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The Daily Wildcat

 

    UofA Bookstore ‘engulfed’ by David Sedaris fans

    UofA Bookstore engulfed by David Sedaris fans

    Uproarious laughter erupted throughout the UofA Bookstore on Tuesday as nearly 1,000 people arrived to listen to National Public Radio contributor and humorist David Sedaris, as well as to grab signed copies of his new book, “”When You Are Engulfed in Flames.””

    Chris Schafer, head of faculty relations at the UofA Bookstore, touted the turnout power of Sedaris’ followers, often referred to as “”Sedaristas.””

    “”I estimated between 700 and a thousand people. Maybe we got to a thousand. We’ll see once we’ve added up all the tickets,”” he said. “”He’s just packing houses all along the way on this tour. I called several of the bookstores that he toured at, and he’s got an incredible turnout.””

    Schafer said the UA was particularly lucky to have been visited by Sedaris, as the university was the last stop on his 29-city excursion.

    “”It means we weren’t originally in their plans, but when the proposal was put together, he was generous enough to come to UA,”” he said. “”I was happy to be very accommodating. I said, ‘July 1? We’d be happy to have you.'””

    Creative writing junior Christian Soto, who describes himself as a huge fan of the beloved funnyman, turned out for the event with book in hand. Soto recalled his first encounter with Sedaris’ work.

    “”The first book I ever read was Me Talk Pretty One Day, but I first heard him on NPR,”” he said. “”And when I lived in New York, his sister actually sold me a cupcake. She was hilarious.””

    The new book-the sixth to be put into publication-continues to detail the bizarre adventures of Sedaris, who often writes about his love life, frequent drug use and childhood experiences with his parents, brothers and sisters in North Carolina. Soto said he finds Sedaris’ openness to be admirable.

    “”I like his work because he’s not afraid of offending people,”” he said. “”He’s open about his past, his sexuality and his family.””

    “”His writing is simplistic and understated, but rich in sarcasm,”” said Russian studies junior Ania Shapiro, who first discovered Sedaris when she picked up his novel from a series of audio books that her mother had been listening to. She explained that while Sedaris writes about some rather peculiar situations, he has a talent for getting his point across.

    Shapiro said though she did not particularly enjoy Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, the cover art of When You Are Engulfed in Flames suggests that book’s contents will be more promising.

    “”I have no clue what to expect-I haven’t even read the blurb yet. I didn’t like his last book, but judging by the cover of this one, it looks good,”” she said.

    Shapiro commented on the recent controversy facing Sedaris through confusion at Barnes and Noble, which resulted in his books being shelved as works of fiction. She believes that most of what Sedaris writes is true.

    “”I think he’s addressed that before. What he writes is true. This isn’t A Million Little Pieces,”” she said, referring to the James Frey novel, which was investigated heavily after reports that much of what Frey had written as an autobiographical tale was false.

    Teri Karobonik, a creative writing junior, echoed similar sentiments. “”I think he’s earned enough respect at this point that it’s kind of an insult,”” she said.

    After reading several stories, Sedaris also fielded inquiries from audience members, answering questions such as how he has handled being cigarette-free-a topic that he covers in a story called, “”The Smoking Section”” about his attempts at smoking cessation in Tokyo.

    “”I don’t like it when people quit smoking,”” Sedaris said. “”I recruited a teenager to take my place-I didn’t want to leave a hole in the smoking world. The only reason I quit was so I could stay in nice hotels again.””

    Sedaris discussed the difficulties in being a non-smoker, suggesting that sometimes the pressure becomes unbearable.

    “”A week ago if you had told me there was a cigarette in the arm of a child, and all I had to do was rip it off…I would have done it,”” he joked.

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