“Write every day,” famed author David Sedaris told a jam-packed room of writers and readers at BookCourt in Cobble Hill on Thursday night. Now on tour to promote the paperback edition of his most recent collection, “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” (Little, Brown and Company/Back Bay Books), Sedaris —the acclaimed author of numerous New York Times #1 bestsellers, including “Me Talk Pretty One Day” and “Naked” — offered an uproarious reading of a memoir and some of his diary entries, followed by an audience Q&A.
In “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls,” Sedaris, like in his previous collections, ruminates on his own life with his characteristic blend of humor and insight, achieving an honest tone with an intimate subject matter. He recalls growing up in 1960s Raleigh, North Carolina, hiding his sexual orientation and letting insecurities dictate his demeanor. Sedaris weaves these memories into stories of his adult life.
But on Thursday, rather than focusing on his latest book, Sedaris read from a new, unpublished memoir in which he recalls a trip to Sweden. “I loved Sweden long before I set foot in it, and I very much needed it to love me back,” he read. Sedaris mocked his own efforts to understand and speak Swedish, guided by a “learn-to-speak Swedish audio course.” While he revealed that he read this excerpt because he wasn’t sure it was working, the audience seemed to approve, laughing almost constantly at his self-deprecating humor.
When he moved on to read from his diary, Sedaris had the ease of a standup comic. In one entry, he wrote that he had told his boyfriend, Hugh, “When I die, I want to be taken to an ice crematorium,” and that he wanted “a traditional sundae service.”
Despite his steady supply of jokes, Sedaris is always insightful. When asked about his thoughts on the Amazon/Hachette debacle, Sedaris answered frankly: “Lots of great people work at Little, Brown [a part of Hachette Book Group],and I don’t see why they should lose their jobs so Amazon can make more money.” Later, he added, “When all the book stores are gone, where are you going to go to the bathroom?!”