The #6 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: Theft by Finding by David Sedaris

The #6 bestselling audiobook of 2017 is made up of the experiences and observations of David Sedaris and written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable. Theft by Finding is made up of Sedaris’ private writings, and even his misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise the generosity of spirit that characterizes it.


“For years, regular attendees of David Sedaris’s live appearances have looked forward to readings from his pocket notebooks and diaries. The best of these hilarious, bizarre, and often profane jokes, stories, everyday observations, and family memories (collected over forty years) appear in Theft by Finding, which includes observations from 1977, when he was an art student and hapless construction worker, through 2002. It’s well known that before his New Yorker and NPR stories established him as a writer and performer, he worked as an elf and housecleaner, but these are the stories you haven’t heard.”

—Karen, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA



July Audiobook of the Month – Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris

Our July Book of the Month is NYT bestselling author and Grammy nominated audiobook reader David Sedaris’s memoir, Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002). This new offering from one of America’s most celebrated humorists is filled with hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking entries culled from the diary he’s kept for decades. As the dates suggest, this first volume focuses on Sedaris’s early years, detailing how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.


“Theft by Finding is charming, refreshingly unpretentious, and flat-out addictive. Sedaris said in the intro that he meant for readers to dip in and out of this collection of diary entries (the first of two volumes!), but I couldn’t put it down. His pared-down observations are equal parts dark and darkly comedic, concealing and revealing. Theft by Finding surpassed my very high expectations, and I’m already feeling impatient for part two.”
Renee P, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR


 



Join readers and listeners all month on social media to discuss Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002). Use the hashtag #theftbyfinding and find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 29th

Independent Bookstore Day, is a one-day party taking place Saturday, April 29th at more than 450 bookstores. As a supporter of independent bookstores, you get five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Here are a few of the audiobooks included: Jessica Shattuck’s NYT bestseller, The Women in the Castle, David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, and works by David Sedaris (Dentists Without Borders), Emma Straub (Modern Lovers), Nicola Yoon (The Sun is Also a Star), and Hope Jahren (Lab Girl). The only catch (we promise) is you must claim your free audiobooks by Midnight PST on Saturday 4/29. To do this, log in to Libro.fm, add the audiobooks to your cart (no promo code needed) and you’re done!

Get Your Free Audiobooks

And beyond the free audiobooks, we encourage you to visit your local bookstore to join the celebration. While each store is unique and independent (and the parties will reflect that) you’ll likely encounter some combination of authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, and contests. And most importantly, exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on April 29th. Not before. Not after. Find a bookstore near you.

Listen. Support. Share.

Your support makes a difference for local bookstores across the country. Join the party in stores and online by sharing this offer with friends. Even if you’re unable to visit a store this Saturday, you can still take part in this offer and share with others. Simply copy/paste this link and email or share it on social media: https://libro.fm/playlists/bookstore-day


We love connecting with our listeners (and indie supporters!) so follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and tag #BookstoreDay to join the conversation.

Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on April 29th and Get Free Audiobooks

In honor of the third annual Independent Bookstore Day, visitors to select independent bookstores this April 29th will have the opportunity to download five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Titles include #1 Indie Next Pick, The Women in the Castle (Harper Audio) by Jessica Shattuck and David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). How do you participate? Easy. Show up at any of our 450 participating independent bookstores nationwide on April 29th, and be sure to create your Libro.fm account now so you can get updates as the event draws closer.

“I rely on local bookstores (at home and on vacation) to provide not only access to books but also community — story hours, fun children’s sections to visit on rainy days, interesting readings and panels to get me, and everyone else who attends, to think about the wider world than the one right under our noses. I feel that independent bookstores are really the purveyors and gardeners of the life of the mind.”
—Jessica Shattuck, author of  The Women in the Castle

Set in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to Germany’s high society, The Women in the Castle is a propulsive, affecting, and ultimately redemptive novel chronicling the lives of three widows whose fates collide in the aftermath of World War II. Listen to a sample below:

 

My all-time favorite David Foster Wallace essay is A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). DFW takes listeners on a 4-hour cruise in the Caribbean that is memorable for its wit and keen observations about the cruising industry. Listen to the sample below:

 

“Independent bookstores are my first stops in any new city, a quick check of the pulse in any literary community. They are ports in the storm, passageways to magical lands, escape hatches out of bad moods. Even when I don’t think I need a book, because the stack beside my bed is teetering toward the ceiling, I always need a bookstore. And then I usually need a book, too.”

—Emma Straub, 2017 Author Ambassador and author of Modern Lovers

We are also excited to give away a Penguin Random House Audio sampler, featuring some of the most popular independent bookstore bestsellers:


Prior to starting Libro.fm, I published Brain Rules by John Medina (Pear Press), a book that covers 12 ways our brains work. Dr. Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into the science. Listen to a sample from the first chapter on exercise:

And for the kids in your life 8-12 years old, check out these audiobooks from Scholastic:

Shadow House #1: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki (Scholastic)

 

Tombquest #1: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop (Scholastic)

 

You will also get the Hachette Audio Story Sampler for Bookstore Day 2017, including:

  • Dentists Without Borders written and read by David Sedaris

Plus shorter listens for the whole family:

Welcome to Night Vale: Vinyl Edition

Lastly, an exclusive Bookstore Day offer. Based on the tremendously popular podcast of the same name, Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor explores the mysterious, interconnecting plights of a PTA mom and pawn shop owner in Night Vale, a small town in the American Southwest where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all just a part of everyday life. Beautifully packaged with “flypaper” sleeve, the purple vinyl also includes a full-length digital download of the audiobook performed by Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner. Exclusively available on Bookstore Day for $24.95 (audiobook is complimentary).


Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party.

Since every store is unique and independent, every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids’ events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items available only at Indie stores on that day. Join the party: stop by your favorite indie bookstore on April 29th, chat with the booksellers, buy some books, and get your five free audiobooks plus two samplers!

“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”
—Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Commonwealth and co-owner of Parnassus Books

Book of the Month: Holidays on Ice

There’s a lot to love about this time of year. Holidays, friends, family, hopefully some time off of work. But there’s a lot to hate. Stress, bad weather.

That’s why we picked Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris as our Book of the Month. Sedaris’s acerbic wit cuts through each essay, while still keeping the underlying sweetness of the season in tact.

Just listen to this clip from the essays “SantaLand Diaries”, a classic in which Sedaris recalls a former job as an elf.

Hooked yet? You’re in luck. We’ve marked down Holidays on Ice 25% all month long.


Sign up for our newsletter to hear more about our Book of the Month picks.

Summer Listens

A good book, cold drink, and warm breeze are the perfect recipe for a summer day.

These audiobooks make the perfect companion for your sunny vacation spot. Whether you’re poolside or couch locked, these captivating novels will transport you to new places, experiences, and lives. The ultimate summer destination is the land of audiobooks and it’s right at your fingertips. So grab your sunscreen, settle into your lawn chair, and enjoy!


Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer

By Barbara Kingsolver

Acclaimed author Barbara Kingsolver’s novel Prodigal Summer is described as “a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself.” Kingsolver weaves the story of three characters together with a love of nature. The novel captures the essence of summer, the importance of every living thing, and what binds us together as humans. Written in her signature beautiful style, Kingsolver has created a novel that will transport you to the wild country forests of southern Appalachia and the heart of humanity itself.  


Where’d You Go, Bernadette

By Maria Semple

Maria Semple’s novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette will leave you rolling on the floor laughing. When the quirky-yet-endearing Bernadette Fox goes missing, it is up to her daughter Bee to follow her trail of cryptic clues leading her literally to the ends of the earth. Semple’s humor shines with the help of narrator Kathleen Wilhoite who brings the characters to another level entirely. This novel is perfect entertainment for your summer downtime.


Ender's Game

Ender’s Game

By Orson Scott Card

Science fiction is one of the best genres for the summertime, transporting you to new worlds and lives unimaginable in this day and age. Ender’s Game is no exception. In Andrew “Ender” Wiggins’s world, the government breeds child geniuses to be military leaders as a defense against the hostile aliens attacking Earth. Ender is drafted into the rigorous orbiting Battle School for his military training and quickly rises to the top of his class. Ender’s battles, both internal and external, will entrap you in the dystopian world Orson Scott Card has created and with one of the best plot twists in literature, this novel definitely is a lifetime must read.


Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

By Rebecca Wells

A New York Times Bestseller, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a Southern fiction staple to be read over and over again. Funny, outrageous, and wise, this novel captures the lives of four Southern women and their lifetime of friendship. Through these relationships, author Rebecca Wells explores the bonds of female friendship, the ups and downs of mother-daughter relationships, and the power of love and humor. Come fall in love with the Ya-Ya sisters in Wells’s clever and endearing novel.


Beautiful Ruins

By Jess Walter

Our featured Book of the Month, Beautiful Ruins is obviously a Libro favorite, but it’s also a perfect summer read. Partially set on the lovely Italian coast, you will fall in love with the idyllic Porto Vergogna and irresistible characters whose lives intertwine by happenstance. Let Jess Walter take you on a journey through the drama of old hollywood and the picturesque Porto Vergogna in his wonderfully entertaining novel.


Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Island of the Sequined Love Nun

By Christopher Moore

Take a crazy trip with Tucker Chase to The Island of the Sequined Love Nun. Tucker is a hopeless geek who makes a living piloting a cargo plane for Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation—that is, until he crashes the pink plane and finds himself running for his life from Mary Jane’s henchmen. The only employment he can then find is a sketchy gig piloting on secret missions for an unscrupulous medical missionary in the South Pacific. Christopher Moore is the master of the outrageous and if the title didn’t say enough, get ready, because you’re in for a wild ride.


The-Shoemaker's-Wife

The Shoemaker’s Wife

By Adriana Trigiani

Travel through time with Ciro and Enza, two lovers who part and reunite over the course of their lives until the power of their love changes them forever. This novel is set in the majestic beauty of the Italian Alps at the turn of the 20th century. It will take you on a journey through the Italian countryside, America during the First World War and the star-crossed love of Ciro and Enza. This story, inspired by the author Adriana Trigiani’s own family history, will give you a beautiful and unique look into the lives of characters at the turn of the century.


Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

By David Sedaris

David Sedaris’s newest book features a collection of essays, each one taking you on a journey that’s sure to make you laugh out loud. You’ll travel on a world tour, from experiences with French dentistry, to the Australian kookaburra, to the toilets of Beijing and eventually the wild country of North Carolina. Sedaris paints the world in a hilarious light as he recounts his absurd and ridiculous tales.


What have you been reading this summer? Let us know in the comments!

A Traveler’s Guide to Listening

The only drawback to being on the road for days at a time is the whole “keeping your sanity” thing.

Trust me, I know the deal. And I can honestly say that audiobooks will alleviate some of that highway-induced crazy. Yesterday we crafted a list of great books for traveling with children. Today we bring you books just for wandering adults.

Here are some humorous, educating, and inspiring titles that are particularly suited to your ramblin’ needs.


Big-Sur

Big Sur

By Jack Kerouac

Big Sur is an inspirational account of Jack Kerouac’s experience living in California while dealing with alcoholism, fame, and the realities of adulthood. This is the sort of narrative of strength and self-discovery that propels us all to our limits and provides hope in carrying on.


I-Am-Malala

I Am Malala

By Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala details how the young Malala Yousafzai’s incredible fight for equality merited winning the Nobel Peace Prize and took her on a life-changing journey around the world. I Am Malala will teach you that you cannot be prepared for every bump in the road, but that you can learn to respond to life’s ups and downs with grace and courage.


Shantaram

Shantaram

by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram is the unbelievable epic based on Gregory David Roberts’ own life story. It follows the life of Lin, a well-known convict, who escapes maximum security prison in Australia and makes it to India, going on to spend the next decade dealing in the Black Market and underground slums of Bombay. Roberts’ writing takes on life of its own, and not only will you find yourself immersed in the world he has created, but you will also become more willing to see the adventure in travel, even if it’s not as illegal or far from home.


[vimeo 132559993 h=500&h=280]
The-Happiness-Project

The Happiness Project

By Gretchen Rubin

As a part of her Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin took a year to focus her energy on living each day to the fullest. Despite the seeming simplicity of her goal, Rubin’s challenge is very universally understood. As you listen to her story, you’ll start to think about what you could start doing in order to maximize your happiness. Who knows, maybe this road trip could be just the thing!


Me-Talk-Pretty-One-Day

Me Talk Pretty One Day

By David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day includes, among other things, the humorous narrative about the trials and tribulations of David Sedaris as he picks up everything, moves to France, and attempts to fit in there. Sedaris satirizes the stressful realities of travel, including language barriers and culture shocks, ultimately proving to be a comforting and humorous soundtrack to your own trip out of town.


Do you have any travel favorites you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

David Sedaris: Comedy Before All Else

Not all authors can pull off reading their own work for  audiobook editions.

Many publishers hire professionals to fill in because the author can’t do characters’ voices justice, come off rigid, or even lack the confidence to voice their own work. For example, in What If?, our current Book of the Month read, actor and geek-culture figurehead Wil Wheaton sits in for author Randall Munroe.

But David Sedaris is the master of reading his own work, what every author or voice actor should aspire to be. Maybe it’s from his years of radio experience as a guest on This American Life and other NPR shows, or the many, many book readings he’s done. Whatever it is, he gets it right. This is especially important because without the right narrator, the jokes in a satirical or humorous book fall flat.

Sedaris’s humor is deeply personal. He has this ability to turn the tables on himself, to make the most mundane aspect of his life into a greater story about the ridiculousness of his situation, has scored him legian fans over the years. In When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Sedaris sets his essays in Paris and an airplane ride between New York and Denver. In Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, backdrops include Australia, London, and Costco. And always, everywhere, his childhood home of North Carolina. You can really hear him dryly poking fun of himself and the world around him as he narrates.

But besides making the exotic mundane and the mundane exotic, Sedaris is a master at self-deprecation. One of my favorite stories of his comes from Dress Your Family in Denim and Corduroy. In it, he recounts a kooky family who lived next door to him as a kid. Out of town for Halloween, the father of the family brought the kids trick-or-treating on November 1st. Though the Sedaris family had given out all of their candy the night before, David’s mother insisted that David and his sisters delve into their own, hard-earned candy and share with the neighbors. In a fit of agony, Sedaris stuffs as many candy bars in his mouth before his mother comes and makes him give some away to the neighbors.

I love this story because of the imagery of young Sedaris, with a mouth stuffed full of chocolate, as his mother enters his room, intent on taking what he feels is rightfully his. He writes:

… as she closed the door behind her and moved toward my bed, I began breaking the wax lips and candy necklaces pulled from pile no. 2. These were the second-best things I had received, and while it hurt to destroy them, it would have hurt even more to give them away.”

While the story is hilarious, Sedaris’s willingness to share it is also incredible. He paints himself in the most atrocious light, a gift to his audience. The whole time he tells it, it sounds confessional, like he’s telling you—personally—this embarrassing childhood anecdote.

This is a pattern with Sedaris. In Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, he explains how he fell into a kind of gross fascination at a taxidermy shop. He went in, hoping against hope to find a stuffed owl and began talking with the store’s proprietor. Believing Sedaris to be a very discerning man of the best taxidermic taste, the proprietor brings out a Pygmy human skeleton from the 19th century, the amputated arm of a sailor his grandfather had met, and the 400-year-old head of a Peruvian teenager. Again, Sedaris is upfront with the amount of his unease, which is only slight, and only because he feels like some modicum of discomfort must be appropriate. He brazenly puts it,

That taxidermist knew me for less time than it took me to wipe my feet on his mat, and, with no effort whatsoever, he looked into my soul and recognized me for the person that I am: the type of person who’d actually love a pygmy …”

I can’t think of anyone, anywhere, other than Sedaris who would have the guts to write this essay, nor the comedic skills to write it so well and the actor’s timing necessary to narrate it.

One of Sedaris’s longest essays, and another that has stayed with me in the years since I first heard it, is “The Smoking Section” from When You Are Engulfed in Flames. In it, Sedaris details his love of smoking cigarettes and his attempt to quit while living for a few months in Tokyo. Overall, When Your Are Engulfed in Flames is Sedaris’s most macabre collection, and book cover echoes that, showing a skeleton smoking a cigarette, a nod to “The Smoking Section” as well as another of the book’s essays. The book’s title also comes from “The Smoking Section,” in a strange phrase Sedaris encountered in Japanese hotel, giving tips for various dangerous situations, including “when you are engulfed in flames.”

Watching David Sedaris perform his work live is a true joy. Sedaris, never quite satisfied with his work, even his long-published essays, will read with a pen in hand, making microedits as he goes. His enthusiasm for his work is apparent from his first words. If you ever have the chance to see him read, don’t turn it down. But until then, fill the void with his awesome audiobooks.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to the clip below, where Sedaris explains his massive collection of owls.

Find David Sedaris’s contributions to This American Life.


What’s your favorite Sedaris story? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our David Sedaris author page on Libro.fm.