Calypso
David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book.If you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself.With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny--it's a book that can make you laugh 'til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris's powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris's darkest and warmest book yet--and it just might be his very best.

Calypso Details

TitleCalypso
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 29th, 2018
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Humor, Autobiography, Memoir, Writing, Essays, Audiobook

Calypso Review

  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t think I could love David Sadaris more if I tried .....he’s already filled my entire heart - body - mind - soul - spirit - and funny bone with enough uplifting, awesome and amazing, unforgettable storytelling for a lifetime with the collection of these stories.They are passionate and affecting — achingly good - urgent and surprising - contemporary and insightful - playful and outlandish- showing us the beauty in the broken — and ultimately teaching us to choose love. A few times I laughed I don’t think I could love David Sadaris more if I tried .....he’s already filled my entire heart - body - mind - soul - spirit - and funny bone with enough uplifting, awesome and amazing, unforgettable storytelling for a lifetime with the collection of these stories.They are passionate and affecting — achingly good - urgent and surprising - contemporary and insightful - playful and outlandish- showing us the beauty in the broken — and ultimately teaching us to choose love. A few times I laughed sooooo hard ( I’ve done this once or twice with a special book:(Roz Chast comes to mind), while reading sentences to my husband at 5am in the morning- waiting for him to wake - so I could jump him with David Sedaris stories. I’m home sick with a nasty infection in my throat - but it’s true ‘good’ laugher is healing! When you can’t even finish a sentence out loud because you’re laughing so hard yourself - a nerve has been hit! I also felt deeply moved - touched - and blessed from memories David shared that were sensitive topics —DAVID IS SO OPEN TO LISTEN FOR UNDERSTANDING....including his own. I really can’t thank him enough for this book. To me- it’s the fullness - most beautiful- breathtaking- ‘rainbow-of-humanity’.So a few little tidbits... Quotes & Thoughts....Random picking.....[ There is not a dull let-up in any of these stories]. “In the ocean that afternoon, I watched my brother play with his daughter. The waves were high, and Madelyn hung laughing off Paul’s shoulders, I thought of how we use to do the same with our own father. It was the only time any of us ever touched him”. “It’s not that our father waited till this late in the game to win our hearts. It’s that he was succeeding”. “As I grow older, I find that people I know become crazy in one of two ways”....David will share in details of the TWO WAYS PEOPLE BECOME *Crazy* in the story “Leviathan”. I was laughing - shaking my head - rolling my eyes - AGREEING- laughing - laughing some more! Right on, David! I was very impress that David had a GRABBER. I’ll pick up trash if I see it on a trail to toss in the trash can .... I’ll even clean the sinks in ladies bathrooms in restaurants so that a flood of water isn’t all over the counter sink for the next person who walks in.......but I don’t carry a GRABBER. David does. So one day, David was collecting trash with his grabber. He said it’s always the usual things “ potato chip bags, candy wrappers, Redbull cans”.....but.....”a strap-on penis?” “It was Band-Aid colored about three inches long and not much bigger than a Vienna sausage”. “Bare minimum?” ...... “Like AAA breast implants?” “Who had this person been trying to satisfy, a Cabbage Patch Doll?”The stories are OUTSTANDING- SATISFYING - TO FULLY ENJOY! Taking place in airports, on the plane, about his family - his siblings ( Tiffany committed suicide) - his 92 year old father - memories of his mother - about middle age and aging - trips to the dermatologist ( I can relate)- doctors - ( I can relate)- tumors- his beach house on Emerald Isle - ( find out what people feed the turtles) -Shopping in Tokyo with one of his sisters - his relationship with his partner, Hugh- an English- speaking program David puts together for business travelers visiting the United States - obsessions with Fitbit - a love affair with an Omega juicer...etc.These stories are extremely refreshing! I want a “Calypso....I love David Sedaris” T-Shirt!Thank You Little Brown and Company, Netgalley, and *David Sedaris*
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars.For me, reading David Sedaris' books is like hanging out with that slightly strange friend—you may think you're crazy, but at least there's someone crazier than you out there!I've been reading Sedaris' books on and off for a number of years, since his first collection, Barrel Fever , in 1994. In addition to helping bolster my self-esteem, he's always good for a fair amount of chuckling, giggling, and all-out belly laughing, not to mention his unique ability to highlight some of life's 4.5 stars.For me, reading David Sedaris' books is like hanging out with that slightly strange friend—you may think you're crazy, but at least there's someone crazier than you out there!I've been reading Sedaris' books on and off for a number of years, since his first collection, Barrel Fever , in 1994. In addition to helping bolster my self-esteem, he's always good for a fair amount of chuckling, giggling, and all-out belly laughing, not to mention his unique ability to highlight some of life's frustrating, mystifying, and joy-inducing foibles. Plus, every now and again he simply makes me gasp at his observations. Calypso , his newest collection, certainly is chock-full of laughs, and there's a good supply of slightly gross observations about bodily functions and other physical issues. But I wasn't prepared for how emotionally rich this collection would be—on a number of occasions I found myself getting a little choked up as Sedaris pondered growing older, the aging and death of family members, the legalization of same-sex marriage and what it meant for his relationship with his boyfriend, even the mood of the country following the 2016 presidential election.It's funny—in one story Sedaris talks about his mother-in-law, and how she "likes to interrupt either to accuse you of exaggerating—'Oh, now, that's not true'—or to defend the person you're talking about, someone, most often, she has never met." Some of his observations are so outlandish that I'll admit occasionally thinking like his mother-in-law, saying to myself, "That can't be true." Regardless of whether it is or not, Sedaris had me latching on to his every word.I'm not a Puritan by any means, but I'll admit there were a few stories that were a little heavy on bodily functions and feeding things to animals (read the book and you'll know what I'm referring to). However, so much of this book was terrific, beautifully written, funny, wry, sarcastic, and even poignant. In many of the stories (as is often the case), Sedaris spoke of his family and his relationship with his father, which continues to confound him, even as his father moves into his 90s."Honestly, though, does choice even come into it? Is it my fault that the good times fade to nothing while the bad ones burn forever bright? Memory aside, the negative just makes for a better story: the plane was delayed, an infection set in, outlaws arrived and reduced the schoolhouse to ashes. Happiness is harder to put into words. It's also harder to source, much more mysterious than anger or sorrow, which come to me promptly, whenever I summon them, and remain long after I've begged them to leave." Calypso is a pretty terrific book, further testament to Sedaris' skill as a storyteller, a social commentator, and an observer of this crazy world we live in. His writing is great for some laughs (don't be shocked if you laugh out loud a time or two, so if you're self-conscious, don't read this in public), and this book is good for a few tears as well!See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    “I’m often misunderstood at my supermarket in Sussex, not because of my accent but because I tend to deviate from the script.Cashier: Hello, how are you this evening?Me: Has your house ever been burgled?Cashier: What?Me: Your house—has anyone ever broken into it and stolen things?With me, people aren’t thinking What did you say? so much as Why are you saying that?”Top line Sedaris aslant observations and commentary on family, love, and aging. Some of the subjects are dark, some sadly bitter-swee “I’m often misunderstood at my supermarket in Sussex, not because of my accent but because I tend to deviate from the script.Cashier: Hello, how are you this evening?Me: Has your house ever been burgled?Cashier: What?Me: Your house—has anyone ever broken into it and stolen things?With me, people aren’t thinking What did you say? so much as Why are you saying that?”Top line Sedaris aslant observations and commentary on family, love, and aging. Some of the subjects are dark, some sadly bitter-sweet, but he's funny. It's good to laugh!
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  • j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]
    January 1, 1970
    FIVE STARSIt's really difficult to write humor, and nobody does it better than David Sedaris! I find him absolutely hilarious, but I know he is not everyone's cup of tea. (WHY NOT??)Sedaris is in rare form with CALYPSO. Calypso, by the way, is the name his neighbors gave to his cat when the kitty is off living his completely hidden life. David Sedaris was not amused when he found out that name.Sedaris makes every story funny, no matter how inappropriate the subject is. You will find yourself lau FIVE STARSIt's really difficult to write humor, and nobody does it better than David Sedaris! I find him absolutely hilarious, but I know he is not everyone's cup of tea. (WHY NOT??)Sedaris is in rare form with CALYPSO. Calypso, by the way, is the name his neighbors gave to his cat when the kitty is off living his completely hidden life. David Sedaris was not amused when he found out that name.Sedaris makes every story funny, no matter how inappropriate the subject is. You will find yourself laughing out loud and think "wait, should I be laughing at that?" He travels the world, lives in different countries and meets thousands of people, but to me, his most hilarious stories involve his family. In this collection of essays, we learn about his newish beach house on the North Carolina coast where his brother (now, the Juister, not the Rooster!) and his sisters and his 92-yr-old father gather at least once a year. How David Sedaris can make you laugh at stories that involve suicide, God, alcoholism and Trump is nothing short of gifted. He knows just when to back away for maximum humor impact.As with any talented writer, I can never get enough! I will be first in line for all of his books. I especially love them on audio, he is a fabulous narrator and so very funny in his presentation.
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  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/To say that this is a biased review might be the understatement of the decade. Many of you are already familiar with my love for the Sedaris family. It began with Amy and Strangers With Candy before I discovered her brother was a writer. Having now read all but one of his collections – and more recently re-listening to several of them during my commute – I have no shame in admitting I am completely smitten with every single one of the Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/To say that this is a biased review might be the understatement of the decade. Many of you are already familiar with my love for the Sedaris family. It began with Amy and Strangers With Candy before I discovered her brother was a writer. Having now read all but one of his collections – and more recently re-listening to several of them during my commute – I have no shame in admitting I am completely smitten with every single one of the Sedaris clan. So much so that when a conversation between two people who didn’t enjoy Sedaris popped up on my feed last week I practically had to cut my fingers off to not interject with a "butbutbutbut" and nearly had myself convinced that the parties must be aliens and I should probably report them to the proper authorities. Then I remembered that people are allowed to have opinions and since David himself is probably well aware that he’s not everyone’s cuppa I should resign myself to that fact too. All that being said, I obviously need mental help and my rating should probably be taken with a grain dumptruck of salt.Calypso IS good, though. A stand out, even. If you are a fan this should rise to the top of the ranks. With a reoccurring theme of visits with family (and Carol) at home in Sussex as well as at the “Sea Section” beach house in North Carolina, Sedaris delivers both humorous as well as poignant memories in spades – and even though I know I’m not supposed to quote an advanced copy as anything I was privileged enough to read could still end up on the cutting room floor, this little line sums things up perfectly . . . . “Ours is the only club I’ve ever wanted to be a member of, so I couldn’t imagine quitting.” Oh how I would love to be a fly on the wall during their “club meetings.” By this point in my life I’ve actually received numerous offers by friends to attend one of David Sedaris’ public readings which are put on pretty much yearly here by a local bookstore and held at a giant, beautiful, non-denominational church. While I’m flattered that people like me enough to voluntarily spend time with me without being paid to do so, my response is always no. First, because of other humans . . . . And second, but more importantly, because I’m terrified I would become this . . . . At this point I don’t think I could settle for less than Thanksgiving at the Sea Section (I still agree with Paul that the Conch Sucker should have been the winner) on Emerald Isle (on the West side of the house where the visitors stay, of course - I’m not psycho). It is there we will binge-watch My 600-lb Life. Afterwards I will help dig a hole in the sand for the turkey deep fryer to sit in and make sure I have plenty of cash on hand to tip Amy while she performs my spa treatment after I kick alllllllll of their asses at Sorry. I’m also fairly certain that I need a piece of driftwood art in my life like the one that will be featured on the cover . . . . One-eyed raccoons. Such judgey little assholes, right? But you can’t deny the other option is sheer perfection . . . . Oh, before I forget. I can't sign off until I mention the part about pants shitting . . . . You might not have to love David Sedaris in order to be my friend, but you do have to find people crapping their drawers hilarious. No exceptions.Man I can’t wait to listen to this one. Every Star.ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Hope you don’t regret it! ORIGINAL "REVIEW:"Note to Little Brown from my husband: Please give my wife the new Jason Sudakis book so she'll shut up about it already.Note to husband from myself: Please don't try to help ever again.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    As the Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert was airing on Livestream I opened my ebook and began to read. I was soon laughing out loud. A few paragraphs later I laughed even longer and harder. I had to read out loud to my hubby. And then I knew. I could not read Calypso by David Sedaris while listening to the symphony.I could not read it in bed. I would laugh my husband awake. When could I read it? During the day, with the windows open to let in the fresh spring air, so inviting after a very, very As the Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert was airing on Livestream I opened my ebook and began to read. I was soon laughing out loud. A few paragraphs later I laughed even longer and harder. I had to read out loud to my hubby. And then I knew. I could not read Calypso by David Sedaris while listening to the symphony.I could not read it in bed. I would laugh my husband awake. When could I read it? During the day, with the windows open to let in the fresh spring air, so inviting after a very, very, long winter? What would the neighbors think?Sedaris, Sedaris. You are such a problem, I thought.Then I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride because the next story was about David's youngest sister's suicide. All of the siblings had pulled away from the family to "forge our own identities," he explained; except Tiffany stayed away. And later in the book, he remembers his mother's alcoholism and her early death, his father's eccentricities, living with a defunct stove so his kids could inherit more money.You laugh, you shudder, you feel slightly ill, and you feel sad. Because Sedaris is ruthless enough to write about life, real life, his life in particular, and we all see our own families and own lives in his stories.I loved Sedaris's chapter on the terrible tyranny of his Fitbit, and how he was adamant that he got to keep his fatty tumor to feed to a turtle. That crazy moment with his dad drove past a man exposing himself and then u-turned to take another look, his young daughter in the car. Looking at family photos, Sedaris recalled "that moment in a family's life when everything is golden" and the future held promise. In middle age, looking forward ten years "you're more likely to see a bedpan than a Tony Award."Ouch. Too close to home, David. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    Personal and tender, yet hilarious.. for me a perfect first book from Sedaris! These stories are outstanding.. just so darn relatable and the honesty he spills out onto his work is deeply touching. This is an amazing book I highly recommend. ❤ 5 ☆ Personal and tender, yet hilarious.. for me a perfect first book from Sedaris! These stories are outstanding.. just so darn relatable and the honesty he spills out onto his work is deeply touching. This is an amazing book I highly recommend. ❤️ 5 ☆
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  • Diane Barnes
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars. Because it's David Sedaris. This one is a mixture of serious and funny, new for him, new for us. There are essays here about his sister's suicide, his mother's alcholism, his difficult relationship with his father, and the agony of realizing he's a gay man in the South before it was accepted. Around every corner, though, there are the laughs, the twists and turns of a mind that thinks like us, only he has the courage to say it aloud or write it down. And he lets us into his family of 3 5 stars. Because it's David Sedaris. This one is a mixture of serious and funny, new for him, new for us. There are essays here about his sister's suicide, his mother's alcholism, his difficult relationship with his father, and the agony of realizing he's a gay man in the South before it was accepted. Around every corner, though, there are the laughs, the twists and turns of a mind that thinks like us, only he has the courage to say it aloud or write it down. And he lets us into his family of 3 crazy/wonderful sisters and his brother, his Trump loving 94 year old father, his long time partner Hugh, and he lets them be our family too, for a while.If you have never read David Sedaris, this book is not the best place to start. If you are not a fan, because of his irreverence and outrageousness, this is not for you at all. But for those of us who are his fans (and there are millions of us!), this book is the best of the best, so far.
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  • Toni
    January 1, 1970
    Update: Now listening to the audio: FANtastic! In Calypso, David gives us 21 essays, YES, twenty-one essays or stories for us to laugh and maybe even tear-up a little. Some of these essays have been published in various periodicals before, primarily, "The New Yorker," but not to worry. Sedaris' fans follow David like a bloodhound (myself included), and most of these stories sound fresh to me. David seems more pensive, slightly introspective in these essays. He talks much more about his family in Update: Now listening to the audio: FANtastic! In Calypso, David gives us 21 essays, YES, twenty-one essays or stories for us to laugh and maybe even tear-up a little. Some of these essays have been published in various periodicals before, primarily, "The New Yorker," but not to worry. Sedaris' fans follow David like a bloodhound (myself included), and most of these stories sound fresh to me. David seems more pensive, slightly introspective in these essays. He talks much more about his family in the present-day, which we love to hear, and he clearly loves to tell. His Dad is now 92 but sharp and healthy. It was nice to hear him mention Hugh's late father and what he was like. Also lots more about Gretchen, Lisa, Tiffany and Amy. Hearing about his brother Paul, and his wife Kathy and their daughter Maddy was wonderful. I feel like we're closet cousins to the Sedaris' family and we have a right to know how they're doing! Right!David is still irreverent, surly and hilarious as always, so there's plenty of laughter. One of my favorite stories is, 'Perfect Fit'; where Amy, Gretchen and David go shopping in Tokyo at a clothes store called, Kapital: "The clothes they sell are new but appear to have been previously worn, perhaps by someone who was shot or stabbed and then thrown off a boat. Everything looks as if it has been pulled from the evidence rack at a murder trial."Asked by Hugh and Ma Hamrick why they shop there, "Obviously we have some hole we're trying to fill, but doesn't everyone? And isn't filling it with berets the size of toilet-seat covers, if not more practical, then at least healthier than filling it with frosting or heroin or unsafe sex with strangers?"Initially, I wanted to comment on each of the 21 essays, but that review would be as long as the book itself. The BOOK is what you want to read. You'll love it, as I did!Thank you NetGalley and Little, Brown and Co.Note: I just received my book, which I preordered, and the cover is so cool. It's made to look and feel like actual wood with grain and all.Secondly, in one of David's stories he mentions signing his name to 5,000 blank sheets of paper, which get inserted into the books as they're bound. He also says at one point he wasn't in a good mood so his signature didn't look like it normally does. In fact, Hugh even commented on this as he was signing. Well David, I think I got ONE OF THOSE BOOKS! You're right, it doesn't look like your normal signature. So, next time I see you, you're signing my book again!
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    Crazy funny. David Sedaris is the type of person I’d love having around because he says the things we all think but don’t say because they are weird or offensive. I found this book to be a few highly amusing hours! My quick and simple overall: funny and amusing. Very quick to read.
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I Love ItLiberty HardyWhen I worked as a bookseller, the thing I dreaded hearing more than anything was, “I want to read something funny.” In my experience, you could fill a canyon with books that are sad or poignant, or full of mystery or romance. But trying to find a book that will make someone actually laugh is tremendously difficult. Luckily, every three or four years, David Sedaris comes out with another uproarious essay collection to help in that department.Sedaris is the king of trans Why I Love ItLiberty HardyWhen I worked as a bookseller, the thing I dreaded hearing more than anything was, “I want to read something funny.” In my experience, you could fill a canyon with books that are sad or poignant, or full of mystery or romance. But trying to find a book that will make someone actually laugh is tremendously difficult. Luckily, every three or four years, David Sedaris comes out with another uproarious essay collection to help in that department.Sedaris is the king of translating his observations and experiences into witty pieces that can also be tremendously moving. He addresses serious subjects effortlessly, never more so than in Calypso, which primarily tackles the subject of aging, a topic Sedaris works into astute observations on his need for—and fear of—a physical, his siblings’ health issues, or his father (who takes a spin class at the age of 91!). Whether it’s a story about shopping in Japan, his beach house, his family, his Fitbit obsession, his sister’s death, or astrology, he always turns his wit to the task of dissecting the nuances of being human, which, I think, takes far more talent than being just raunchy or shocking.Sedaris is smart and clever, but also delightfully shameless (he is a master at the humble brag), occasionally naughty (the brainstorming session about what to name the beach house is A+ material), and a little strange, too. Instead of quoting something funny from the book, I will just say I started laughing out loud on page two, and I continued to laugh through the whole book (as well as tear up a time or two).Read more at: https://www.bookofthemonth.com/calyps...
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    5 cha cha cha stars!Doing the cha-cha to the calypso music, all while on my pogo stick. Can’t talk—requires extreme concentration! Just know that this is one helluva funny book of essays! Review to follow.
  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    Calypso is a good collection of humorous essays by David Sedaris. I listened to this on audio, read by Sedaris himself, which was a fun experience. He's a talented performer and I (mostly) enjoyed the book.I say mostly because, like other Sedaris books I've read, he's best appreciated in small doses. I made the mistake of listening to Calypso in longer chunks, and the snarkiness became a bit tiresome at times. Had I only listened to one essay at a time, I think I would have enjoyed the overall b Calypso is a good collection of humorous essays by David Sedaris. I listened to this on audio, read by Sedaris himself, which was a fun experience. He's a talented performer and I (mostly) enjoyed the book.I say mostly because, like other Sedaris books I've read, he's best appreciated in small doses. I made the mistake of listening to Calypso in longer chunks, and the snarkiness became a bit tiresome at times. Had I only listened to one essay at a time, I think I would have enjoyed the overall book more.But I did have some favorite essays, including ones about his Fitbit obsession, about having houseguests, about his mother's alcoholism, about losing his sister, about the U.S. 2016 election, and about his relationship with his father. Sedaris always does a good job of mixing pathos with humor, and this collection is particularly strong with the pathos.Highly recommended for fans of David Sedaris.My rating: 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars
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  • Matthew Quann
    January 1, 1970
    There’s nothing I haven’t said before about Sedaris that doesn’t apply here. This collection is more concerned with his aging and dead family members, which adds a somewhat somber tone to the stories. With that said, this still has all of Sedaris’ trademark wit and charm. Recommended as an audiobook: it’s the best way to experience Sedaris!
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  • Kiki
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate enough to see David speak last fall here in Birmingham, Alabama--he's been coming for years, and every year miss out. but finally, my husband and I got tickets, and got to meet him! he signed my old copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day--"Thank you for making me rich" (I told him I worked in a bookstore! I was delighted!). Anyway, a few of the topics he covered that night are revisited here (to my delight) in his newest effort, Calypso. David has mellowed a bit over the years--still a k I was fortunate enough to see David speak last fall here in Birmingham, Alabama--he's been coming for years, and every year miss out. but finally, my husband and I got tickets, and got to meet him! he signed my old copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day--"Thank you for making me rich" (I told him I worked in a bookstore! I was delighted!). Anyway, a few of the topics he covered that night are revisited here (to my delight) in his newest effort, Calypso. David has mellowed a bit over the years--still a keen observer, but also sensitive to the pain of others (and himself), he's still hilarious and great writer. His family is still reeling from the suicide of Tiffany, his troubled older sister. They miss their mom, and David has become more tolerant of his elderly dad and his flaws and foibles--mainly because he recognizes any day could be their last together. There were a few chapters where I found myself weeping. But in the very next chapter, David had me hooting loudly! I adore his writing. He never fails to make me laugh. And we all need that nowadays...
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  • Tania
    January 1, 1970
    This is now officially my favorite David Sedaris book. The audio version was great, and I would strongly recommend that you listen to the author tell these stories, as it really enhances the experience. Sedaris has always been funny, but in Calypso there is always a keen sense of regret and/or sadness. Almost all the stories focus on his family, especially on his mom who passed away a few years ago and his sister who committed suicide. I laughed out loud and shed some tears, often doing both whi This is now officially my favorite David Sedaris book. The audio version was great, and I would strongly recommend that you listen to the author tell these stories, as it really enhances the experience. Sedaris has always been funny, but in Calypso there is always a keen sense of regret and/or sadness. Almost all the stories focus on his family, especially on his mom who passed away a few years ago and his sister who committed suicide. I laughed out loud and shed some tears, often doing both while listening to one paragraph.This is probably not for everyone, but I think it takes quite a bit of talent to write about nothing and still make it interesting, humorous and touching.
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  • Eva Nebbia
    January 1, 1970
    This is probably his best book. By far his most moving and personal, and I’m going to say his most well written. It left me a little bit different than when it found me. Slightly related, Bill Simmons (sports writer, founder of The Ringer and ESPNs 30 for 30 and a million other things) has this idea that the academy awards should be given out 5 years after the movie is released. I feel this idea has a lot of merit. This book deserves all five stars and then some. I gave his collection of diary e This is probably his best book. By far his most moving and personal, and I’m going to say his most well written. It left me a little bit different than when it found me. Slightly related, Bill Simmons (sports writer, founder of The Ringer and ESPNs 30 for 30 and a million other things) has this idea that the academy awards should be given out 5 years after the movie is released. I feel this idea has a lot of merit. This book deserves all five stars and then some. I gave his collection of diary entries five stars as well, but this book is much better by far. It doesn’t make me like or appreciate the other less. Even with other books, you finish you go on goodreads soon after words and you choose the rating based on how you feel almost immediately after finishing the book, which is rarely how you feel about it a week or a month later. Something to think about.
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  • Canadian Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5Sedaris’s stories about his family continue to be his best pieces—by turns side-splitting and deeply poignant. I was a bit nettled by his attention-seeking at times. For instance, his extended efforts to find a medical professional who would excise the lipoma on his abdomen and hand over the fatty tissue so he could feed it to “Granddaddy”, a giant snapping turtle with a growth on its head was all a bit much. I didn’t find it at all funny. I’m also not keen on personal essays that exp Rating: 3.5Sedaris’s stories about his family continue to be his best pieces—by turns side-splitting and deeply poignant. I was a bit nettled by his attention-seeking at times. For instance, his extended efforts to find a medical professional who would excise the lipoma on his abdomen and hand over the fatty tissue so he could feed it to “Granddaddy”, a giant snapping turtle with a growth on its head was all a bit much. I didn’t find it at all funny. I’m also not keen on personal essays that expose aspects of the sexual history (specifically, the number of pre-monogamous conquests) of one’s long-term partner. Too much information. One senses at times that Sedaris’s life is lived, experiences are engaged in—sometimes even forced, so that he can write about them. I enjoyed this book (though I’d already read a few of the pieces elsewhere) and whipped through it. I think a bit more restraint would actually improve his work.
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  • Sonja Arlow
    January 1, 1970
    This is a memoir but not. The stories are true, but also, I suspect some are not.Maybe it’s a case of me misplacing my funny bone in recent weeks as I am neck deep in starting up a business and have a fair amount of stress, because I did not find this as funny as I expected. But the book had its moments and it was only a few stories in the middle that I disliked, particularly the recurring tumour story. But the book finished with a bang and I really enjoyed the last 1/4.David Sedaris has now rea This is a memoir but not. The stories are true, but also, I suspect some are not.Maybe it’s a case of me misplacing my funny bone in recent weeks as I am neck deep in starting up a business and have a fair amount of stress, because I did not find this as funny as I expected. But the book had its moments and it was only a few stories in the middle that I disliked, particularly the recurring tumour story. But the book finished with a bang and I really enjoyed the last 1/4.David Sedaris has now reached late middle age and with it comes its own challenges. Taking care of a 92-year-old father, balancing work/life, his crazy siblings and becoming a slave to his fitbit. If you are a fan of this author I don’t think you will be disappointed.Audio version recommended.
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  • Julie Ehlers
    January 1, 1970
    A David Sedaris essay collection is always going to get at least four stars from me. This gets five because I loved the way so many of the essays were centered around his family vacations at his North Carolina beach house. It felt extremely personal, and of course it was so interesting to learn more about his brother and sisters, who play a larger role in this book than ever before. And as always, it was laugh-out-loud funny. Recommended.
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  • britt_brooke
    January 1, 1970
    “I used to think the ideal name for a beach house was the Ship Shape. Now, though, I had a better idea. ‘We’re going to call it the Sea Section.’”This collection is deeply personal, dark, offbeat, and at times, embarrass-yourself-in-public hilarious (see chapter on his gastro-intestinal virus). Sedaris is a master essayist, always engaging the reader as if a good friend. As usual, his audio is outstanding. He remains a favorite!
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  • *TANYA*
    January 1, 1970
    Funny, witty, even silly at time’s. First book I read by David Sedaris. I sat on this review for a minute and the more I thought about it the more I think I liked the book. I found myself smiling quite a bit during the audio version.
  • Cheryl DeFranceschi
    January 1, 1970
    I almost spit hot tea on my cat Lily because I was laughing so hard.
  • Jason Koivu
    January 1, 1970
    "David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book." So goes the description for Calypso. ...most...?Nah. That title goes to Dress Your Family Up... in which he bares his soul regarding his drug use and being gay for the first time in incredibly intimate detail. Calypso meres rehashes much of that. However, this does get deeply personal for the first time when discussing the suicide death of his long-troubled sister. That sad and tragic topic is delved into fairly min "David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book." So goes the description for Calypso. ...most...?Nah. That title goes to Dress Your Family Up... in which he bares his soul regarding his drug use and being gay for the first time in incredibly intimate detail. Calypso meres rehashes much of that. However, this does get deeply personal for the first time when discussing the suicide death of his long-troubled sister. That sad and tragic topic is delved into fairly minutely. One might think that would crush all the humor out of a book, but we're talking about David Sedaris here. The man knows how to mine the dark recesses of his life and human life in general for the low-key comedy gold. And there is plenty of that in Calypso, the first of his books in a quite a few years to truly yank the laughs out of me, even if or perhaps because of the rehashing of material. Hey, I'll watch a rerun of a show that cracked me up the first time. I love a good comfort laugh!
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    As always, this is a collection of stories based on random events or things that catch David's attention. This collection in particular focuses on his family, his siblings and the way they deal with grief and loss. He speaks about the death of his mother, his sister Tiffany's suicide, and getting older. I found it a quick, engaging, warm read with many moments that I felt I shouldn't be laughing at, which is exactly what I've come to expect from David's books. 3.5/5, not just quite a 4 for me co As always, this is a collection of stories based on random events or things that catch David's attention. This collection in particular focuses on his family, his siblings and the way they deal with grief and loss. He speaks about the death of his mother, his sister Tiffany's suicide, and getting older. I found it a quick, engaging, warm read with many moments that I felt I shouldn't be laughing at, which is exactly what I've come to expect from David's books. 3.5/5, not just quite a 4 for me compared to some of his other works. This is quite dark and sad underneath the laughter, and it felt unnaturally voyeuristic in parts, especially with regard to Tiffany and how she died. I felt like those are details that I, as a stranger who didn't know the woman, shouldn't be privy to.
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    I felt betrayed, the way you do when you discover that your cat has a secret secondary life and is being fed by neighbors who call him something stupid like Calypso. Worse is that he loves them as much as he loves you, which is to say, not at all, really. The entire relationship has been your own invention. The above quote is a joke about David Sedaris finding out that his secretly favourite snapping turtle near his vacation home (a monster with a missing foot and a growth on its head) is a wel I felt betrayed, the way you do when you discover that your cat has a secret secondary life and is being fed by neighbors who call him something stupid like Calypso. Worse is that he loves them as much as he loves you, which is to say, not at all, really. The entire relationship has been your own invention. The above quote is a joke about David Sedaris finding out that his secretly favourite snapping turtle near his vacation home (a monster with a missing foot and a growth on its head) is a well-known local legend, variously called Granddaddy or Godzilla. This would be an insignificant passage, in a book with better jokes in it, if he didn't choose “Calypso” for its title; so what does it mean? I reckon it's something to do with the nature of relationships and how hard it is to really know another person; even (especially?) people in your own family. The book's weirdly uncanny cover-art references the story of an artist friend of Sedaris' who “interprets” woodgrain in sheets of plywood, and I can see how that is a kind of metaphor for the same thing. Sedaris is darkly funny in this collection, in all the ways that his longtime fans have come to know and love, but he's also just plain dark sometimes, too. Maybe it's because he was being more truthful than usual, or maybe it was because he was focusing on such a tight theme, but I found this to be Sedaris' most mature and engaging collection.There are plenty of self-deprecating zingers like, “Yes, my hair is gray and thinning. Yes, the washer on my penis has worn out, leaving me to dribble urine long after I've zipped my trousers back up” and “'Would you be talking to me this way if I were taller than you?' I want to ask the ten-year-old with his hand out.” There's commentary on modern life, as in Sedaris' competetiveness being triggered by his new fitbit: At the end of my first sixty-thousand-step day, I staggered home with my flashlight knowing that now I'd advance to sixty-five thousand and that there'd be no end to it until my feet snapped off at the ankles. Then it'd just be my jagged bones stabbing into the soft ground. Or the same mindless conversations he has with people from the service industry as he travels around the US: Her: So how was your trip?You: Well I was originally going to fly, but then this tiger offered to carry me very gently in her mouth. I said OK, but you know what? She wasn't gentle at all. One of her teeth pierced my small intestine, so now, on top of everything else, I have to shit in a bag every day for the rest of my life!Her: Well, that is just awesome. We're all so glad you made it. So, while all of that feels familiar and entertaining, there is a darker theme running through this collection. Near the beginning, Sedaris writes about buying a Carolina beach house for his family – along the same stretch of coast where the Sedaris clan used to vacation as he was growing up – and as good as it felt to be able to gather the family together again, they were definitely missing both their mother (who died of cancer twenty-some years earlier) and their sister, Tiffany (who had just recently committed suicide). Most of these essays have something to do with the beach house, and most have something to do with the Mom or Tiffany; and that's not meant to be entertaining: “I don't know that it had anything to do with us,” my father said. But how could it have not? Doesn't the blood of every suicide splash back on our faces? Sedaris has written before about how crazy his childhood was as a closeted gay in a redneck community, with a cold father and a flamboyant mother and six eccentric kids who competed for their Mom's attentions. But I don't remember specifically him writing before about how his mother became a mean and sloppy drunk in later years: “Do you think it was my fault that she drank?” my father asked not long ago. It's the assumption of an amateur, someone who stops after his second vodka tonic and quits taking his pain medication before the prescription runs out. It's almost laughable, this insistence on a reason. I think my mother was lonely without her children – her fan club. But I think she drank because she was an alcoholic. The Mom and Tiffany are woven throughout in some surprising ways, and the stories that Sedaris tells about his tough love approach to his troubled sister over the years don't always reflect well on him – and this is the painful truthfulness that marked this as something different to me; a raw truthfulness that makes this collection feel deeper and wiser than Sedaris' usual ironic fare. I liked, and admired, this book very much.
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    There are few current-day essayists and humorists who have their finger on the pulse of contemporary society and who can go straight to the heart of matters in the way David Sedaris can. He is darkly, brutally hilarious, and his observations about anything he decides to write and talk about are spot on. I found myself laughing out loud until I nearly cried as I listened to his most recent book of essays which are particularly timely as he addresses so many issues of aging and health. He talks ab There are few current-day essayists and humorists who have their finger on the pulse of contemporary society and who can go straight to the heart of matters in the way David Sedaris can. He is darkly, brutally hilarious, and his observations about anything he decides to write and talk about are spot on. I found myself laughing out loud until I nearly cried as I listened to his most recent book of essays which are particularly timely as he addresses so many issues of aging and health. He talks about things we all do and feelings we all have, but rarely discuss in polite society. I will never know if I would find him as hilarious as I do if I simply read his books (as opposed to listening to them) because I cannot imagine NOT listening to him tell his own stories. Let me make clear that there is some serious dark stuff in some of these stories, most especially when he touches on his youngest sister's suicide, but it is all made tolerable by his razor-sharp humor. I tried to stifle my laughter, but I woke my husband up several times as it just burst out of me while listening to this in bed. As soon as I finished it, I started it over again. I cannot get enough. This book might be his best yet, and it makes me want to go back to the beginning of David Sedaris' writings and listen to each one all over again.
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  • Rachel León
    January 1, 1970
    (4.5 stars, rounded up)I'm always suspicious when something says a book is a writer's best work. I saw a claim that CALYPSO is David Sedaris's best work yet and thought, yeah right. But the thing is it just might be. I've always thought that DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM was perhaps the most notable Sedaris essay collection because he is right on point with pulling each piece together in the end. There are a few essays in CALYPSO that don't quite have that same seamless execution, but (4.5 stars, rounded up)I'm always suspicious when something says a book is a writer's best work. I saw a claim that CALYPSO is David Sedaris's best work yet and thought, yeah right. But the thing is it just might be. I've always thought that DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM was perhaps the most notable Sedaris essay collection because he is right on point with pulling each piece together in the end. There are a few essays in CALYPSO that don't quite have that same seamless execution, but overall they are truly notable. The content of the essays is rich and hilarious (which was missing from his last couple of essay collections, in my opinion). Whether he's talking about gastrointestinal viruses, his beach house (affectionately called "The Sea Section") or his late sister, Sedaris is at the top of his game here. if it's not his best work yet, then it's at least essential reading for any Sedaris fan.
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  • Sonya
    January 1, 1970
    The most affecting essays in this collection are about Sedaris's family. They are funny, as per his usual style, but also deeply sad. His family is fading away, and so are our families and so is the country, so all in all, it's a perfect book to read in this imperfect and cataclysmic age.
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  • Jana
    January 1, 1970
    I finished it yesterday. And then I immediately started it over again. I don't know of another time I've done that with a book. David Sedaris is my friend. If that isn't true, please don't tell me otherwise. And listening to a friend talk to me for almost 7 hours is a great comfort. There are some dark moments in these stories. There are some dark moments in my life right now as well. He is getting older and feeling his mortality. Well, so am I. Thank you for being a friend, David.
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