Tuesday, April 23, 2013

David Sedaris's voice

I love to be read to. There hasn't been a time in the last five years that my car hasn't held several books on CD, checked out from the library and often overdue. I spend a lot of time in the car these days, but even when my commute was quite short, I would listen to books 10 minutes at a time (I'm currently listening to "Great Expectations," picking up all the subtleties that I missed in the ninth grade English class).

What's even better is having the person who wrote the book read it to you. It would be hard for me to find a recording of Charles Dickens voice acting Miss Havisham, but I  listened to Tina Fey read "Bossypants" and I've heard David Sedaris read his essays in a number of auditory venues.

So I was thrilled to hear Sedaris read his work on Monday night at Blumenthal Performing Arts. He read a few essays, monologues and poems (couplets about dogs featuring rhymes like "sphincter" and "distincter") from his new book, "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls: Essays, Etc.," available this week. 

Sedaris makes plenty of self-deprecating jokes about his high-pitched voice, but that's not what I'm talking about. To hear an author's inflection, or where they whisper and yell, or where they talk out of the side of their mouth uncovers so much more about the story. In Sedaris' case, the experience usually unearths more giggling.

If what you're reading is written by someone still breathing, see if the public library has it. Or if the author tours, buy a ticket to their show. You'll learn a lot.