From Publishers Weekly
Sedaris's sidesplitting guide to throwing parties hopes to return readers to the times when the word "entertainment" was "charmingly old-fashioned, like courtship or back alley abortions." While her tongue is firmly in cheek, novice party-planners will actually find some helpful hints along the way as Sedaris offers instructions and real recipes. Her tips run the gamut from how to properly freeze meatballs (freeze them on a cookie sheet before putting them into a freezer bag so they won't stick together) and deal with the inebriated ("Better to cut them off rather than pretend it's not happening and then allow them to stay over and wet your bed"). She's a generous but crafty hostess ("A good trick is to fill your medicine cabinet with marbles. Nothing announces a nosey guest better than an avalanche of marbles hitting a porcelain sink"). Etiquette pointers include inappropriate introductions ("This is Barbara, she can't have children") and things to avoid saying to the grieving ("Did she smoke?" "Was he drinking?" "Where were you when this happened?"). Her advice is both practical and hilarious; her instructions on removing vomit stains ends with "or just toss it, chances are you've stained it before." Sedaris's first solo effort (after Wigfield
with her Strangers with Candy
co-stars, as well as several plays with her brother, David) is an outrageous and deadpan delight, greatly enhanced by her deliriously kitschy illustrations and photos. (Oct. 16)
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The actor, caterer, film star, comic, and sister of David Sedaris charms, seduces, entertains, instructs, amuses, and just plain invites readers into her somewhat eclectic life. Readers will revel in the more than 100 recipes with menus for dozens of occasions (or not), from blind date at home to table for one (an evening alone, that is, with steak and salad). Her recipes, by the way, are no rivals to the Culinary Institute of America; for instance, the directions for "carrot coins" call for slicing carrots so they look like coins and sauteing with butter, salt, and pepper. Readers can choose from any number of easy items to craft--a Greek dress, a calf stretcher, or a mini-pantyhose plant hanger. Among the various tips shared: "One possible origin of the term 'monkey dish' [is] originally a dish made from a monkey's skull." But everyone can simply enjoy her wisdom-filled one-liners, with at least one appearing on every page. (About entertaining the elderly, she says, "Keep them engaged or it's the express train to nappy-land.") This is hardly a Reader's Digest
compendium, but David Letterman would be pleased with it. Media tours and promotions alone should drive demand. Barbara JacobsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved