Hey y’all! I finished Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris last week. It’s easily one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Although I caused my friends some confusion, the book actually has nothing to do with diabetes and only one chapter is devoted to owls – primarily deceased ones, too. No big deal.
In actuality, this book is a collection of humorous essays that left me literally laughing out loud. I know this is an overused phrase, but I received quite some looks at the pool as I was chuckling at my tablet. Most of the essays chronicle David’s explorations throughout various countries. In fact, this global element is what placed the book on the 26 Books that will Change the Way You See the World list. The stories are light-hearted and culturally fascinating as Sedaris humorously points out the different idiosyncrasies from country to country.
There are two aspects of this book that I greatly value. The first is obviously Sedaris’ ability to write hilarious and entertaining stories out of nearly thin air – no grocery store trip, airport line or standard family dinner is left untapped. The second is Sedaris’ writing style. His mix of quirkiness and humor with a dash of emotionally charged storytelling leaves me with writer’s envy. I’m hoping his writing can inspire a little bit of mine.
There are a lot of knee-slap worthy, and also downright I-can’t-believe-he-said-that-but-I’m-laughing-anyways quotes from David throughout the book. My favorites include:
- “Listen,” I’d always like to say, “I’m not a parent myself, but I think the best solution at this point is to slap that child across the face. It won’t stop its crying, but at least now it’ll be doing it for a good reason.”
- When my mother announced dinner, he took off his jacket, stepped out of his trousers, and took his seat alongside the rest of us. From the tabletop up, he was business casual – the ironed shirt, the loosened tie – but from there on down it was just briefs and bare legs.
- Of the many expressions we Americans tend to overuse, I think the most irritating is ‘Blind people are human too.’
- People didn’t say “artist,” they said “starving artist,” so even if you weren’t doing anything of consequence, as long as you were hungry you were on the right track, weren’t you?
- Since I’d come back to Raleigh, my most daring achievement was to move into my own apartment, this at my father’s insistence and done practically at knifepoint.
- He can talk about litter, but when the topic shifts to the price of heating oil or the correct way to lay a paving stone, he can shift with it. For me, though, there is no other topic.
- As a child, I assumed that when I reached adulthood, I would have grown-up thoughts. By this I meant that I would stop living in a fantasy world; that, while standing in line for a hamburger or my shot at the ATM, I would not daydream about befriending a gorilla or inventing a pill that would make hair waterproof. In this regard too, my diaries have proven me wrong.
I feel like a book is only as good as what it teaches you. For me, Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is a reminder to enjoy the simple and, of course, funny things in life. There are too many things in the world to take seriously, but this book ain’t one of them, folks. If you’re looking for an entertaining read (ideally by pool-side), I highly recommend LEDWO. Get some.
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