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Publisher's Summary

An Amazon Charts Bestseller.

In this surprising essay, international bestselling humor writer David Sedaris shares the rewards of a book tour and his devoted readers’ worst-kept secrets.

Dismissed by a bored author at a book signing, a betrayed young man named David Sedaris made a vow. Someday, when it was his turn at the table, he’d connect with his readers. The experience has been even more revealing than he’d hoped.

In this hilarious and perceptive essay, the celebrated humorist reflects on the unusual patterns of forced socialization between author and audience, and the obligations and sometimes surprising returns of not-so-chance encounters with strangers: jokes, secrets, insights, and even charity.

©2020 David Sedaris (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What the critics say

“Author David Sedaris delivers this honest, funny essay with his usual flair…This is a short look at the crazy world we live in by one of its most talented observer-humorists.” (AudioFile Magazine)

What listeners say about Themes and Variations

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There is no trivial or dull moment....

I've been reading Sedaris since "Me talk pretty one day" and continue to be amazed by his sense of observation, his ability to reflect on what is worth reflecting on in every situation, and his unique style to convey his conclusions with humor and wit. The anecdotes lived through his book signing tours, which are the theme of this essay, are no exception. He left me wondering, among other things, on what is the purpose of book signing tours? selling more books or connecting with your readers? or both, none or other? This was my first audiobook narrated by Sedaris. He speaks fast, I had to replay some phrases a few times, but nothing really annoying. Other than that, great performance.

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  • N. Charest
  • 2020-04-28

It’s true!

Sedaris really does talk to every single person in line after his events. And Portland beggars are exactly as he describes. And, yes, I take my bra off the instant I don’t need it.

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  • Terry
  • 2020-05-28

Quintesencial David Sedaris

I love David Sedaris and this short performance made me laugh about 6 times! Highly recommended.

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  • Lili
  • 2020-05-25

Only whets the appetite for his next book

I believe this is a first, a single Sedaris essay released on Audible. It was a much needed surprise as I assume his next book is still a ways off. For us Sedaris fans it's always difficult waiting until his next book comes out as we, well, I, usually finish his books within about 72 hours after they drop. So the wait is long. Loved this funny, personal, essay. I love how he talks to people....cab drivers, people in line at Starbucks, people who come to his signings and performances. Insights gathered, he filters them through his quirky brilliant eye, and voilà we get a new book. Now if he could just speed the whole thing up and write faster?

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  • Deb Schuetz
  • 2020-05-22

Much Needed

David Sedaris is such a wordsmith I love his way of describing his encounters with people. he can even make unpleasant ones entertaining. love this!

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  • Phyllis
  • 2020-05-09

No Subways in Milwaukee

The story about the $50 is fabricated of impossible settings. “Stumbled on a subway” could not happen in Milwaukee as there are no subways. Calls into question his entire autobiographical genre. What else is fabricated out of imagination?

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  • Rebecca Salzberg
  • 2021-01-15

Just as funny as David Sedaris is

Very funny but also made me think, Sedaris just has a unique of describing his experiences that makes me smile.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-12-17

Curious and funny story, only David could tell

Funny stories that kept me thinking about the world and it’s intricacies. David makes writing fun and easy, although it’s a gift he surely was born with. Even when he gets graphic at times it’s OK because you feel like you’re the only one he’s telling the story to.

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  • Juli O.
  • 2020-12-17

Brilliant!!!

This is one of David Sedaris’s funniest, most original pieces yet... so excited that it was included in the membership section!!!

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  • Sophia
  • 2020-11-30

Witty and entertaining

This recording lived up to David’s quality of work. Entertaining and witty. Note that this is a short 30 min clip so may not be worth spending 1 audible credit when you can purchase a recording of his work with 6 hours of content for 1 credit.

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  • Anita Tarlton
  • 2020-10-27

$50 worth of laughter, every 3 minutes!

This book was a giant pick-me-up! I laughed so much! Well worth reading, thanks David!