Hello, Buzz Book Club readers! 'Tis the season to read a book together, and my December selection was a pretty easy choice: David Sedaris's Holidays on Ice. I know we just completed a memoir last month, but I couldn't help myself with this one. I know I could use some holiday-themed levity from one of America's foremost humorists as I cram to get my work, shopping, and decorating done in this busy season (less than three weeks, people!). And because we're all so busy this time of year, this book also stood out because it's so tiny.
The New York Times explains that this is the little book that brought Sedaris's "jaundiced, bah-humbug sensibility to prominence a decade ago," and I think viewing holiday mayhem through his eyes will be fun in the weeks to come. There are a couple of editions of the book out now, and while the re-release (pictured here) comes with new essays, I'm going to stick to discussing just the stories in the original — there are cookies to bake and gifts to wrap, after all.
For those of you new to my book club format, here's how it works: I announce a new book each month. Every week I suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in December). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few discussion-provoking questions for you to respond to in the comments section.
To find out what Holidays on Ice is all about and to get the first assignment,
The synopsis for Holidays on Ice reads:
"David Sedaris's darkly playful humor is another common thread through the book, worming its way through "Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!" a chipper suburban Christmas letter that spirals dizzily out of control, and "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol," a vicious theatrical review of children's Christmas pageants. As always, Sedaris's best work is his sharply observed nonfiction, notably in "Dinah, the Christmas Whore," the tale of a memorable Christmas during which the young Sedaris learns to see his family in a new light. Worth the price of the book alone is the hilarious "SantaLand Diaries," Sedaris's chronicle of his time working as an elf at Macy's, covering everything from the preliminary group lectures ("You are not a dancer. If you were a real dancer you wouldn't be here. You're an elf and you're going to wear panties like an elf.") to the perils of inter-elf flirtation. Along the way, he paints a funny and sad portrait of the way the countless parents who pass through SantaLand are too busy creating an Experience to really pay attention to their children. In a sly way, it carries a holiday message all its own. Read it aloud to the adults after the kids have gone to bed."
The first assignment: Read the first story, "SantaLand Diaries." We'll discuss this essay next Friday, Dec. 12.