Author Spotlight: David Sedaris

For many, it has become a holiday tradition to gather around whatever audio output device everyone now uses and listen to writer and humorist David Sedaris read the essay that made him famous: “SantaLand Diaries.” First read by Sedaris on NPR in 1992, “SantaLand Diaries” recalls Sedaris’ experiences the two years he was employed by Macy’s as a Christmas elf. With grim humor and dead-on observations, “SantaLand Diaries” set Sedaris on a trajectory of becoming one of America’s foremost humor writers.

Since then, over the past twenty-five years, Sedaris has written several books of stories and essays, each book filled with wry observations about the people, places and phenomena that surround him. Sedaris’ topics range from the time he tried an external cathader in “Stadium Pal,” to the time he and his fellow students in a beginner’s French class try to explain the tenants of Christianity using only first-year French in “Jesus Shaves.”

Sedaris’ essays read quickly and appeal to just about everyone. It’s a particular treat to listen to him read his own work. His deadpan delivery, coupled with his impeccable timing and ear for constructing sharp one-liners that punctuate his anecdotes, add a dimension to his essays that you can’t get by just reading them to yourself. Not many writers can claim they’ve read on The Tonight Show with David Letterman, This American Life or have been nominated for a Grammy. David Sedaris can.

Here is a list of him reading his own works available at

Holidays on Ice

By David Sedaris
These essays center around the Christmas season. They include the aforementioned SantaLand Diaries and a scathing review of a child’s Christmas pageant called Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol.

Me Talk Pretty One Day

By David Sedaris
These essays are split into parts, the first being concerned with Sedaris’ life up to the point that he moves to France with his partner, Hugh. The second part documents his life in Paris particularly examining the difficulties of living in a country where he didn’t know the language.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

By David Sedaris
Largely observational, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls tackles issues such as flossing and getting a colonoscopy.


By David Sedaris
Sedaris buys a vacation home in North Carolina where he and his family can meet once a year. It causes him to ruminate on aging and mid-life.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

By David Sedaris
This collection of 22 stories and essays focus mainly on Sedaris’ family and growing up in North Carolina, although there are a few stories dealing pondering his current life with his partner and living in France.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames

By David Sedaris
This collection covers everything from buying drugs in North Carolina to travelling to Tokyo in order to quit smoking.


By David Sedaris
A memoir about childhood, which includes dark humor as well as heavy topics including the death of Sedaris’ mother.

Barrel Fever

By David Sedaris
Barrel Fever is one of the only Sedaris collections that include both fiction and non-fiction. If you want to see what a Sedaris short story is like, or just want to read some of his earlier work, this is the book for you.

Theft By Finding

By David Sedaris
David Sedaris has kept a lot of notes about his observations. Twenty-five years of them are collected here.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

By David Sedaris
A collection of short stories of animals that can talk. Though it might not be typical Sedaris, maybe it actually is

Erik Evenson lives in Seattle with his wife and two boys. He has a mildly unhealthy addiction to podcasts and can flip a fried egg without breaking the yoke. You can find his work at McSweeney's Online Tendency, Hobart, Spartan Lit and PANK, among others.

Image icon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *