Today was the big day when Katie and I went to see David Sedaris at Anderson's Bookstore in Naperville. We got there a little after 5 p.m. and there was already a line of just under two dozen people waiting to get their tickets to have their books signed. Several dozen more showed up after us. We wound up as number 19 and picked up another of his books — Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (my indie bookstore guilt factor kicking in like I described a couple weeks ago). Then we headed out to Starbucks to pick up a drink. It's amazing how stuffy a store can get with a ton of people in there.
When we came back to the store around 6:30, the place was literally jammed with people sitting down in the speaker's area to listen to him talk. I was standing up against the help desk and Katie was floating around the store trying to circumnavigate the crowds whiiles shopping for other books. When he finally came out, he started reading a fable he had written about a cat getting a haircut from a baboon. This would mark the first time I've heard something from him that was not directly related to his family and it was very well written. I hope it will be published sometime soon. He followed this up with a new one that was soon to be published in the New Yorker about his unfortunate experience with a young woman named Becky on a flight to North Carolina. Katie and I could not stop laughing. Some of his jabs were very blatant while a few hovered under the radar a bit. Either way, it was a scathing rebuke against modern seating assignments in planes and, oh yeah, stupid people. Can't forget that one.
After shilling a short story collection from other authors — Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules — that he wrote an introduction for as well as "edited" (in quotes because he said he could never bring himself to actually cut content from any of the stories as they were all perfection) that benefits a reading program started by Dave Eggers (author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), we decided to go ahead and buy that one as well. Then we got around to the signing. Of course, I had him sign all three — the two mentioned here and my copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day — and the signatures are interesting to say the least. He signed them all to Kevin (I wanted them signed to both Katie and myself, but she said to just have them signed to me since she hadn't read any of his books yet; I still feel bad, though) and followed each with his signature as well as either a rubber stamping of wild mushrooms, a hand-drawn Jack-o-lantern, or the phrase "Stay Asian!" I can't help but laugh when I think about this last one. Good stuff.
But the end result was even better than just having the books signed. Katie has now decided, based on his readings, that she wants to start reading his books. Good work, Mr. Sedaris. You just created another new fan. I'm happy to share my books with her. And you all should as well. Start here.