David Sedaris will be reading from his newest short story collection, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary (Little, Brown and Company, 2010) in an evening presented by WABE 90.1FM at the Atlanta Symphony Hall on Saturday, October 27, as part of his 43 city tour.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a collection of stories in which talking animals are the main characters. These stories are some of his best and in true Sedaris fashion are often wickedly funny, absurd, and unsettling at the same time. A mouse keeps a snake as a pet, or “reptile companion,” as the mouse says. A terminally ill white lab rat infects his cage companion with AIDS as an act of vengeance for suggesting that the first rat should blame himself for his illness. A stork tells its child that its selfishness and inability to empathize with others are the results of it being conceived without a mutual orgasm.
Sedaris’s books Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, and When You’re Engulfed in Flames, have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, and he has been featured on over 50 episodes of This American Life.
Some authors have a tendency to debase the value of readings, opting for publishing as the sole means of sharing work with the public. Sedaris, however, has been reading his work to large audiences since his essay “The Santaland Diaries”—the inspiration behind the 13-year running play returning this year to the Atlanta Horizon Theatre Company—was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition in 1992.
In a 1993 story of the New York Times, Ira Glass—host of This American Life—said he first saw Sedaris in 1992, reading from his diary for an audience at a Chicago club called the Lower Links. Glass invited Sedaris to read for his radio program, the “Wild Room” on radio station WBEZ, which led to his first spot on NPR.
Sedaris’s reading has taken him a long way from being a part-time elf and house cleaner in New York. In 2002, his reading at Carnegie Hall landed him the 2004 Audie Award for “Best Humor” Audiobook, given by the Audio Publishers Association. Not many writers can put that on their list of accomplishments, and fewer can say they’ve read on the Letterman show on multiple occasions.
The event promises to be one of the literary and performance highlights of the year. It will be a true pleasure to see one of America’s foremost humorists and raconteurs displaying the talent that is necessary to entertain a crowd by only reading from a book.