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The Santaland Diaries Paperback – 8 Sep 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix / Indigo / Orion; New edition edition (8 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057540261X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575402614
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,130,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'a writer whose sentences are shaped for comic timing and to be heard as much as read. He focuses on the small details, piling themnm up neatily in his dry, clever way, building tension'. The Herald 'One of the wittiest books I've read this year... Santaland diaries is another Sedaris triumph. From describing the worst examples of greed and selfishness at a time traditionally given over to kindness, to shattering glittery Christmas myths, he has managed to keep his splendid sense of humour about it all, thus saving SANTALAND DIARIES from becoming too much like an offering from Scrooge .' Independent

Book Description

The perfect anti-Christmas present from one of America¿s ¿most prickly, and most delicious comic talents¿ Washington Post

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is such a great book, David Sedaris never fails to make me laugh out loud on the tube! However, learn from my mistake - I asked for both The Santaland Diaries and Holidays on Ice for Christmas and it turns out they're exactly the same book, just with different titles, so don't buy both!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read and enjoyed other books by David Sedaris which is why I bought `Santaland Diaries' which is short book made up of a couple of typical memoir-type stories and a couple of short pieces of fiction:

`Santaland Diaries' recalls the time Sedaris spent as an elf during one Christmas at Macy's. Sedaris puts his own spin on the revolting stream of families coming to visit Santa and how he attemped to make life more interetsing for himself during his time in this mind-numbing job! (I especially enjoyed his thoughts about those families who insist of photographing and video taping every minute of the `experience')

`Season's Greeting's to Our Friends and Family!!!' is a pastiche of a round-robin letter (probably more common in America) that has a dark twist and I felt was one of the weakest of the stories, along with the next piece `Dinah, the Christmas Whore,' which seemed like a bit of a filler.

`Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol,' was better and was written as if a theatre critic was writing a serious critique of nativity plays. There were some seriously funny lines in this story;
`Pointing to an overstuffed crate that served as a manger, one particularly insufficient wise man proclaimed, `A child is bored.'
Yes, well, so was this adult.'

`Based on a True Story' was a short piece written as if a television executive was giving a sermon. More great one-liners.

Lastly the collection includes, `Christmas Means Giving' another great piece of black humour.

I quite enjoyed the time spect reading this (very) short collection but I couldn't really work out why it had been released on it's own.
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Format: Paperback
To summarize: would be impossible, this is a book of pure lunacy blended with humour but combined with Santa's elves and a overall realistically jolly feel(especially when read in December). It proves the best of a even a Humbug leaving you to not only giggle under the bed sheets at night, but you will also begin to notice a new side to Christmas, a commercial yet Fun side, and so every time you walk past that shop window every Christmas seeing the mechanical toys and people dressed in green tights, I promise you will chuckle remembering a great book.
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I love David Sedaris and I had SantaLand Diaries on my Amazon wish list for years before a cheap second hand copy came up on offer. After so much anticipation, I expected a lot and the book didn't quite live up to those expectations.

With a Christmas theme, the six pieces in the book are very different. There's a mix of fact and fiction, some of it very bizarre fiction indeed. The first piece and the one which gives the book its title, is about the Christmas season that Sedaris spent working in Macy's as an elf. This is - not surprisingly - my favourite because it's the main autobiographical piece. After that, things get very bizarre very quickly. There's the monologue from the angry wife whose husband's lost illegitimate Vietnamese daughter has turned up out of the blue and moved in with them. Then there's account of the time his sister rescued a local whore at Christmas time, which I also found funny. Anyone who's read a few of his books will know that Sedaris's family and friends are a rich seam of comic inspiration which he shamelessly and frequently mines. There's a critic's-eye report on school nativity plays, a television documentary maker trying to bully, cajole and bribe a church congregation into telling stories on their friend and finally, a couple attempt to outdo their flashy neighbours with seasonal acts of selfish and extreme good will.

The collection doesn't really knit together and I was left with a sense of missing continuity and a certainty that Sedaris really must hate Christmas to let his imagination get so carried away.

Of the Sedaris books I've read (and that's most of them) this is perhaps the weakest. I prefer his more personal tales to his bizarre fantastical stories of death and destruction and general evil. I miss his usual sense of strong 'voice' when reading these but since I'm running out of books of his that I haven't yet read, I'll probably be reading it through again sometime soon.
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Format: Paperback
If you haven't read 'Barrel Fever' and 'Naked' this is 4 stars. If you have, you've already read 2/3 of this book, so give it just another 2 stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fast becoming a festive tradition now -- I first read it in 2012, then last year listened to the radio version, and this year, got the full book. It's a slim volume and the Santaland Diaries only take up less than half the book, but the rest of the offerings are pretty good, if not on a par with the feature story. I still prefer Sedaris audio though, his voice just sells the melodrama.
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Format: Audio CD
Having heard him do '6 to 8 black men' with an audience a few months ago, I bought this as an introduction for some friends of mine. 628BM is on here, and sounds great. However, everything else on it (lasting 4 hours in total), is much darker (particularly 'Greetings to our Friends and Family') and the lack of an audience somehow makes the whole thing sound a bit sinister. So if you're already a fan of his and want all his Christmas works, go for it. If you're giving it as a gift - beware; you'd be better off with 'Live at Carnegie Hall'.
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