Monday, June 25, 2018

Sedaris Goes Back in Time for New Material

Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002 by David Sedaris
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Theft by Finding is like a b-sides and rarities album, a retrospective that includes a bunch of old stuff, rough cuts, alternative versions of the hits, etc. It's designed for preexisting fans of the artist. They're the ones yearning for this sort of material. I'm one of them.

This might also be enjoyable for non-fans, who just like a good salacious diary, something that feels gossipy and gives you the sense that dirt has been properly dished. Most of this dirt however is on himself and the dirt-poor. Theft by Finding covers Sedaris' early years when he was a down-and-out drug addict. There were times when he was a few bucks away from being homeless. But rest assured, he brings out the funny in it all.

The early years are fascinating when his struggle was hampered by personality and bad habits. Many will not enjoy this because of that. Or I should say, many do not enjoy this because of that. Source: I've read reviews of his previous books that touch upon this era of his life.

If nothing else this is an interesting rags to riches story, which ends about the time that his life turns into one unending book tour. There's only so much one can write about that life style before it bores. However, there's PLENTY of juicy diary material prior to that, so dig in!

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Welsh Myth Reimagined in Fantasy

The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain, #1)The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Book of Three is one of those classic fantasy novels you see on "Top ___" lists and the shelves of used bookshops with a fantasy section of any redeeming value. However, it doesn't rank up there with the best of the bunch and you don't hear people raving about it. I needed to find out what was up with this little book and so I did.

It's a fun, mostly-light fantasy adventure about a headstrong boy who wants to live life, not wallow in the wake of a blacksmith or spend his days as an assistant pig keeper. He gets more than his wish in a fast-paced, action-packed journey that pits him and his new friends in a battle with the land's greatest evil.

The Book of Three is indeed fun, as well as interesting for its take on Welsh myth. It is however a little more silly than I care for these days. It treads too much on gags, like a toady's repetitive speech pattern and a bard's truth-detecting instrument that breaks a string whenever he lies. He must break nearly ten strings throughout this book and such a short book is just not long enough to sustain that kind of repetition. One last quibble, the only female figure in the book is annoying. Everything that comes out of her mouth sounds like "I told you so!" and that sucks.

Right now I'm up in the air about continuing on with the Chronicles of Prydain series, but I've wanted to read this book for as long as I can remember and I'm glad I did.

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