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Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTonight on TDS, acclaimed author and essayist David Sedaris discusses his new book  Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modern Bestiary -- a short collection of animal tales; and on TCR, legendary rocker and friend-of-the-show  Elvis Costello returns to talk about his new album, National Ransom.

 sausage grinder of snark

Oh, right. Diary. Sorry, got distracted. Did'ja ever have a deja vu moment, then realize "of course I've seen this before -- it's a match 3 game." Sigh.

So, here's twitter:

The Daily Show
Tomorrow's HuffPo headline: "Stewart eviscerates David Sedaris!" Tune in tonight to see it happen.
4 hours ago

The Daily Show
Tune in tonight for John Hodgman, the man who got all his powers from the bite of a radioactive hodge.
5 hours ago

The Daily Show
The Daily Show is king of late night! http://bit.ly/... Take that, Ace of Cakes rerun!
5 hours ago

The Daily Show
Our first official tweet! um, oh no twitterblock. this is so embarrassing. (thinking fast) Kitten Picture!  http://bit.ly/... Thanks Kitty
6 hours ago

Hi, new Daily Show Twitter Intern! How're you liking the job so far?

So David Sedaris is selling his newest, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. I've been seeing it on the display tables at Borders for a bit now, wondered when we'd see him on one show or the other. Didn't pick up the book for some reason -- maybe I didn't want to spoil the Google-fun.

Here's Publisher's Weekly (B&N):

Like a modern-day Aesop or La Fontaine, Sedaris has his darkly comic and deeply cynical (if somewhat rambling) morality stories enacted by animals. Although Sedaris typically narrates his works solo, here he is joined by Dylan Baker, Siân Phillips, and (the incomparable) Elaine Stritch. The dry tones of both women are particularly well suited to the knowing commentary offered by various domesticated, barnyard, and wild animals on casual racism, self-congratulatory sanctimony, poor excuses for adultery, and fad spiritualism, among other common societal ills. The audiobook features a bonus fable not available in the text version of the book; in addition, the third CD includes PDFs of the book's illustrations by Ian Falconer (writer/illustrator of the Olivia picture book series).

At Amazon, Booklist likes it (plus: "HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Sedaris’ name creates its own buzz and will continue to do so even with this quirky little book"). The customer reviews (they average out at 3)are where the meat is, though:

Perhaps David Sedaris' family threatened to sue him if he told one more story about them and so David did what anyone else would do; he wrote a series of stories featuring anthropomorphic animals who say and do the most outrageous things - much as we humans have been known to do.

Misanthropic seems like a strange word to describe a book in which nearly all the characters are animals, but that's what this book is. Almost entirely missing is the tenderness, the hopefulness about the possibility of meaningful relationships that characterizes the rest of David Sedaris' work. The one or two stories -- "Hello Kitty" may really be the only one -- that offer something in this vein aren't enough to redeem the book.

Like so many other negative reviewers, I'm a long-time fan of Sedaris...

I LOVE his other books. Absolutely love them. I hate this book. I would hate this book no matter who wrote it. But I especially hate it because I love his other books so much and my expectations were so high.

Leave it to Sedaris to go off in some bizarre direction whose path only he understands.

I certainly did not know what to expect when I ordered this audiobook, but have not been disappointed. Ridiculous, silly, hilarious, and at times very thought-provoking, this book builds subtle (and not-so-subtle) analogies between our human selves and our friends in the animal kingdom.

Not one for the kids to listen to, but one I certainly don't regret purchasing.

I've read most of David Sedaris' writings. This one is different. If you are looking for his funny anecdotes and personal tales, then this is the wrong book for you (let me suggest 'Me Talk Pretty One Day', one of Sedaris' funnier collection of essays). If you just love his style of writing, then you will still enjoy 'squirrel seeks chipmunk'. The writing is pure Sedaris, written in a humorous way, but without the punch lines I've come to expect from his other novels. Really, it is the format of this book that keeps him from chasing the usual laugh. As a bestiary, this book is like Aesop's fables, but without the morals. Or rather, the stories have morals, but they aren't clear cut. Perhaps this is for the better. A lack of real lessons makes the stories more realistic and thought-provoking than they might otherwise have been. The brevity of each story is also welcome. I found myself finishing the book in an afternoon.

This book is worth buying, but it is not the share-it-with-your-friends, laugh-out-loud sort of compilation I have come to expect from Sedaris. If you haven't read Sedaris yet, this isn't the place to start.

If the Far Side had a twisted one night stand with with Aesops Fables, this book would be the result of their coupling. Dark, often gruesome, and generally pretty funny.

I hate Aesop. He was mean-spirited and horrible, and assumed the worst of the human (and animal) spirit, and was needlessly gross and brutal.

David Sedaris is a hilariously funny version, with keen-eyed and often brutal insights into human nature, but also with an occasional sweetness that surprised and touched me.

I loved reading this book, but felt I had to be on guard, because you can't trust your heart to these stories. Sedaris doesn't care if he kills and maims along the way to his lesson. Unhappy lives and unhappy endings happened to a lot of these characters, even ones who didn't necessarily deserve it.

The story about the sheep broke my freaking heart. Seriously. I cried. The illustrations by Ian Falconer of Olivia fame made the story even more heartbreaking....I'm too much of a delicate flower for this kind of book, but I still enjoyed it a lot. If you've got a strong stomach and care less about all the sweet little creatures, then you will adore this book and will make your spouse come into the room so you can read parts out loud. It's that well crafted.

Falconer's illustrations were spot-on to the tone of the book. A little too gross in places, adorable and heart-wrenching in others.

Hmm. I'm probably too much of a delicate flower for it too, I bet.

And Stephen's got music! Elvis Costello has a new album out -- National Ransom -- and the site has all sorts of reviews, lyrics, mp3s, etc.  Looks like The New Yorker has a streaming link. Which, um, apparently ColbertNation.com had one last week. Oops. Anyway, here's a bit from one review, picked more-or-less at random:


Diana Krall's husband, looking sharp as always.

Mistakenly labeled as "punk" early in his career due to the punchy guitars and bitingly sarcastic lyrics, Elvis Costello has spent nearly every other album since 1981’s Almost Blue trying to prove that his writing knows no boundaries and won’t stray from any style or genre left unturned. Since then he’s worked in jazz, country, opera, folk, chamber pop ... you name it. While most recording artists well into their fourth decade of releasing music are more than content to half-ass it (we’re looking at you, Eric Clapton), Costello seems more restless stylistically, if anything. It’s what makes his new album National Ransom (in stores Tuesday, Nov. 2) a bit of a disappointment. Produced by T-Bone Burnett in seemingly the exact same manner as last year’s Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (rootsy Americana music recorded extremely fast by a large group of studio musicians), the album has moments of brilliance and works cohesively as a whole, but by and large fails to excite at the level of his best work.

There's an official trailer:

And he's already been on Letterman:

And YouTube found me this:

Originally posted to TiaRachel on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 07:58 PM PDT.

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