New York Times bestselling author David Sedaris does not want you to write him a thank-you note for signing a copy of his book. Sedaris discusses gratitude and thank-you letters in his newest essay collection “Happy-Go-Lucky.”
“It’s my job to sign a book,” Sedaris said. “That’s not what you write a thank you letter for. I’m sure all of these people have someone in their life who is actually deserving of a thank you letter, but it’s not me.”
Sedaris is currently on a tour exclusively for independent bookstores nationwide with his new essay collection titled “Happy-Go-Lucky,” and also debuting essays he is currently working on. His stories focus on different periods throughout his life. He will be be making a stop at Ann Arbor’s Literati on Friday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Published in 2022, “Happy-Go-Lucky” is Sedaris’ 13th project and will include a collection of 18 semi-autobiographical essays which approach reality in society and his personal life.
“Half of the time, I don’t even know what I’m going to write about,” Sedaris said. “I just start writing and then I think it swerves into one lane or the other. And then I think, ‘oh, I guess I’m writing about this now.’ So it can be a surprise to me as well.”
For audio-based listeners, any of Sedaris’ books is a treat as he narrates his own audiobooks, adding more emotion and feeling to an already entertaining and riveting collection.
“A lot of what I write is intuitive. I never took a class in writing essays,” Sedaris said. “I think I learned a lot by reading. But, you know, I’m still kind of just guessing as I go along.”
The book was nominated for the Best Humor award in the 2022 Goodreads Choice Awards. Sedaris’ humor can be described as snarky, cynical, and self-deprecating, amongst other adjectives, making his literary choices cater to certain senses of humor, as well as sincere.
“When I do a reading out loud I want something that’s got a little bit of heft to it,” Sedaris said. “So I don’t want to just have frivolous funny things all night. I want something to have a little weight to it. But I don’t want to force that. I don’t want to try to put weight on an essay that’s about swimsuits or something, that just seems forced.”
Parts of “Happy-Go-Lucky” focus on the pandemic as well as the passing of his father and sister, creating an ability to connect with readers through deeper and universal experiences, while also considering niche stories, shedding different lights on his past experiences.
Some of his stories are extremely heavy, uncomfortable and positioned to challenge the reader. Many of his stories revolve around his father, and he chooses to portray his father in his stages of dying prior to introducing the darker experiences he and his siblings endured.
“I just thought it was better to show him old and vulnerable and then move back in time,” Sedaris said. “Because I think if I did it in another order, a lot of people just wouldn’t like him already. So then when he’s old, invulnerable, they would just say, ‘oh, good, die already.’”
He has received several nominations and awards for his work. Notably, the audio version of “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” was a 56th Annual Grammy Awards Nominee for Best Spoken Word Album. Sedaris also regularly contributes to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4.
Tickets to see Sedaris on June 9 at Literati at 124 East Washington Street, Ann Arbor, can be purchased online.
More information about David Sedaris and his work can be found on his website.