Holidays on Ice

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HOLIDAYS ON ICE collects six of David Sedaris' most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as a last-minute coaster or ice scraper. This drinking man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even the backseat of a van or police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should, in short, behave much like a book. And, oh, what a book it ...
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Overview

HOLIDAYS ON ICE collects six of David Sedaris' most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as a last-minute coaster or ice scraper. This drinking man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even the backseat of a van or police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should, in short, behave much like a book. And, oh, what a book it is!

Author Biography: David Sedaris is the author of the books "Me Talk Pretty One Day," "Barrel Fever," and "Naked," and is a regular contributor to Public Radio International's "This American Life."

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
It's hard to describe David Sedaris to those who've never read him. Mixing autobiographical details with sharp sarcasm and social commentary, Sedaris can probably best be described as a '90s version of brilliant humorist Jean Shepherd (who did his own scathing take on the holiday season with the film A Christmas Story). Sedaris' essays and stories are at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. His new anthology, Holidays on Ice, collects three previously released stories and essays and offers three brand-new ones; all revolve around Christmas.

"SantaLand Diaries," which originally appeared in "Barrel Fever," leads off the collection and may be Sedaris's best-known work. A laugh-out-loud-hysterical look at Sedaris's experiences working as an elf in SantaLand in Macy's, the story is a wickedly funny slicing-and-dicing of the holiday season and the good cheer that supposedly accompanies it. His dark humor is exactly what you need when you're getting sick of all the fuss about Christmas. Look how Sedaris handled this experience with a mother who was tiring of her son's relentless pestering:

The woman grabbed my arm and said, "You there, Elf, tell Riley here that if he doesn't start behaving immediately, then Santa's going to change his mind and bring him coal for Christmas." I said that Santa no longer traffics in coal. Instead, if you're bad he comes to your house and steals things. I told Riley that if he didn't behave himself, Santa was going to take away his TV and all his electrical appliances and leave him in the dark. "All your appliances,including the refrigerator. Your food is going to spoil and smell bad. It's going to be so cold and dark where you are. Man, Riley, are you ever going to suffer. You're going to wish you never heard the name Santa." The woman got a worried look on her face and said, "All right, that's enough." I said, "He's going to take your car and your furniture and all the towels and blankets and leave you with nothing." The mother said, "No, that's enough, really."

"Dinah, the Christmas Whore" is another semiautobiographical essay, reprinted from the author's popular Naked collection. Clearly "Dinah" has a little more social commentary to it than "SantaLand Diaries." With generous doses of sarcasm and hyperbole, Sedaris tells of the Christmas when he and his older sister rescued a prostitute from her abusive boyfriend and took her home to meet their family. Funny and effective.

One of the new pieces is sidesplittingly funny. In "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol," a theater critic shreds several elementary school productions of those excruciatingly dull Christmas pageants we've all had to sit through at one time or another. In reviewing the Sacred Heart Elementary School's version of "The Story of the First Christmas," the critic notes the children's pathetic acting.

One could hardly blame them for their lack of vitality, as the stingy, uninspired script consists, not of springy dialogue, but rather of a deadening series of pronouncements. Mary to Joseph: "I am tired." Joseph to Mary: "We will rest here for the night." There's no fire, no give and take, and the audience soon grows weary of this passionless relationship.

The remaining three essays also provide good laughs. The essay "Based on a True Story" brilliantly skewers the television industry's eagerness to cash in on tragedy for the sake of high ratings. "Christmas Means Giving" pits two neighboring families against each other in a very public battle to the death for the title of Most Charitable Family. And "Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!" is an amusing, although overlong, look at an exceptionally bad year of a family expressed via a Christmas card.

Holidays on Ice is a small package, clocking in at only 123 pages. But Sedaris makes the most of those pages, and the compact size of the book makes it an ideal choice for a stocking stuffer. If you're tired of "The Night Before Christmas" and prefer something more along the lines of "A Very Manic-Depressive Charlie Brown Christmas," then Holidays on Ice is the best gift you could give yourself this year. Matt Schwartz

Library Journal
Christmas laughs old and new from the comedian who made his name with "The Santaland Diaries."
Library Journal
Christmas laughs old and new from the comedian who made his name with "The Santaland Diaries."
The News and Advance

"...Sedaris has as much fun as is humanly (or elfishly) possible in his behind-the-scenes look at this particularly American tradition of sitting on Santa's lap and asking for stuff...Part of the fun is hearing the reaction of the New Yorkers who have to wait in line, pay for Santa photos, and generally go mad in the Christmas frenzy that Macy's embodies. And Sedaris, never quite who he seems to be, has the nasty tone of his commentary down perfectly."
New York Times
"Sedaris is the closest thing the literary world has these days to a rock star."
Judith Newman
He's the best there is.
People
Christopher Muther
A joy to read....Sedaris is a connoisseur of human nature at its worst.
Boston Globe
Mark Washburn
Sedaris is certainly worthy of hero worship....He is a master pathfinder.
Charlotte Observer
Melissa King
A writer comparable to Mark Twain or James Thurber. You have to go back a ways to find someone to compare David Sedaris with; his talent is so huge it just doesn't come around that often.
Raleigh News & Observer
From the Publisher
"Sedaris's essays are written to be heard, so listen up-he just keeps getting better." -AudioFile Magazine on DRESS YOUR FAMILY


"I love David Sedaris. I love his weird girlie-man voice and his weirder sense of humor. I love him even though his audio books nearly slay me. In fact, they would come with a warning: 'Remain still while listening. Do not attempt to operate heavy machinery or even use ordinary motor skills'."
-New York Post on BARREL FEVER

"Sedaris is the closest thing the literary world has these days to a rock star."—New York Times

Mark Washburn - Charlotte Observer
"Sedaris is certainly worthy of hero worship....He is a master pathfinder."
Melissa King - Raleigh News & Observer
"A writer comparable to Mark Twain or James Thurber. You have to go back a ways to find someone to compare David Sedaris with; his talent is so huge it just doesn't come around that often."
Judith Newman - People
"He's the best there is."
Christopher Muther - Boston Globe
"A joy to read....Sedaris is a connoisseur of human nature at its worst."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783251004553
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Language: German
  • Pages: 127

Meet the Author

David  Sedaris

David Sedaris is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Public Radio International's "This American Life." He is the author of the books When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, and Barrel Fever.

Biography

According to Time Out New York, "David Sedaris may be the funniest man alive." He's the sort of writer critics tend to describe not in terms of literary influences and trends, but in terms of what they choked on while reading his latest book. "I spewed a mouthful of pastrami across my desk," admitted Craig Seligman in his New York Times review of Naked.

Sedaris first drew national attention in 1992 with a stint on National Public Radio, on which he recounted his experiences as a Christmas elf at Macy's. He discussed "the code names for various posts, such as 'The Vomit Corner,' a mirrored wall near the Magic Tree" and confided that his response to "I'm going to have you fired" was the desire to lean over and say, "I'm going to have you killed." The radio pieces were such a hit that Sedaris, then working as a house cleaner, started getting offers to write movies, soap operas and Seinfeld episodes.

In subsequent appearances on NPR, Sedaris proved he wasn't just a velvet-clad flash in the pan; he's also wickedly funny on the subjects of smoking, speed, shoplifting and nervous tics. His work began appearing in magazines like Harper's and Mirabella, and his first book Barrel Fever, which included "SantaLand Diaries," was a bestseller. "These hilarious, lively and breathtakingly irreverent stories…made me laugh out loud more than anything I've read in years," wrote Francine Prose in the Washington Post Book World.

Since then, each successive Sedaris volume has zoomed to the top of the bestseller lists. In Naked, he recounts odd jobs like volunteering at a mental hospital, picking apples as a seasonal laborer and stripping woodwork for a Nazi sympathizer. The stocking stuffer-sized Holidays on Ice collects Sedaris' Christmas-themed work, including a fictional holiday newsletter from the homicidal stepmother of a 22-year-old Vietnamese immigrant ("She arrived in this house six weeks ago speaking only the words 'Daddy,' 'Shiny' and 'Five dollar now'. Quite a vocabulary!!!!!").

But Sedaris' best pieces often revolve around his childhood in North Carolina and his family of six siblings, including the brother who talks like a redneck gangsta rapper and the sister who, in a hilarious passage far too dirty to quote here, introduces him to the joys of the Internet. Sedaris' recent book Me Talk Pretty One Day describes, among other things, his efforts to learn French while helping his boyfriend fix up a Normandy farmhouse; he progresses "from speaking like an evil baby to speaking like a hillbilly. 'Is thems the thoughts of cows?' I'd ask the butcher, pointing to the calves' brains displayed in the front window."

Sedaris has been compared to American humorists such as Mark Twain, James Thurber and Dorothy Parker; Publisher's Weekly called him "Garrison Keillor's evil twin." Pretty heady stuff for a man who claims there are cats that weigh more than his IQ score. But as This American Life producer Ira Glass once pointed out, it would be wrong to think of Sedaris as "just a working Joe who happens to put out these perfectly constructed pieces of prose." Measured by his ability to turn his experiences into a sharply satirical, sidesplittingly funny form of art, David Sedaris is no less than a genius.

Good To Know

Sedaris got his start in radio after This American Life producer Ira Glass saw him perform at Club Lower Links in Chicago. In addition to his NPR commentaries, Sedaris now writes regularly for Esquire.

Sedaris's younger sister Amy is also a writer and performer; the two have collaborated on plays under the moniker "The Talent Family." Amy Sedaris has appeared onstage as a member of the Second City improv troupe and on Comedy Central in the series Strangers with Candy.

"If I weren't a writer, I'd be a taxidermist," Sedaris said in a chat on Barnes and Noble.com. According to the Boston Phoenix, his collection of stuffed dead animals includes a squirrel, two fruit bats, four Boston terriers and a baby ostrich.

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    1. Also Known As:
      David Raymond Sedaris (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 26, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Johnson City, New York
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1987

Table of Contents

SantaLand Diaries 3
Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!! 45
Dinah, the Christmas Whore 69
Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol 87
Based Upon a True Story 94
Christmas Means Giving 112
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