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Buzz Book Club: The End of Holidays on Ice

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,"


  1. Having read the whole book now, which is your favorite story?
  2. Have you ever encountered a "Thaddeus Bristol" in your own life, a crotchety critic who just can't be pleased?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
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Jewels2080 Jewels2080 8 years
I read this last year, so I guess I have to get the new version because I missed all of the new stories. I think David Sedaris is a great writer, I was lucky enough to meet him momentarily when he came here for a book signing. He seems just as wacky as his stories are. My favorite story in the old version of the book was the one where he was working as an elf at Macy's.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
This is the second book that I've read by David Sedaris, and I have to say that while I think he is a good writer with a good sense of humor, I honestly don't like him or his books. I think he is an elitist and incredibly judgemental. I get that there can be a certain dark underbelly to why people do the crazy things that they do, but he just seems so negative, as if to say that if you genuinely do enjoy the holidays, then you must not get it. And I felt very much the same way about Me Talk Pretty One Day, that if you weren't into drugs and seediness, then you must be delusional because real people aren't so happy and shiny. Everyone else I know just loves his stuff and I don't get it. That being said, Santaland Diaries was my favorite of the books. I hated the Christmas letter story and I didn't care much for the one mocking Christmas plays either. And I appreciated some of the moments in Dinah the Christmas Whore, but it bugged me that he couldn't possibly like or respect his sister until he found out that she had this secret, grungy other life where she smoked cigarettes and spent time with less than savory characters.
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