, but I don’t want to wait.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Hunt

    Of all of Sedaris's writing, his diaries are by far my favorite, not solely because I have a general interest in reading the diaries (and letters) of others, but mostly because it reminds me to pay closer attention to my own life. There is an interesting story in our lives every single day, whether it's a conversation or observation, a joke that was told, a headline in the paper, a text between friends; and these are worth documenting especially when they're documented well. I used to keep Theft Of all of Sedaris's writing, his diaries are by far my favorite, not solely because I have a general interest in reading the diaries (and letters) of others, but mostly because it reminds me to pay closer attention to my own life. There is an interesting story in our lives every single day, whether it's a conversation or observation, a joke that was told, a headline in the paper, a text between friends; and these are worth documenting especially when they're documented well. I used to keep Theft by Finding on my nightstand to pick up and flip through when I bored of my own diary-keeping, and not only do his entries make me laugh out loud but they instantly improve my own diaries as well. While reading this volume, I also had the epiphany that Sedaris feels almost familial to me, and it was through these entries that I realized how much he reminds me of one or two of my most beloved relatives, the ones I am flattered to be related to, the ones whose quick-wit and unpredictable conversational segues make me laugh with the same abandon as his irreverent humor.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    Sedaris picks up his diary entries from 2003-2020 in this follow-up of his previous book about his earlier diaries. And they are just as insanely funny. Granted,some readers don't particularly appreciate his skewed sense of humor and views of life and there there is no black or white.....you either love him or you can't stand him. I adore him and find his musings delightful. He is one of a kind! Sedaris picks up his diary entries from 2003-2020 in this follow-up of his previous book about his earlier diaries. And they are just as insanely funny. Granted,some readers don't particularly appreciate his skewed sense of humor and views of life and there there is no black or white.....you either love him or you can't stand him. I adore him and find his musings delightful. He is one of a kind!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    David Sedaris returns with his second collection of diary entries. A Carnival of Snackery spans from 2003 all the way up to 2020. This is a hard one to review and it will entirely depend on if you’re already a big fan of David’s work. By no means should anyone begin their Sedaris journey with either collection of diary entries as both are more of an unfiltered look at the inner workings of David’s mind rather than the polished essays he’s most known for. It’s like watching the special features on David Sedaris returns with his second collection of diary entries. A Carnival of Snackery spans from 2003 all the way up to 2020. This is a hard one to review and it will entirely depend on if you’re already a big fan of David’s work. By no means should anyone begin their Sedaris journey with either collection of diary entries as both are more of an unfiltered look at the inner workings of David’s mind rather than the polished essays he’s most known for. It’s like watching the special features on a DVD without watching the movie. A lot has happened both in David’s life and the world in the seventeen years that make up this collection. Big cultural moments like the beginning of the war in Iraq, the 2005 terrorist attacks in London (while David was a resident there), the political rise of the far right and the election of Donald Trump and the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic all make appearances. We also unfortunately encounter the loss of David’s sister Tiffany to suicide, David’s fractured relationship with his father and many a health scare. It’s obviously not all gloom and doom, however. David is first and foremost a humorist, so the book has more than its fair share of laugh out loud moments; the best being jokes and insults he’s told at book signings. “You’re so lazy, you would shit the bed and push it out with your foot.” “The lowest of the low. You’re so low you could get under the belly of a snake wearing a top hat.” There are definitely other highlights here like David’s unusual relationship with a fox who had visited his home every day looking for scraps, much to the chagrin of his partner Hugh. His interactions with readers at book signings often keep the events going long – sometimes over 5 hours – one highlight being how soon women remove their bras following their work day. Like THEFT BY FINDING, I can’t see me recommending this to someone who hasn’t already read a good chunk of David’s work, but I did have an enjoyable time seeing these snapshots of David’s day-to-day life

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jinjer

    Why this book? I was bummed that I was nearing the end of the first volume of David's diaries when I suddenly noticed a second volume was being published in October 2021! And there is an elephant on the cover! Jump to December 2021. After being on the library wait list for two months, the Kindle version finally became available. It was worth the wait! Just as good as Volume I. Could not put it down. I would say the main thing I love about David's diaries is that they are full of every day observa Why this book? I was bummed that I was nearing the end of the first volume of David's diaries when I suddenly noticed a second volume was being published in October 2021! And there is an elephant on the cover! Jump to December 2021. After being on the library wait list for two months, the Kindle version finally became available. It was worth the wait! Just as good as Volume I. Could not put it down. I would say the main thing I love about David's diaries is that they are full of every day observations of wacky things that people say and do. As he said himself "Where there are cars & trains & buses & planes, there's going to be tension and ugliness. There's nothing I find more compelling." The people in his life are so interesting to hear about. There's Tiffany who never has money and is always getting into crazy situations. Lisa who talks to everyone...store clerks, gas station attendants, bag boys. Hugh, who we love, but can get mad about the most puzzling things. Hugh's mom who only sees the good in everything when traveling. "They left a chocolate on my pillow, just like a little fairy!" Susie the media escort "Steer her to a topic, sit back and enjoy yourself." David's dad! Dad (reviewing his will): When I die, the Sedaris name dies with me. David: Speak for yourself! Mine is on like 9 million books! I like when, at book signings, he'll ask some questions of each person that he's signing for and then shares their crazy answers with us, such as this question to the guys "Would you share a piece of pie with another man, in a restaurant?" Hopefully there will be a Volume III in 10 years or so.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    I devoured it;-)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Wittenberg

    5 enthusiastic stars... no one out there does a witty, general musing like David Sedaris. And there is no one better on audio... his delivery is perfect every time. Tracey Ullman also narrated some entries and was excellent. I will honestly keep this queued up on my audio and probably open it to random places just to prolong my delight with this collection. If you already love David Sedaris, this will further endear him to you. If you've never read his work- why not?! 5 enthusiastic stars... no one out there does a witty, general musing like David Sedaris. And there is no one better on audio... his delivery is perfect every time. Tracey Ullman also narrated some entries and was excellent. I will honestly keep this queued up on my audio and probably open it to random places just to prolong my delight with this collection. If you already love David Sedaris, this will further endear him to you. If you've never read his work- why not?!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    As usual Mr. Sedaris hits the ball out of the park. I wanted Carnival to continue into 2021 but knew that wasn’t possible. My only question-when is the next installment?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Note: Part 2 of David’s Diaries- 2003 - 2020 Audio: Tracey Ullman reads about half of David’s book, while he does the other half. She’s hilarious, plus she can do so many accents well! Smart choice! Audio 5 stars! Bottom line, part two is a bit milder than part one, which is no surprise since David, as well as many of his fans (who’re you looking at?!) having gotten older. 🙄 😎

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

    I'll admit. David's humor isn't for everyone. He can be wildly inappropriate so if you're easily offended, I wouldn't recommend his books. But in my opinion, there is no one wittier or a keener observer of our strange human behavior than him. He's one of those few authors whose books I will immediately buy (and typically in every format- physical because of his infamous book signings, audio because I like to imagine he's one of my dearest friends on the phone from far away, telling me about some I'll admit. David's humor isn't for everyone. He can be wildly inappropriate so if you're easily offended, I wouldn't recommend his books. But in my opinion, there is no one wittier or a keener observer of our strange human behavior than him. He's one of those few authors whose books I will immediately buy (and typically in every format- physical because of his infamous book signings, audio because I like to imagine he's one of my dearest friends on the phone from far away, telling me about something strange and hilarious that happened, and often ebook so I don't mess up those treasured signed copies, of which I own at least eight. I'm kind of a big fan you could say). David always narrates his audiobooks, but in this one, Tracey Ullman narrated the segments based in England and that was a fun surprise.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kricket

    Former coworker: "Don't take this the wrong way, but every time I see the new David Sedaris book I think of you." Me: ?? Former coworker: "Because you talk about snacks so much." Fair enough. So. This particular Sedaris title is not going to be for everyone. I loved most of it. I laughed so hard. I found it incredibly moving when he writes about his elderly father, Hugh's and his anniversary, the way Christmas songs of his youth make him feel. I love the way he observes the world, and is curious abo Former coworker: "Don't take this the wrong way, but every time I see the new David Sedaris book I think of you." Me: ?? Former coworker: "Because you talk about snacks so much." Fair enough. So. This particular Sedaris title is not going to be for everyone. I loved most of it. I laughed so hard. I found it incredibly moving when he writes about his elderly father, Hugh's and his anniversary, the way Christmas songs of his youth make him feel. I love the way he observes the world, and is curious about everyone he comes across. Some of his jokes made me feel a little squeamish. One of his jokes made me feel very very icky, and as a result I spent a lot of time thinking about where "the line" is and what it means to "cross the line" which is a thinking session I would recommend for all adult humans. I did not feel harmed by this particular joke but I can see why some people would, and as a result I will be cautious about recommending this one to everyone I come across. I also fell down a database hole of magazine interviews with Sedaris where he talks about his writing style and offending people. One of the things he says is "I reserve the right to think all of the hateful things I want" and since this is a collection of his diaries I would agree that he also reserves the right to write them down. Again, not everyone will want to read them. But I sure did!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karen Ng

    I started this book just to prove that I'm over David Sedaris, especially his old stories. I am. I started this book just to prove that I'm over David Sedaris, especially his old stories. I am.

  23. 5 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    Significantly less bleak that his first volume which is indicative of life progression. The entries from which sprung recognizable essays were probably my favorites; a window to his process. Having Ullman narrate a good chunk of the audio was a bit disconcerting at first. I’m not sure this choice garnered the desired effect, though I got used to it. Still, I would’ve preferred ALL Sedaris, but it’s 5 stars for this mega-fan nonetheless.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I do a lot of backtracking when I listen to an audiobook. Sometimes it's because I'm driving and my attention was focused on traffic. Sometimes it's because I thought I heard a certain word or phrase, but wanted to confirm it. Only when I'm listening to a Sedaris audiobook do I backtrack because I was laughing so hard I missed an entire paragraph. I appreciate it when authors pay attention to the audio version of their book by giving the listeners special treats. It's always a treat to hear David I do a lot of backtracking when I listen to an audiobook. Sometimes it's because I'm driving and my attention was focused on traffic. Sometimes it's because I thought I heard a certain word or phrase, but wanted to confirm it. Only when I'm listening to a Sedaris audiobook do I backtrack because I was laughing so hard I missed an entire paragraph. I appreciate it when authors pay attention to the audio version of their book by giving the listeners special treats. It's always a treat to hear David read his pieces (that's sort of his thing, after all), but it was delightful to hear Tracy Ullman reading the parts taking place in England. And pretty funny that her voice is considerably lower than his, given the reason he decided to have a woman read some of the entries. Other than being reliably hilarious, the best thing about David's writing is that he is fearless about exposing his own bad behavior. That is a rare sort of valor, and the kind of honesty of which I'd like to see more. In this book, I finally learned the origin of the title of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, which I'd been curious about since it was published. I also became jealous of the number of dwellings David has. I mean, I already knew he had a place in France, and one in England, and New York, and of course there's the Sea Section... it's just that hearing him refer to them all in such a short span of time made me acutely aware of the ONE place that I live. Sigh.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Oh, David Sedaris, how I would love to spend 5 minutes in your mind! A Carnival of Snackery gives us yet another glimpse of the world through his eyes and as always it's equally hilarious, poignant and curious. In the style of journal entries we follow David's life 2003 to 2020, we get anecdotes about his family, his relationship, life in the country, travel and his thoughts about the political twists and turns of the last decade. Interspersed throughout are jokes and snarky comments from people Oh, David Sedaris, how I would love to spend 5 minutes in your mind! A Carnival of Snackery gives us yet another glimpse of the world through his eyes and as always it's equally hilarious, poignant and curious. In the style of journal entries we follow David's life 2003 to 2020, we get anecdotes about his family, his relationship, life in the country, travel and his thoughts about the political twists and turns of the last decade. Interspersed throughout are jokes and snarky comments from people aiming to shock him. If you know and love David Sedaris you will enjoy this book as much as any others. If you don't know David Sedaris, I wouldn't recommend starting here but rather a snappier essay collection and working your way to this. I got approved for this one on Netgalley but in the end I ended up listening to it as an ALC on Libro.fm. With a book like this, I find it more entertaining hearing it in the author's voice. The inflection, tone and pacing always add so much depth. This audiobook had Tracy Ullman cameos throughout where she would read some entries. I love her but I didn't need this because I enjoy David's narrative so much. Thanks to both Netgalley and Libro.fm for access. All opinions above are my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Spiegel

    I did laugh aloud, alone. Right out loud. I seriously would be all by myself, and I'd let out audible laughter. How does one critique someone's diary? This is the 8th Sedaris book I've read. I have strong feelings of loyalty towards him, because he's greatly influenced my own writing. I see why he offends people (he can be a tad nasty), though I'd strongly defend him against suggestions that he's misogynistic or a bastard. Nah. He's just absurdly unfiltered. I admire that lack of filter. I would I did laugh aloud, alone. Right out loud. I seriously would be all by myself, and I'd let out audible laughter. How does one critique someone's diary? This is the 8th Sedaris book I've read. I have strong feelings of loyalty towards him, because he's greatly influenced my own writing. I see why he offends people (he can be a tad nasty), though I'd strongly defend him against suggestions that he's misogynistic or a bastard. Nah. He's just absurdly unfiltered. I admire that lack of filter. I wouldn't admire it AT ALL if he didn't pull it off with aesthetic/artistic grace. But his lack of a filter often leads to brilliant observations about humanity, out-of-control funny stuff, and kinder/more heartwarming thoughts than all the filtered PC comments made by his "betters." Sedaris is a good guy, and we have almost nothing in common. I looked for excerpts to share, but I really couldn't find any of my favorites. There was boring stuff. Really a good chunk of ho-hum entries. But when he's good, he's REALLY good. And this book will likely be on my BEST READS of 2021 list. (Note on audio: Tracey Ullman reads all of the parts that take place in England because people say he sounds like a girl. I love her and she's great, but I actually prefer when he reads.) Because this is a diary, a lot of ground is covered. His not-great relationship with his aging dad (really well-done), the way he spontaneously choked up unexpectedly when Trump lost in 2020 and cars honked on the streets of Manhattan, the way he is with Hugh--his very longtime partner, his stunning closeness to his siblings, his disgust with reptiles, his dwelling on poop jokes . . . There's a lot there. It's a portrait of a writer. Yeah, he kinda sucks, but he's great too.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    My library hold expired so I'll have to get this one again eventually. I love David but I don't think I was in a diary mood at the moment. They are funny but I like his stories better. It took me months to read his first volume of diaries. To be continued someday. My library hold expired so I'll have to get this one again eventually. I love David but I don't think I was in a diary mood at the moment. They are funny but I like his stories better. It took me months to read his first volume of diaries. To be continued someday.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Simon Gibson

    So humourous! David's perspective on everyday situations is very enlightening. He takes into personal encounters and unravels his experiences! So humourous! David's perspective on everyday situations is very enlightening. He takes into personal encounters and unravels his experiences!

  29. 5 out of 5

    D'Arcy

    Highly recommend the audiobook, as there is no better way to hear Sedaris than by the man himself (and Tracy Ullman). lol

  30. 4 out of 5

    aistė aidur

    One of my favorite writers of all time. Exquisite

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