Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

A guy walks into a bar car and...From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved. Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarka...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
Author:David Sedaris
Rating:
ISBN:0316154695
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:275 pages

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Reviews

  • Gretchen
    Jan 02, 2013

    I love David Sedaris but I HATED his last book, 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk'. I'm hoping he redeems himself here.

    UPDATE: I read this book and I was happy to find short stories and essays. I laughed out loud many times. The story about the taxidermist is my favorite out of this collection.

  • Xandra
    Jan 20, 2013

    I needed a laugh and Sedaris didn't disappoint. A few times I was laughing so hard, I expected angry neighbors to kick in my door and duct tape my mouth shut while shaking their heads disapprovingly or sighing theatrically at the evidence that I have finally gone insane. It’s not just the jokes and the context they’re in, it’s also the parallels I can draw with my own life, with my own cynical personality and my facetious nature. And a bit of empathy is essential when it comes to memoirs.

    For ful

    I needed a laugh and Sedaris didn't disappoint. A few times I was laughing so hard, I expected angry neighbors to kick in my door and duct tape my mouth shut while shaking their heads disapprovingly or sighing theatrically at the evidence that I have finally gone insane. It’s not just the jokes and the context they’re in, it’s also the parallels I can draw with my own life, with my own cynical personality and my facetious nature. And a bit of empathy is essential when it comes to memoirs.

    For full disclosure, I should mention that this is the first David Sedaris book that I've read from cover to cover. No, I haven't been living under a rock this past decade, it's just that friends’ shelves have always come in handy when I felt like picking a few witty-titled Sedaris stories and hurriedly going through them in those dead moments when one waits for someone to get ready for a night out. I'll definitely fix that.

    As for this book, it was great. On the surface, all the trivial experiences presented here are not that interesting. Just boring little life stories most of us don’t pay attention to let alone write down in a diary to ponder on them days or, god forbid, years later. What makes them interesting is David Sedaris’ voice, his wit, his irony and, occasionally, his depth.

    Here we have the blistering drama of the middle class dysfunctional family in 1960s U.S., the nostalgic recounting of missed chances, the joyous preparations for an author tour, the morbid fascination with the skeleton of a Pigmy girl in a taxidermy shop on Valentine’s Day, the cultural peculiarities of foreign countries, the harassment women have to deal with, Obama drama, a poem about dogs and six fiction stories in which Sedaris impersonates different types of people in order to mock their ugly traits. I could have done without the fiction stories which I consider to be the low points of the book.

    If I were to choose,

    would be my favorite story because it blends humor with nostalgia with some very touching moments that hit home for me, but they’re really all very strong pieces.

    Now, if only I could get the damn Kookaburra song out of my mind…

    .......

    Hey, 2013, you suck! Don't get me wrong, this book looks fun. "the squat-style toilets of Beijing"? Hilarity guaranteed. But seriously, what am I going to do all this freaking year? Read only one book? Isn't anyone writing anything other than chick-lit and PNR romantic stuff anymore?

    .......

  • Melki
    Feb 07, 2013

    Yay! David Sedaris is even older than I am. (Every year it gets harder and harder to find someone who is...) BUT, he IS close enough in age that we are basically contemporaries, therefore, his gripes are my gripes, and this makes me happy.

    Like Sedaris, I can clearly remember mundane incidents that occurred in third grade - the day THAT BASTARD, Marty W., pushed me down in the playground and tore my favorite pants (true, they were plaid, so maybe he did it as a favor), but, no, I cannot remember

    Yay! David Sedaris is even older than I am. (Every year it gets harder and harder to find someone who is...) BUT, he IS close enough in age that we are basically contemporaries, therefore, his gripes are my gripes, and this makes me happy.

    Like Sedaris, I can clearly remember mundane incidents that occurred in third grade - the day THAT BASTARD, Marty W., pushed me down in the playground and tore my favorite pants (true, they were plaid, so maybe he did it as a favor), but, no, I cannot remember the birth of my first child. He CAME OUT OF ME, and I don't remember it happening!

    And I, too, get annoyed that no one dresses up for air travel anymore:

    Maybe it was just the right book at the right time, or maybe it's due to the jittery stage of life I'm currently experiencing, but from the joys of colonoscopies to finding the perfect taxidermied owl, I loved every essay in this book.

    I guess the only question still remaining is how am I going to get my mother-in-law, a woman who

    sends me regular e-mails about the distinct possibility of President Obama's being born in

    , to wear a conical-shaped hat emblazened with the words:

  • B.J.
    Feb 08, 2013

    Let's get one thing out of the way right now - David Sedaris is the preeminent satirist/essayist working and writing today. Maybe it's because of his radio readings or listening to his audio books, but his is a distinctive voice that fills your head as you read his work. For me, I can't help but think as I read a Sedaris essay that he's standing right there next to me, speaking word for word what is written on the page, which makes for interesting mental company.

    When I delved into "Let's Explore

    Let's get one thing out of the way right now - David Sedaris is the preeminent satirist/essayist working and writing today. Maybe it's because of his radio readings or listening to his audio books, but his is a distinctive voice that fills your head as you read his work. For me, I can't help but think as I read a Sedaris essay that he's standing right there next to me, speaking word for word what is written on the page, which makes for interesting mental company.

    When I delved into "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls" (a great title if ever there was one), I expected the same rat-a-tat yet subdued sarcasm that made his other works so completely hilarious. Perhaps it was those expectations that contributed to my disappointment in this latest effort. There is still the trademark wit of Sedaris's prose and observations, but it also comes with a sizable dose of regret, disappointment, and an undercurrent of mid-life crisis. It almost seems in this book that Sedaris is coming to terms with being at the 'half-way' marker in life and can't quite believe how little has changed since his youth. It's a familiar theme that has been described many times before, but I was hoping that Sedaris would bring a fresh perspective to it. Instead, the theme seems to creep into his humor and sour it. Sedaris explores death, the regret of missed opportunities(or misunderstood, as in the essay "A Guy Walks Into A Boxcar") fear and the idea of helplessness (in particular during an essay that recounts an attack on his sister Gretchen). Not that there is nothing to laugh about in this work - the essay in which he describes a colonoscopy is classic Sedaris... that is to say, hilarious - but there seem to be too few moments of levity in what turns out to be a heavy tome.

    The last half of the book offers up some fictional social commentary as Sedaris takes on the guise of various characters steeped in conservative ideology. The first story, in which a man murders his wife, adult daughter, and mother-in-law as a reaction to legalization of gay marriage, rings a bit hollow and seems more harsh than funny. Then again, I can understand Sedaris's anger at living in a society that still denies him the rights afforded to others - I just hoped that he would approach it with a more measured and biting style than the rather unimaginative product put out in this book. However, the piece about the woman who plans to join a Tea Party march in Washington by enlisting the help of her son is quite funny. While I don't find Sedaris's fictional efforts to be his strong point, the latter is the sort I would hope to see more of from him in the future.

    It's disappointing when an writer steps out of his or her expected realm to try new things and doesn't quite deliver; but in the case of "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls", it also allows for a reflection on one's own life, missed chances, regrets - and the hope that at the end of this day, another one will present new chances and new opportunities tomorrow. And if not, you'll at least have enough snark on hand to mock it appropriately.

  • Gary Anderson
    Feb 16, 2013

    I usually like the work of David Sedaris. He’s at his best when talking about his family or childhood memories, or wryly observing society’s foibles.

    has moments of that trademark understated irony, but it’s more self-absorbed than his earlier collections. This book’s primary theme seems to be the travails of a successful author as he fulfills his tiresome obligations to accept invitations to read his work out loud in exotic locations like China, Rotterdam, and C

    I usually like the work of David Sedaris. He’s at his best when talking about his family or childhood memories, or wryly observing society’s foibles.

    has moments of that trademark understated irony, but it’s more self-absorbed than his earlier collections. This book’s primary theme seems to be the travails of a successful author as he fulfills his tiresome obligations to accept invitations to read his work out loud in exotic locations like China, Rotterdam, and Costco. But travel wearies Sedaris, as do most other people. It’s no surprise that he doesn’t allow those who stand in line to purchase an autographed book to take pictures with him. Then he retires to one of his homes in England or France or Japan or New York and writes about how awful it is to be anywhere.

    Although this book gave me a few chuckles, some topics are inherently unfunny, although Sedaris uses them as punch lines: teen suicide, cancer, ingestion of human feces, eye socket sex. Yuck.

    is a disappointment because it is so much meaner and cruder--not to mention less funny--than earlier Sedaris books.

  • Jason Koivu
    Mar 28, 2013

    David's mah dawg, yo! I love this little guy!

    I always listen to him read his own stuff in audiobook form, as opposed to reading it myself. I can't do his little elfin voice justice.

    is more of the same Sedaris: observations skewed by his quirky worldview, which produces within me squirmy giggles with the occasional guffaw explosion. This collection of essays gets an extra star on the rating from sheer worn-shoe comfort joy. It's no better than his previous books.

    David's mah dawg, yo! I love this little guy!

    I always listen to him read his own stuff in audiobook form, as opposed to reading it myself. I can't do his little elfin voice justice.

    is more of the same Sedaris: observations skewed by his quirky worldview, which produces within me squirmy giggles with the occasional guffaw explosion. This collection of essays gets an extra star on the rating from sheer worn-shoe comfort joy. It's no better than his previous books. Certainly not as introspective and tell-all as

    . It's just good, solid humor carpetted by light thought-bombs.

    The topics this time around are mostly dominated by lots of travel stuff, obviously due to all the book tours he's done since becoming wildly famous. So, in a way he's turning into an irreverent, gay Rick Steves. Sedaris also spends a good deal of time writing about writing. In general, his material has become quite self-referential (no, I won't use the buzzword meta), and I fear that with his continued fame this is a trend on the rise. Luckily for me, he's one of those people that can make anything funny. It may get to the point when all he has left to talk about is the experience of writing the last thing he wrote, and I will read it, chortle or squeal, and tinkle in my trousers.

  • Jeanette
    Apr 19, 2013

    When I told my mom what I was reading, she thought I said "Let's Explore Dead Babies with Owls."

    Bravo, Mr. Sedaris.

    4.5 stars

  • Mitch
    May 01, 2013

    You know I'm shocked by all the high ratings for this book. Maybe it's because I'm younger than the average David Sedaris reader, but my eyes were literally bleeding towards the end of

    . I don't even rate nonfiction, but I'm making an exception for this...

    that reads like the inane, self-absorbed ramblings of a Grampa Simpson type - 'when I was young...' I killed endangered animals, never got the approval of my dad, wrote a racist rant, got my passport stole

    You know I'm shocked by all the high ratings for this book. Maybe it's because I'm younger than the average David Sedaris reader, but my eyes were literally bleeding towards the end of

    . I don't even rate nonfiction, but I'm making an exception for this...

    that reads like the inane, self-absorbed ramblings of a Grampa Simpson type - 'when I was young...' I killed endangered animals, never got the approval of my dad, wrote a racist rant, got my passport stolen... is this supposed to be funny? Insightful? Flippant? No? Not even a little bit? Well, whatever it is, it's not funny, it's humorless, bitter, and offensive.

  • Madeline
    Jul 08, 2013

    As part of the promotional tour for this book, David Sedaris made a stop in a Barnes and Noble in my city, and I ended up going sort of by accident (I bought a copy of the book on a whim the day before the event and learned that, by purchasing the book, I had also unknowingly purchased a ticket to the reading the next day). It was a fun event - Sedaris is charming and adorable in person, and was very polite to the requisite crazy people who tend to show up at every author reading I've ever atten

    As part of the promotional tour for this book, David Sedaris made a stop in a Barnes and Noble in my city, and I ended up going sort of by accident (I bought a copy of the book on a whim the day before the event and learned that, by purchasing the book, I had also unknowingly purchased a ticket to the reading the next day). It was a fun event - Sedaris is charming and adorable in person, and was very polite to the requisite crazy people who tend to show up at every author reading I've ever attended (I remember one particularly memorable woman at a Margaret Atwood reading who started out asking Atwood's opinion about Britney Spears and her costumes throughout the years, and ended by shrieking that "What they did to Britney was A SIN! It was A SIN!" and it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen). A word of advice for anyone attending a Sedaris event in the future, though: the man is

    . There were only a few dozen people in line to get their books signed, but he stopped and talked with every single person, sometimes for almost five minutes each. It took a long fucking time, which I wasn't expecting, so be prepared for that. By the time it was my turn, I was just tired and didn't have anything fascinating to say, but he was very nice and asked me some polite questions as he drew an owl on my book, and then he offered me one of the chocolates that another fan had apparently made for him. I suggested jokingly that they had been poisoned, because I don't know how to talk like a normal human being, and he just kind of blinked at me, so I thanked him, grabbed my signed book, and ran. Anyway, add that to the list of Madeline's Awkward Author Encounters and let's get to the real review bit.

    Like Sedaris's previous collections, the essays here can be divided into three categories: stories about Sedaris's childhood and early twenties, stories about his travels (usually featuring his boyfriend Hugh, who I'm sort of in love with), and essays written from the perspective of a fictional character. The last category is the hardest to spot, because often they'll have the exact same tone and voice as his other essays, so you assume that they're nonfiction until he reveals that the speaker is not, in fact, him. My favorite kind of Sedaris essay has always been the travel kind, and this book has plenty of those. I always love reading about his experiences learning new languages, and there's a good passage about the differences between Japanese and German lessons:

    "There's no discord in Pimsleur's Japan, but its Germany is a moody and often savage place. In one of the exercises, you're encouraged to argue with a bellhop who tries to cheat you out of your change and who ends up sneering, 'You don't understand German.'

    'Oh, but I do,' you learn to say. 'I

    understand German.'

    It's a program full of odd sentence combinations. 'We don't live here. We want mineral water' implies that if the couple

    live in this particular town they'd be getting drunk like everyone else. Another standout is '

    ' ('The wine is too expensive and you talk too fast.') The response to this would be 'Anything else, Herr Asshole?' But of course they don't teach you that."

    The essays dealing with Sedaris's childhood are distinctly bittersweet, because although they're still funny, there's an underlying sadness to them that's brought into the open much more than it was in his previous collections. This was the first time I had read anything about the abuse of the Sedaris children, and the saddest thing about these details was the way David Sedaris seems to calmly accept it as a normal part of everyone's childhood, which I don't think is true. Someone at the reading actually asked him about how his parents would beat him when he was a kid, and his response was essentially the same as it is in the book: he shrugged, and said that that was normal at the time and that he still didn't find anything unusual about it.

  • Raeleen Lemay
    Feb 20, 2016

    (I listened to this on audiobook.)

    I went into this book with little knowledge on David Sedaris's work/life, so I learned a lot about him while listening to this! Overall it was enjoyable, but it definitely didn't blow me away. I do plan to give Me Talk Pretty One Day a read, but probably not any time soon.