Hello, Buzz Book Club readers! I'm so glad we read Holidays on Ice this month. It really got me through the holiday season madness with laughter. Especially with these final stories, Sedaris says the things people think but don't say aloud, and I just love it.
Here's a recap of how the Book Club goes if you're new: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, has been every Friday in December). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.
Stay tuned for the announcement of my January book club selection, and to discuss the final section of Holidays on Ice, in which we read "Front Row Center With Thaddeus Bristol," "Based Upon a True Story," and "Christmas Means Giving,"
- Having read the whole book now, which is your favorite story?
- Have you ever encountered a "Thaddeus Bristol" in your own life, a crotchety critic who just can't be pleased?
- The essay "Based Upon a True Story," which is told as a speech from a Hollywood exec to a church congregation, is one of my favorites in the book. The format is so original and funny, and Hollywood seems to provide endless opportunities to satirize. I would love to see a whole book of stories and essays by Sedaris solely having to do with Hollywood, in all its ridiculousness. Is there a story in this collection that you think would make an interesting topic for a whole book of similar stories?
- Also, Sedaris's version of the Hollywood story is obviously exaggerated in "Based Upon a True Story," but it doesn't strike me as all that much of a stretch considering how quickly tragedies are turned into TV movies these days. Did anything in it seem plausible to you?
- The last segment ("Christmas Means Giving") is a scathing story about greed and financial one-upsmanship (er, and one-downsmanship?) that struck me as particular to American culture. A few other stories (like "SantaLand Diaries") also suggest that the holidays aren't all about peace and joy, and that there are unpleasant motivations at the core of all this goodwill. Do you think there's something sad or false about the holiday season, particularly in this country? Or do you think Sedaris's take is a bit cynical?