Monday, October 15, 2018

Day Fifteen: Good Things {Books} Coming Out of Great Britain


Though intimidated, I was hoping to get some Britishness into my repertoire last month, with the books Calypso, The Keeper of Lost Things, and 84 Charing Cross Road. Readers well know I always shoot from the hip, right?  Well that said, I don't have time not to be honest.  84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff just was not what I was expecting.  But Tacy, you are a reader and writer!  Don't all bibliophiles and bookish marms love this book?  What is with rejecting a poesy of the intersection between American and British book collectors and their shared love of story???  It's not that I hated it per say.  It's just nothing like I was expecting.  The tone seemed to be about books for books themselves, not for what they actually contain. (You'd have to read them to know what they contained, my friend!!! Morals or no? How would you know?.... :)

I read it juxtaposed with two other British books - The Keeper of Lost Things and Calypso. Of all the Britishness that was conjured in my brain, Calypso was far and away the best.  By far and a long ways away.  Now I know David Sedaris isn't originally from England.  I'm not really sure how his writing has become more lustrous since living there, because I haven't read enough of his other books.  But I do know one thing.  It has one of the best rating of all of his books. Read it.

Can I gush Sedaris for a minute? Yes? Ok? thank you.  I will.

David Sedaris
David Sedaris
David Sedaris

Is gushing his name enough?

He is just so chock full of jokes and he has honed each and every story that he tells, all from his personal life, in such a  heartfelt way to make them even more hysterical, without becoming repetitive or formulaic. He is fortunate to be around hilarious people in his everyday life - namely, his family and his partner Hugh.... Poor Hugh!!! Everything about his essays just screams, "I love being a writer."  "I write for pleasure." "I know my art form, and I do it because I love my art form and it has found me and I will do its bidding."

As I found with two of his book sin the past, Sedaris is more than a writer. He is an artist.  At times inappropriate, at times outlandish, he takes the feelings, moods, and longings of his life, and instead of spilling everything, he hones and crafts and picks apart emotions and he tells tales that inspire laughter and joy, and very little self-pity.  And I just sit there and laugh, and laugh, and laugh out loud.  And then I rifle around with my other books and I try to find that joy again, and often I am disheartened because it is nowhere else to be found.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan was delightfully wordy and verbose, yes.... I got that. Cultivated and courteous, and transporting you to Brighton, yes. Anthony Peardew is a collector of lost objects, and each object has a history and a story.  These are collected with hopes to alleviate his own loss, as well as eventually return these items to their rightful owners. With all of the stifling dusty stuff, I wouldn't say I found the story particularly honed and polished.

If you want an interesting premise with a sparkling setting, and a more entertaining vibe, if you are looking for a writer's writer, someone who will inspire you to look deeper, love more broadly, and laugh more deeply, look no further than Sedaris for gleaming prose. I've said it once and I'll say it again. Sedaris is funnier than you. I'm not trying to make a statement. I just believe in this writer and truly wish the best for him, because he astonishes me and I am a student of the week his work.


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