Thursday, March 31, 2016

April Book Club - Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris

For April, the Nonfiction Book Club will be reading the book Me Talk Pretty One Day, a collection of essays by David Sedaris.

This is a smashing series of irreverent pieces, poking fun at nearly every imaginable topic. David Sedaris describes his travels from New York to North Carolina to Illinois, eventually finding a place in France where he studied the French language under the tutelage of a sadistic instructor. Sedaris displays an expert knowledge of an astonishing range of topics, such as

Applied Sciences:
“To this day, I prefer to believe that inside every television there lives a community of versatile, thumb-size actors trained to portray everything from a thoughtful newscaster to the wife of a millionaire stranded on a desert island. Fickle gnomes control the weather, and an air conditioner is powered by a team of squirrels, their cheeks packed with ice cubes.”

Modern Art:
“When the notice arrived that my work had been accepted, I foolishly phoned my friends with the news. Their proposals to set fire to the grand staircase or sculpt the governor’s head out of human feces had all been rejected. This officially confirmed their outsider status and made me an enemy of the avant-garde.”

Drug Addiction:
“Thinking I must have dropped a grain or two, I vacuumed the entire apartment with a straw up my nose, sucking up dead skin cells, Comet residue, and pulverized cat litter. Anything that traveled on the bottom of a shoe went up my nose.”

Writing Workshops:
“Thinking that a clever assignment might help loosen them up, I instructed my students to write a letter to their mothers in prison. They were free to determine both the crime and the sentence, and references to cellmates were strongly encouraged. The group set to work with genuine purpose and enthusiasm, and I felt proud of myself, until the quietest member of the class handed in her paper, whispering that both her father and her uncle were currently serving time on federal racketeering charges.”

Public Sanitation:
“I seriously considered lifting this turd out of the toilet and tossing it out the window. It honestly crossed my mind, but John lived on the ground floor and a dozen people were seated at a picnic table ten feet away.”

“Mine is a look of intense concentration, the face of a man who’s forever trying to recall an old locker combination…you’ll notice that my nostrils are prominent and oddly expressive, like a second, smaller set of eyes assigned to keep watch over the lower half of my face.”

Career Changes:
“It’s somewhat surprising that I’m a serious contender for the title of world heavyweight champion, not because I’m slow or weak but because I’m a relative newcomer to the sport. I’d been just another Yale medical student and had never really thought of fighting until I got shut out of an endotracheal intubation seminar and signed up for a boxing class instead. The teacher recognized my extraordinary talent, lined up a few regional matches, and one thing led to another.”

Legal Liability:
“What can you say about the family who is suing the railroad after their drunk son was killed walking on the tracks? Trains don’t normally sneak up on people. Unless they’ve derailed, you pretty much know where to find them.”

The World Wide Web:
“I didn’t know about them, but I was hoping the people of the world might be united by something more interesting, like drugs or an armed struggle against the undead. Unfortunately, my father’s team won, so computers it is.”

Building Vocabulary:
"I found no listing for those who fear they know too many masochists. Neither did I find an entry for those who fear the terrible truth that their self-worth is based entirely on the completion of a daily crossword puzzle. Because I can't seem to find it anywhere, I'm guaranteed that such a word actually exists. It will undoubtedly pop up in some future puzzle."

"Every day we're told that we live in the greatest country on earth. And it's always stated as an undeniable fact: Leos were born between July 23 and August 22, fitted queen-size sheets measure sixty by eighty inches, and America is the greatest country on earth. Having grown up with this in our ears, it's startling to realize that other countries have nationalistic slogans of their own, none of which are, 'We're number two!'"

If you are intrigued by these words of wisdom, I thoroughly encourage you to read Me Talk Pretty One Day and come to the Marx Room on Wednesday, April 27th at 7 p.m. The book is located at 814 S447m in the stacks. Interlibrary loan requests can be made if necessary.

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