This blog entry would have come to you a day earlier, but when I took the books home for the night, I ended up reading 152 pages of Me Talk Pretty One Day in a single sitting instead of blogging! That's how good this book is. It's one of the quickest, smoothest, funniest reads out there.
All of the essays describe real events in Sedaris's life. The author begins the book with an essay about the semester he was forced to take a speech-therapy class with other lisping young boys. At the end of a class, Sedaris is no closer to pronouncing his s's correctly, and has decided that "a more appropriate marker [for the class's door] would have read FUTURE HOMOSEXUALS OF AMERICA." From this essay, he moves onto his short-lived guitar lessons with a real-life midget ("Giant Dreams, Midget Abilities"), an embarrassing foray into the coexistent world of art and crystal meth-amphetamine ("Twelve Moments in the Life of the Artist") and his sister Amy's fondness for dress-up, imitation, and a special fat suit ("A Shiner Like a Diamond").
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Sedaris's follow-up book, is just as good, and contains essays in the same vein. This time we get to hear about Sedaris's triumph during a childhood game of strip poker ("Full House"), the birth of his vulgar younger brother's first child ("Baby Einstein"), and the peculiar manner in which the Danish people celebrate Christmas ("Six to Eight Black Men").
Sedaris has visited Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana several times (I met him in 2007!) and makes regular appearances in the area. He will be in Waukegan, Illinois on April 6th, 2010 at the Genesee Theatre, and whoever you decide to give these books to can get them signed if they attend.