Naked

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Overview

Welcome to the hilarious, strange, elegiac, outrageous world of David Sedaris. In Naked, Sedaris turns the mania for memoir on its ear, mining the exceedingly rich terrain of his life, his family, and his unique worldview-a sensibility at once take-no-prisoners sharp and deeply charitable. A tart-tongued mother does dead-on imitations of her young son's nervous tics, to the great amusement of his teachers; a stint of Kerouackian wandering is undertaken (of course!) with a quadriplegic companion; a family gathers ...

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Overview

Welcome to the hilarious, strange, elegiac, outrageous world of David Sedaris. In Naked, Sedaris turns the mania for memoir on its ear, mining the exceedingly rich terrain of his life, his family, and his unique worldview-a sensibility at once take-no-prisoners sharp and deeply charitable. A tart-tongued mother does dead-on imitations of her young son's nervous tics, to the great amusement of his teachers; a stint of Kerouackian wandering is undertaken (of course!) with a quadriplegic companion; a family gathers for a wedding in the face of imminent death. Through it all is Sedaris's unmistakable voice, without doubt one of the freshest in American writing.

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  • C.O.G. Movie Trailer [Adapted from "Naked"]
    C.O.G. Movie Trailer [Adapted from  

Editorial Reviews

Dwight Garner

David Sedaris has an unmistakable voice -- high, reedy and more than a little bit mischievous, it leaps out at you on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," where he is a semi-regular commentator. (He's the only soul who doesn't seem to be drowning in a Sargasso Sea of Sincerity.) Unlike most of NPR's on-air personalities, Sedaris' voice translates to paper. His first book, Barrel Fever (1993), was a memorably prickly collection of autobiographical comic essays. The book's best piece, "The SantaLand Diaries," detailed Sedaris' experiences as a disgruntled elf in a Macy's Christmas tableau -- it's become a minor classic of holiday fear and loathing.

Sedaris' second collection, Naked, contains a similar amount of odd, confessional whimsy. Many of the pieces here are based on Sedaris' memories of his suburban childhood in North Carolina, and they combine an almost David Lynchian strangeness with the plucky wit of Evelyn Waugh. In "Next of Kin," he writes about how, after he finds a cheesy porn novel in the woods, his entire family winds up devouring it. ("A veil had been lifted, especially for Gretchen, who now saw the world as a steaming pit of unbridled sexuality.") In "A Plague of Tics," Sedaris describes how his multiple childhood compulsions made it almost impossible for him to get out of the house. ("After kissing the fourth, eighth, and twelfth carpeted stair, I wiped the cat hair off my lips and proceeded to the kitchen, where I was commanded to stroke the burners of the stove, press my nose against the refrigerator door, and arrange the percolator, toaster, and blender into a straight row.") Other essays here offer even more absurd comedy: A piece called "Dinah, the Christmas Whore" recounts the time Sedaris' sister brought a prostitute home for the holidays. The title story is about his experiences at a low-budget nudist colony.

While none of the pieces here is as devilishly cranky as "The SantaLand Diaries," Naked is ultimately a stronger and more grounded book than Barrel Fever. That's because Sedaris digs deeper into his subjects here, and some of the best essays combine shrewd observation with some genuinely affecting subject matter. In a fairly miraculous piece called "The Women's Open," Sedaris writes about his sister's first period, which occurs on a public golf course. (Their befuddled, hapless father sends the poor girl off for "help" with the first woman he sees.) And an essay titled "Get Your Ya-Ya's Out!" contains some bracing writing about visiting his grandmother at her final nursing home: "Unlike her former home, Mayview made no attempt to disguise the inevitable. There was no talk of one's well-deserved golden years, no rented buses or craft carnivals."

Sedaris is already a noted playwright -- he and his sister Amy write comedies under the name The Talent Family -- and word is he's at work on a novel. I'll be among those in line to buy it. -- Salon

Francine Prose
Hilariously entertaining. . . .The essays in Naked re-create the cathartic, the spiritual experience of laughing so hard that it hurts. — New York Observer
Details
One of the most talked-about, most enjoyed bestsellers of the year, Naked offers a collection of hilarious, touching, genre-bending vignettes. . .
Library Journal
This collection of biographical stories from playwright and National Public Radio commentator Sedaris are at times heartwarming, poignant, sad, and laugh-out-loud funny. They cover Sedaris's dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder, the realization that he is gay, his father's overprotective tendencies, his mother's and sister's love for detective shows, how he comes to believe he is like Richard Kimball's Fugitive, and how he and his siblings cope with the realization that their mother is dying of cancer. Read by Sedaris with assistance from his sister Amy, this humorous look at life will make listeners feel as if they are in the closet with David, trying to trap the person who stole money from his father or on the mountaintop where one of his sisters gets married. A wonderful addition to popular collections.Danna C. Bell-Russel, American Univ. Natl. Equal Justice Lib., Washington, D.C.
People
Brilliant. . .a fresh comic voice. . .There's wisdom in these stories.
Details
One of the most talked-about, most enjoyed bestsellers of the year, Naked offers a collection of hilarious, touching, genre-bending vignettes. . .
R. L. Pela
If satire were a more revered literary tradition, David Sedaris would be considered an American master, and we might at last lay to rest all those overused references to James Thurber and Nathaniel West...

Sedaris's second collection of stories is a hilarious heap of autobiography that recounts a gay childhood governed by a crabby, whiskey-soaked mother, followed by an adult life plagued by trailer trash and born-again wackos...All these murky memories and high-concept stories are culled from Sedaris's own odd life. But his curmudgeonly comic genius and outrageous wit make them our own as well, a wacked-out set of scenes from our all-too-familiar world.
The Advocate

Kirkus Reviews
In this collection of essays, playwright and NPR commentator Sedaris tops his anarchically hilarious miscellany Barrel Fever by inventing a new genre: autobiography as fun-house mirror. From the first sentence ('I'm thinking of asking the servants to wax my change before placing it in the Chinese tank I keep on my dresser'), Naked pretty well clobbers the reader into dizzy submission. Growing up in Raleigh, N.C., Sedaris had disruptive nervous tics that only disappeared once he took up smoking, which, 'despite its health risks, is much more socially acceptable than crying out in tiny voices.' The author volunteered at a mental hospital and spoke solely in Shakespearean English for a spell. One Christmas his sister brought home a co-worker who moonlighted as a prostitute: 'From this moment on, the phrase `ho, ho, ho' would take on a whole different meaning.' Sedaris's best humor is generally rooted in misery: At college he befriended 'a fun girl with a degenerative nerve disease' and confined to a wheelchair, with whom he successfully shoplifted (no one stopped them) and hitchhiked (everyone stopped for them); he astutely illuminates the weird mixture of altruism and vanity that motivated him to become his friend's caretaker. Sedaris's extensive résumé of hitchhiking trips and dire jobs has provided him with an absurd array of distressing incidental characters, like the belligerent, legless Jesus freak for whom he worked making jade clocks in the shape of Oregon. The author's wisecracking mother emerges as a full-blown comic heroine, and the essay discussing the months before her death achieves a brilliant synthesis of solemnity and humor. Only atthe end, when describing a visit to a downscale nudist camp, does Sedaris disappoint, as he seems to have gone on the jaunt solely to acquire filler material. Sedaris applies the same deadpan fastidiousness to his life that Charlie Chaplin applied to his shoe in The Gold Rush—this is splendid stuff.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316777735
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 6/1/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 45,646
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

David  Sedaris
David Sedaris
Starting with his deadpan, disarmingly funny pieces on NPR and continuing with his collections of short fiction and essays, David Sedaris is one of the best, sharpest humorists writing today. His quirky history and family are rich material, but he's also just as hilarious simply satirizing Christmas cards or mocking his own vices.

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

Read an Excerpt

Naked
By David Sedaris Back Bay Books

Copyright © 1998 David Sedaris
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316777735



Chapter One


chipped beef

I'm thinking of asking the servants to wax my change before placing it in the Chinese tank I keep on my dresser. It's important to have clean money--not new, but well maintained. That's one of the tenets of my church. It's not mine personally, but the one I attend with my family: the Cathedral of the Sparkling Nature. It's that immense Gothic building with the towers and bells and statues of common people poised to leap from the spires. They offer tours and there's an open house the first Sunday of every October. You should come! Just don't bring your camera, because the flash tends to spook the horses, which is a terrible threat to me and my parents, seeing as the reverend insists that we occupy the first pew. He rang us up not long ago, tipsy--he's a tippler--saying that our faces brought him closer to God. And it's true, we're terribly good-looking people. They're using my mother's profile on the new monorail token, and as for my father and me, the people at NASA want to design a lunar module based on the shape of our skulls. Our cheekbones are aeronautic and the clefts of our chins can hold up to three dozen BBs at a time. When asked, most people say that my greatest asset is my skin, which glows--it really does! I have to tie a sock over myeyes in order to fall asleep at night. Others like my eyes or my perfect, gleaming teeth, my thick head of hair or my imposing stature, but if you want my opinion, I think my most outstanding feature is my ability to accept a compliment.

Because we are so smart, my parents and I are able to see through people as if they were made of hard, clear plastic. We know what they look like naked and can see the desperate inner workings of their hearts, souls, and intestines. Someone might say, "How's it hangin', big guy," and I can smell his envy, his fumbling desire to win my good graces with a casual and inappropriate folksiness that turns my stomach with pity. How's it hanging, indeed. They know nothing about me and my way of life; and the world, you see, is filled with people like this.

Take, for example, the reverend, with his trembling hands and waxy jacket of skin. He's no more complex than one of those five-piece wooden puzzles given to idiots and school-children. He wants us to sit in the front row so we won't be a distraction to the other parishioners, who are always turning in their pews, craning their necks to admire our physical and spiritual beauty. They're enchanted by our breeding and want to see firsthand how we're coping with our tragedy. Everywhere we go, my parents and I are the center of attention. "It's them! Look, there's the son! Touch him, grab for his tie, a lock of his hair, anything!"

The reverend hoped that by delivering his sermon on horseback, he might regain a bit of attention for himself, but even with the lariat and his team of prancing Clydesdales, his plan has failed to work. At least with us seated in the front row, the congregation is finally facing forward, which is a step in the right direction. If it helps bring people closer to God, we'd be willing to perch on the pipe organ or lash ourselves to the original stainless-steel cross that hangs above the altar. We'd do just about anything because, despite our recent hardships, our first duty is to help others. The Inner City Picnic Fund, our Annual Headache Drive, the Polo Injury Wing at the local Memorial Hospital: we give unspeakable amounts to charity, but you'll never hear us talk about it. We give anonymously because the sackfuls of thank-you letters break our hearts with their clumsy handwriting and hopeless phonetic spelling. Word gets out that we're generous and good-looking, and before you know it our front gate will become a campsite for fashion editors and crippled children, who tend to ruin the grass with the pointy shanks of their crutches. No, we do what we can but with as little fanfare as possible. You won't find us waving from floats or marching alongside the Grand Pooh-bah, because that would only draw attention to ourselves. Oh, you see the hangers-on doing that sort of thing all the time, but it's cheap and foolish and one day they'll face the consequences of their folly. They're hungry for something they know nothing about, but we, we know all too well that the price of fame is the loss of privacy. Public displays of happiness only encourage the many kidnappers who prowl the leafy estates of our better neighborhoods.

When my sisters were taken, my father crumpled the ransom note and tossed it into the eternal flame that burns beside the mummified Pilgrim we keep in the dining hall of our summer home in Olfactory. We don't negotiate with criminals, because it's not in our character. Every now and then we think about my sisters and hope they're doing well, but we don't dwell upon the matter, as that only allows the kidnappers to win. My sisters are gone for the time being but, who knows, maybe they'll return someday, perhaps when they're older and have families of their own. In the meantime, I am left as the only child and heir to my parents' substantial fortune. Is it lonely? Sometimes. I've still got my mother and father and, of course, the servants, several of whom are extraordinarily clever despite their crooked teeth and lack of breeding. Why, just the other day I was in the stable with Duncan when...

"Oh, for God's sake," my mother said, tossing her wooden spoon into a cauldron of chipped-beef gravy. "Leave that goddamned cat alone before I claw you myself. It's bad enough you've got her tarted up like some two-dollar whore. Take that costume off her and turn her loose before she runs away just like the last one."

Adjusting my glasses with my one free hand, I reminded her that the last cat had been hit by a car.

"She did it on purpose," my mother said. "It was her only way out, and you drove her to it with your bullshit about eating prime rib with the Kennedys or whatever the hell it was you were yammering on about that day. Go on now, and let her loose. Then I want you to run out to the backyard and call your sisters out of that ditch. Find your father while you're at it. If he's not underneath his car, he's probably working on the septic tank. Tell them to get their asses to the table, or they'll be eating my goddamned fist for dinner."

It wasn't that we were poor. According to my parents, we were far from it, just not far enough from it to meet my needs. I wanted a home with a moat rather than a fence. In order to get a decent night's sleep, I needed an airport named in our honor.

"You're a snob," my mother would say. "That's your problem in a hard little nutshell. I grew up around people like you, and you know what? I couldn't stand them. Nobody could."

No matter what we had--the house, the cars, the vacations--it was never enough. Somewhere along the line a terrible mistake had been made. The life I'd been offered was completely unacceptable, but I never gave up hope that my real family might arrive at any moment, pressing the doorbell with their white-gloved fingers. "Oh, Lord Chisselchin," they'd cry, tossing their top hats in celebration, "thank God we've finally found you."

"It ain't going to happen," my mother said. "Believe me, if I was going to steal a baby, I would have taken one that didn't bust my ass every time I left my coat lying on the sofa. I don't know how it happened, but you're mine. If that's a big disappointment for you, just imagine what I must feel."

While my mother grocery-shopped, I would often loiter near the front of the store. It was my hope that some wealthy couple would stuff me into the trunk of their car. They might torture me for an hour or two, but after learning that I was good with an iron, surely they would remove my shackles and embrace me as one of their own.

"Any takers?" my mother would ask, wheeling her loaded grocery cart out into the parking lot.

"Don't you know any childless couples?" I'd ask. "Someone with a pool or a private jet?"

"If I did, you'd be the first one to know."

My displeasure intensified with the appearance of each new sister.

"You have how many children in your family?" the teachers would ask. "I'm guessing you must be Catholic, am I right?"

It seemed that every Christmas my mother was pregnant. The toilet was constantly filled with dirty diapers, and toddlers were forever padding into my bedroom, disturbing my seashell and wine-bottle collections.

I had no notion of the exact mechanics, but from overhearing the neighbors, I understood that our large family had something to do with my mother's lack of control. It was her fault that we couldn't afford a summerhouse with bay windows and a cliffside tennis court. Rather than improve her social standing, she chose to spit out children, each one filthier than the last.

It wasn't until she announced her sixth pregnancy that I grasped the complexity of the situation. I caught her in the bedroom, crying in the middle of the afternoon.

"Are you sad because you haven't vacuumed the basement yet?" I asked. "I can do that for you if you want."

"I know you can," she said. "And I appreciate your offer. No, I'm sad because, shit, because I'm going to have a baby, but this is the last one, I swear. After this one I'll have the doctor tie my tubes and solder the knot just to make sure it'll never happen again."

I had no idea what she was talking about--a tube, a knot, a soldering gun--but I nodded my head as if she and I had just come to some sort of a private agreement that would later be finalized by a team of lawyers.

"I can do this one more time but I'm going to need your help." She was still crying in a desperate, sloppy kind of way, but it didn't embarrass me or make me afraid. Watching her slender hands positioned like a curtain over her face, I understood that she needed more than just a volunteer maid. And, oh, I would be that person. A listener, a financial advisor, even a friend: I swore to be all those things and more in exchange for twenty dollars and a written guarantee that I would always have my own private bedroom. That's how devoted I was. And knowing what a good deal she was getting, my mother dried her face and went off in search of her pocketbook.

Continues...


Excerpted from Naked by David Sedaris Copyright © 1998 by David Sedaris. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Chipped Beef 1
A Plague of Tics 7
Get Your Ya-Ya's Out 23
Next of Kin 40
Cyclops 46
The Women's Open 53
True Detective 61
Dix Hill 73
I Like Guys 81
The Drama Bug 95
Dinah, the Christmas Whore 106
Planet of the Apes 121
The Incomplete Quad 143
C.O.G. 153
Something for Everyone 202
Ashes 234
Naked 251
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Interviews & Essays

On Tuesday, May 27, barnesandnoble.com welcomed David Sedaris, author of NAKED.


Moderator: Welcome to barnesandnoble.com. We are excited to welcome David Sedaris to the Auditorium this evening to chat about his latest hilarious book, NAKED. Welcome and thanks for joining us!

David Sedaris: Good evening. Hello!


Michele from Dallas: Do your novels take an average length of time to finish? Or do you find some take quite a bit longer than others? If so, why?

David Sedaris: I've never written a novel, but my first book was written over the course of four years. I never thought it would be a book. I wrote the stories over four years as they came to me. The second book was written over the course of a year -- a long and terrible year -- in order to make a deadline.


Steve from Bloomington, IL: What inspired you to write NAKED or to name it NAKED?

David Sedaris: My deadline inspired me to write it. And the title was inspired by my trip to the nudist colony. But if I had it to do over again, it would be different, because I'm weary of one-word titles.


Emily Hatfield from CT: I read in The New York Observer that you and your sister, Amy, collaborated on several sections of BARREL FEVER for the stage in particular. Did you write any of NAKED for the stage? If so, which sections? Do you have actors in mind for the roles?

David Sedaris: I didn't write any part of NAKED for the stage, but I read part of it with Amy aloud in New York. I thought about part of it being performed, but they would have to be naked the whole time in order for it to make sense. I work with a troupe on a regular basis, but I'm not sure if any of them are willing to be naked for an entire play.


Amelia from NC: What kind of response have you gotten from your family about this book?

David Sedaris: They all seem to enjoy it. Any story that pertained to any of my brothers and sisters I let them read first and choose whether or not the piece would be included. I think they understand that this is my perspective of what happened.


Kathleen from NJ: Do you find it painful to write about yourself? Is it more difficult than writing about characters you make up?

David Sedaris: I think I prefer to write about fictional characters -- only because I don't know where their story is going. Seeing as that I think of myself almost exclusively, it's no great leap to write about myself. But I look forward to writing fiction now.


Brian from Hoboken: David, do you work on TV or movie screenwriting? Have you been approached about using your books as subjects for TV or movies?

David Sedaris: Yes, for some reason I'm often approached, which puzzles me, because I don't see how any of them would work. My sister did a sketch-comedy show which they worked well for. But as far as TV or movies go, I don't see how any of them would work. I'm not up for the power pyramid that comes with those kind of productions. I like to be on top of things.


Lynda from Bethpage, NY: Will you be doing any book signings at the B&N stores on Long Island -- the Huntington, Carle Place, or Massapequa Stores?

David Sedaris: I don't have any plans to. I just finished a two month-long tour. I don't have any plans to, and I don't care if I never get on another plane in my life. In terms of a book tour, I have no idea why they send you where. I have no idea why I went to Cedar Rapids instead of Miami.


Fisher from RI: Sounds like a great book. Would my 12-year-old daughter be too young to read it?

David Sedaris: Twelve, yes. Seventeen would be alright, but I don't think it would be of much interest to a 12-year-old.


Mike from NYC: David, I loved SANTALAND DIARIES and was wondering if you ever considered performing it yourself.

David Sedaris: No. It was adapted as a stage play last year, but I had no desire to perform it myself. I've smoked so much pot I can barely remember my zip code, and the thought of remembering all that dialogue.... I like to read out loud, but I have no interest in performing.


Jill from Boston: Who do you like to read? Are there authors that have inspired you?

David Sedaris: I tried not to read anything while I was working on the book. So I just started reading some of the things I've got backed up, like ANGELA'S ASHES -- which I love. And some Flannery O'Connor, which knocks me out every time I read it. I love Susan Sheehan, Thomas Berger; I loved reading THE DESIGNATED MOURNER, the new Wallace Shawn play, and the Tanya Tucker biography.


Karen O'Connor from Needham, MA: Hi, David. I am curious about what it is you have in you that enables you to bare all your secrets, embarrassing and all, to the world. What made you decide to do this book? Did you feel a sort of cleansing when you finished it? Or did you feel "naked" but uncomfortably so?

David Sedaris: I felt neither cleansed nor naked. There were a lot of things there that I would have preferred to address in fiction . There were a lot of parts featured in "Morning Edition," but they could only be six minutes long, so I started the book by expanding those radio pieces. Not until I was halfway through did I think it would be a book about me.


Jonathan from Massachusetts: It seems you are able to find the upside to even the saddest of family moments in your writing. Is this a general personality trait or something that you discovered when you began writing NAKED? I loved the book!

David Sedaris: Thank you! I figure that no one wants to hear the maudlin stuff -- I know people like that and I avoid their phone calls. In retrospect, I think about what was funny about it. I write kind of serious maudlin things at night, but eventually I sober up and throw them away.


Mike from NYC: I just got NAKED today, so I haven't been able to read the whole thing yet, although I am listening to The Captain & Tenille's "Greatest Hits" right now. The book jacket is awesome! Did you have any say in the design?

David Sedaris: Chip Kidd did the jacket, and I'd always been an admirer of his work -- he's a publisher's way of letting you know they really care. He came up with the design on his own, and I like it.


Kiely from Miami Beach: Do you take any inspiration from the writers you mentioned earlier that you like to read, like Flannery O'Connor or even Frank McCourt? What writers have inspired you to write?

David Sedaris: I suppose anyone whose work I read and enjoy I find inspirational. It's inspirational that they could write such a rewarding book. When I was younger, I was more apt to copy the writers I admired, I think it took a while to figure out that that was who they were, and to admire them instead of try to be them.


Angel from East Village: Do you feel you bared your soul in NAKED? I read that in The Village Voice and couldn't decide if the journalist was just trying to be cute or if you had truly bared your soul in the book? I mean, I loved it but did you feel raw when it was published?

David Sedaris: No, I didn't. I'm not what you would call a secretive person . A lifetime of running my mouth had prepared me for writing this book, and worrying that I had revealed so much of myself that there was nothing left.


Roy Dicks from Raleigh, NC: I read in a magazine interview with you that you had mentioned having 70 pages of a novel written (this was before NAKED came out). Is that a different book or did it turn into NAKED.?

David Sedaris: That's a different book. I'm not sure if I'll go back and finish it or if I'll just leave it. In order to finish it, I'll need to attend the academy for locksmiths and spend some time in a rehab center -- because my main character is paralyzed.


Mark from Boston: Do you plan to do any more pieces on "This American Life" (on NPR) from NAKED?

David Sedaris: Probably not from NAKED, but I plan to do more stories for the show. What I like about Ira's show is that he'll give me a theme to write from. He gave me 17 sound effects and I had to identify them in order. I know I have a live presentation for his show in two weeks, but he still hasn't told my what the theme is.


Mike from NYC: You remind me a lot of Nicky Silver. Are you a fan of his work?

David Sedaris: I've only seen two of his plays. And I look forward to seeing more -- I think he's really funny. I got to meet him recently, and that was a real treat for me.


Lani from Philadelphia: Thank goodness for your book. I had just finished ANGELA'S ASHES, which I dearly loved but found excruciatingly painful. I not only loved your humor but appreciated your clever writing style. I immediately went out and bought BARREL FEVER as well. Have you ever thought, however, of writing a novel instead of short stories?

David Sedaris: My next book has to be a novel. They're bringing out a book in October, but it's a collection of previously published material . The next book has to be a novel -- it's in the contract. I have no idea how to write a novel, but I guess I'll have to learn.


Aaron from LA: What are your hobbies? If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

David Sedaris: If I weren't a writer, I would be a taxidermist. Right now my hobby is collecting taxidermy. If I wasn't writing, I would probably learn to stuff the animals myself.


John from SC: You seem like someone who would ponder the future. Any predictions for the year 2000? Anything I should look out for? )

David Sedaris: Gosh, I'm just not one to ponder the future -- I don't really think that way. Anytime I see a story in the paper about something that will affect my life, like the cost of cigarettes going up, I just close the paper and wish it away. The only thing I can see about the future is that it's going to be really rough for smokers.


Steve from MA: Boxers or briefs?

David Sedaris: Briefs -- even though there are boxers on the cover. If they put my briefs on the cover, no one would go near the book.


Mike from NYC: Did I read something about you doing something as "The Talent Family" or something like that?

David Sedaris: My sister Amy and I work together as the Talent Family. We usually do a play once a year. I'm not in the plays, but we write them together. We had a play, "The Little Frieda Mysteries," at Lamoma last winter, and we have a play coming up for this summer's Lincoln Center festival in July. We start rehearsals tomorrow, and I have ten pages of dialogue. I'm in trouble with this play. Right now we're talking with a fiddle player, hoping that some sort of a staged hoedown might make up for a good ten minutes.


Amy from Charlotte, NC: Coming from the Bible Belt, do you find that growing up in North Carolina colors the way you think or write? Or has it simply improved your sense of humor?-)

David Sedaris: Well, I grew up in North Carolina, but I was from upstate New York, so we were only sort of outside the established social life there. And maybe it helped me become an observer.


Marianne from West Virginia: Hi, David. Did your mom get a chance to read even part of this book? Or anything else you have written with her in mind? She was wonderfully funny and acerbic in NAKED.

David Sedaris: Thank you. No, my mother died before either of my books were published, but I know there is nothing in NAKED that she would have objected to.


Amanda from NYC: What do you think of the Internet craze? Do you think people need to find something better to do or do you think it will have a positive effect on society?

David Sedaris: I know nothing about computers. I've never touched one except to clean it. I've seen people in airports hunched over their little laptops, but I have no idea what they're doing. I despise the word. I have an IBM electric typwriter, and that's fine for me. Eventually, though, they'll stop making ribbons, and I'll be left brewing White-Out in my bathtub.


Mike from NYC: Before you leave us, we must know if you're single!

David Sedaris: No. I was lucky enough to trick someone into being my boyfriend. And we've been together for close to seven years. He designs the backdrops for all of our plays, so I can't afford to break up with him. Besides, where were all the guys before I had a book published?


Tod from Seattle: Have you ever read HIGH FIDELITY by Nick Hornby? It is fiction, but I think your writing is similar.

David Sedaris: No, I haven't read it. But I heard him interviewed by Terry Gross and always intended to read that book. I'll put it on my list.


Jen from West Chester: I am wondering how much of your book is fact or fiction. Surely you exaggerate the basic events or anomalies. Otherwise I can't imagine how you could grow up to be a functional being.

David Sedaris: I exaggerated, but not as much as most people think that I did. The way I see it, it's like taking my family members and putting them onstage. Most of my exaggeration came in the dialogue.


Dave from work: Do you think life in general is funny? Do you sit on the subways looking at people and just laugh to yourself? Do you have any advice for people who take life too seriously?

David Sedaris: I guess I'm just prone to seeking out what's absurd in any given situation, but personally, I'm no laugh riot to spend time with. And people who take life too seriously should probably either take up drugs or run for office.


Mike from NYC: Thanks for a fun hour -- keep smoking!

David Sedaris: OK!


Moderator: Thank you for joining us tonight, David Sedaris! Good night.

David Sedaris: Good night! Thanks for having me.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 274 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(143)

4 Star

(90)

3 Star

(27)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 274 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Have you ever been held at gunpoint by someone who picked you up

    Have you ever been held at gunpoint by someone who picked you up when hitchhiking? Or befriended a paraplegic, mainly for the “credit” others gave you for being such a good person? Maybe spent a week at a nudist camp trying to figure out why the most important requirement was to bring lots of towels?

    ”Naked” by David Sedaris is a hilarious memoir of the author’s life. Sedaris finds humor in his faults, his family, and the strange situations that he encounters. Unlike some other popular memoirs, “Naked” is very well written and easy to enjoy. Each essay (as his chapters are called) is short, humorous, and enjoyable, and gives you an idea of what Sedaris’s life has been like.

    I highly recommend “Naked” by David Sedaris. This is a quick read and well worth it!

    What did you think of it? Visit my blog and give me your thoughts on the book!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2000

    Hysterical!

    David Sedaris takes us to places that no one seems to want to talk about - yet everyone has experienced or thought about. His realistic outlook is refreshing in a world of hypocrites. I have never laughed outloud while reading a book until David Sedaris...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    incomplete MP3

    The book MP3 I received was incomplete. It came in 3 parts. Part 3 simply repeated part 2 rather than finishing the book. As I was on a long drive and would have listened to the book the entire trip I am not looking for the book to be replaced. When I alerted B&N I received an automated email saying I would hear back in 24 hours. I did not. It has now been almost a month. I am disappointed in the customer service.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Recommended

    Not for the uptight, he is hilarious, Kind of gross humor but oh so funny. I now buy anything written by him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    David Sedaris on Audio a must!

    David Sedaris is a phenomenally witty short story writer. I highly recommend listening to him on audio, so you can experience his work exactly the way he meant it to be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    What a crack-up

    Ok ok we're talking Sedaris here- from the moment you begin till you finish wishing for more, you're simulataneously laughing and angst-filled, jealous of his wit and grateful for not having lived through those moments that wrought it. Great book-great gift

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2000

    Look like an ass in public

    I was grinning to my self like a moron on the subway because of this book. It's so well written, funny and just really cool...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2000

    <<< Sooo Funny!!! >>>

    This is the funniest book I've read since... EVER!!! I actually laughed out loud while racing through 'A Plagure of Ticks' and 'Get Your Ya Yas Out'. His keen observations and pointed sarcasm make him one of the best contemporary humorists around. I've already forced it on many of my willing friends and hope you'll try it too!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    How to do

    How do u do nook sex by the way im 15 i have black hair....and between u and me im very sexy. Boy

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    STOP NOOK SEX SEX AND SAYING ALL THE HUMAN PRATIVE PARTS

    Dfdddedehfufjuhdsksgyhwkf

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    Stop nook sex

    Its bad and inapropriate

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2013

    Somewhat Entertaining

    Some of these stories are very funny, and some of them are depressing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2013

    ¿If nothing else, life in the suburbs promised that you might go

    “If nothing else, life in the suburbs promised that you might go from day to day without finding sh*t in your hair,” or at least you would think. The chapter describing why this could not be relied upon had me on the floor laughing. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2013

    I like this man and the way he thinks. This could have come stra

    I like this man and the way he thinks. This could have come straight out of my mouth: “I haven't the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.” 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2013

    A funny book told by a sad person. He is tragic but he ascends h

    A funny book told by a sad person. He is tragic but he ascends his worst with witticism. In “A Plague of Tics&quot; he is at his OCD best and had me laughing while he licked light switches. 




    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 2, 2013

    ¿I was a smart-ass, born and raised. This had been my curse and

    “I was a smart-ass, born and raised. This had been my curse and would continue to be so.” And I thank the literary gods that it was so. David Sedaris is a smart mouth straight through the book and a funny one as well.




    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    I can see your butt and wee wee

    Uygghfgvx

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Very funny!!!

    Very funny!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    Awful

    So inaccurate

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    David Sedaris is one of my favorite authors of all time and this

    David Sedaris is one of my favorite authors of all time and this book does more than enough to prove it. I found this novel to be funny, but then it can be very touching without being too feminen. It will make you rethink society all over again and make you think about what the world would be like in David Sedaris' mind.What if the entire human population was nudist and bald, how would we tell each other apart?, or Have I ever seen a real life hooker in the flesh?
    And while reading this book I probaly looked like I had just escaped from a mental institution because I was laughing like a maniac. This book will make you keep wanting more of Sedaris' writing and running to the book store to get it. I would recomend this book to anyone who wants a book that is relatable or just something to make you feel better on a crappy day.
    -Julia Dotson

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 274 Customer Reviews

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