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Holidays on Ice Hardcover – October 8, 2008

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Editorial Reviews Review

Holidays on Ice is a collection of three previously published stories matched with three newer ones, all, of course, on a Christmas theme. 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. --Ali Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

For those dreading the holiday season, bestseller Sedaris (When You Are Engulfed in Flames) makes life a little easier with this re-release of his uproarious essay collection, newly expanded from the original 1997 edition. Sedaris gets the most mileage out of Christmas, from his stint as a Macy's elf in "Santaland Diaries," to comparing American and Dutch holiday traditions in "Six to Eight Black Men." In "Jesus Shaves," Sedaris recalls a French class in which students try to explain to each other, in broken French, the concept of Easter: "On the Easter we be sad because somebody makes Jesus dead today." This updated version includes "The Monster Mash," poached from When You Are Engulfed, in which Sedaris spends Halloween at the morgue; and "The Cow and the Turkey," a new story featuring the Secret Santa woes of barnyard animals. Longtime fans will be happy to have all Sedaris's holiday stories in one volume, and those who've managed to miss the literary funny-man couldn't get a better gift.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (October 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316035904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316035903
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (472 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America 's pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.David Sedaris is the author of the bestsellers Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice, as well as collections of personal essays, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, each of which became immediate bestsellers. There are a total of seven million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into 25 languages. He is the editor of an anthology of stories, , Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories. His essays appear regularly in Esquire and The New Yorker. Sedaris and his sister, Amy Sedaris, have collaborated under the name "The Talent Family" and have written several plays which have been produced at La Mama, Lincoln Center , and The Drama Department in New York City . These plays include Stump the Host, Stitches, One Woman Shoe, which received an Obie Award, Incident at Cobbler's Knob, and The Book of Liz, which was published in book form by Dramatist's Play Service. His recent collection of essays, titled When You Are Engulfed in Flames, was published in June 2008.David Sedaris's original radio pieces can often be heard on This American Life, distributed nationally by Public Radio International and produced by WBEZ. In 2001, David Sedaris became the third recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor. He was named by Time magazine as "Humorist of the Year" in 2001. David Sedaris was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word Album ("Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim") and Best Comedy Album ("David Sedaris: Live at Carnegie Hall"). In 2008 the audio version of When You Are Engulfed in Flames was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Spoken Word category.

Customer Reviews

If you are in need of a laugh, I highly recommend reading this book!
K. Lundgren
I recently bought several more copies to give out as Christmas gifts - it is the perfect stocking stuffer!
A. Allen
I did find the first short story interesting, but the rest of the book was boring and/or I didn't get it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Mint910 VINE VOICE on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read the original version of this collection a few years ago and really enjoyed it so I jumped at the chance of reading the stories again and the new additional stories! The new stories are definitely a welcome addition!

Of the original stories, The SantaLand Diaries starts the collection off on a hilarious note. You get to read bout the inner workings of being a department store Christmas elf. The crazy santas, elves and customers! Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!! starts off innocently enough as a family holiday letter and quickly takes a turn for the hilariously insane, like a lot of Sedaris's stories.

Of the new stories, Jesus Shaves is by far my favorite. It had me crying from laughing so hard. I don't want to give anything away, so just trust me, it's hilarious. Six to Eight Black Men was also hilarious along the same line. Definitely learned things I didn't know about how other countries celebrate to holidays.

I wasn't totally fond of The Monster Mash, about a trip to a medical examiner's office, it spoke to my weak stomach and my stomach said no thank you. But it still had it's funny moments.

All in all this is a hilarious holiday collection and the new stories are a welcome addition helping add additional holidays to this collection.
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66 of 74 people found the following review helpful By T. K. Schonhoff on August 9, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The holidays bring out something truly special in David Sedaris, making this more a "best of" than a mere holiday book. It's simply brilliant and, as many reviewers have experienced, one of those rare books that may cause you to laugh out loud in spite of yourself. Its only flaw is that it's a short book, but in content it's a giant.
Avid NPR listeners will instantly recognize the first essay in this book, "Santaland Diaries"; the author's reading of that story is their single most requested encore. His description of becoming a Christmas Elf at Macy's is a true guilty pleasure; scathingly unkind and screamingly funny. If you ever held an undignified job, this is somehow your story - even if you never (pardon the pun) stooped so low as to play an elf.
Sedaris writes like a post-modern Mark Twain, with a dry and piercing wit that drips with charm and cynicism in equal measure. His is the kind of writing that makes me go back to re-read a sentence, a paragraph, even a whole story hoping to savor some particular gem I only wish I'd written. His tone is often dark, even bleak, but there's a wry quality in his stories that lets you know he's really doing it all for effect - setting you up for an even bigger laugh because you know he's enjoying every minute of telling his sad, hilarious stories.
Get in on his story now so you can savor the feeling of waiting impatiently for his next book - and there's no better way to start than to read Holidays on Ice.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By DPK VINE VOICE on April 5, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
To say that David Sedaris doesn't see the world the way that others do is a grievous understatement. He finds equal humor in the bizarre and the mundane. His wit can be both razor sharp and gentle as feather. He writes and says things that maybe you've thought about before and if you haven't thought about them before you'll certainly give them plenty of thought afterwords.
Sedaris gift for storytelling is on display at its finest in this audio collection of holiday-themed stories. The most famous is, of course, "The Santaland Diaries", in which Sedaris relates in hillarious detail his experiences working as an elf at Macy's Santaland in New York. This piece is an American classic which should be compulsory reading for anyone who has worked a retail job during the holidays, not to mention anyone who has ever shopped a store during the holidays. Almost as good is "Front Row Center WIth Thaddeus Bristol" which skewers both a pompous theater critic and the sometimes attrocious children's holiday plays he's reviewing.
In all, this collection contains six stories read by Sedaris himself, his sister Amy and actress Ann Magnuson. The different voices work well to set the tone for each story over the course of the tape, and the variety helps sustain interest which can be an issue with single reader audio programs.
For many of us, the holidays mean laughter and tears. David Dedaris understands this and has given the world six of the finest tools with which to cope.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By David G. Phillips on August 11, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
This book was a really fantastic collection of 6 short stories regarding the holiday season. I had heard so much about David Sedaris and what a talented satirical writer he was, and I was much impressed by his ability to parody the American publics love/hate relationship during the holiday season. His life as an elf in the Macys's shopping store in New York had me laughing out loud. And the upbeat Christmas letter that includes the introduction of a Vietamese stepchild was hilarious.
I finished the book in two days of light reading and realized the author is truly dark and twisted but extremely talented. "Me Talk Pretty One Day" is next on my list. I guarantee you'll like this book, but just to add to the fervor of the writing, I suggest you read it a week before Christmas during your most hellish and frantic points of your life; it'll add to the hilarity of your situation.
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