Friday, December 12, 2008

Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris and Blogger Advent


I have to admit that today is Wednesday, even though this post will publish on Friday. December is an incredibly busy month not only because of the holidays but also because of extended hours at work (which cuts into my morning and lunch reading time--which means very little blogging time). Thursday is my husband's work party and Friday is my work party--so here I am on Wednesday. Not procrastinating. Must be a first! :P

So, since I gave my husband the ole holiday decorating guilt trip, I thought it only fair to post about our holiday tradition before moving on to the book review. When I told him that I was going to post holiday pictures and his wouldn't be included if he didn't finish his decorating, he hopped into high gear and started finishing his work.

So what is the tradition? A few years ago, I decided to start a Christmas village. I really really wanted Scott to take an interest and get involved in the new tradition, so I dragged him to the holiday store on the coldest day of the year (when we were living in Lubbock). I showed him the village I wanted, the New England series, and he took one look at it, and said, "sure...I'll take an interest. I'll start my own village and we can compete." Yup, thanks Scott for the support. So, thus began our tradition of competing villages. While both villages are Department 56, mine is New England and his is Christmas in the City (Scott's picture is on top--his village still isn't complete; My village is on bottom--complete. Both villages butt right up against each other).


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HOLIDAYS ON ICE
Author: David Sedaris
Date Finished: Dec 10, 2008
Published: 2008 (new edition); Pages: 166
Rating: 3.75/5

I've never read anything by Sedaris before, so I was really excited to get my hands on Holidays on Ice. This book was a great break from all of the challenge reading I've been doing lately and will be doing for the rest of the year. Plus, because my reading time has been cut the past few weeks, the short stories (at least in the second part of the book) were perfect for stealing away for a few minutes to read.

Holidays on Ice contains 12 different stories about, um, the holidays--mostly Christmas but a few Halloween as well. Sedaris's humor is just how I like it--sharp and dark. The stories, particularly "SantaLand Diaries," "Jesus Shaves," "Us and Them," and "Let it Snow," made me laugh out loud and even sometimes gasp in shock. Sedaris certainly doesn't hold anything back in his humor (there is a little bit of off-color and language, but I didn't find it overwhelming).

Other than the fact that these stories all provide social commentary on how we silly people act and react during the holidays, the stories are varied--even ranging from personal accounts and essays to more fictionalized stories. I preferred the personal stories and actually could have done without some of the others ("Based on a True Story" and "Christmas Means Giving"). Each story, though, makes us take a look at how we are celebrating the holidays.

I would recommend this little book with a little bit of reservation. This isn't your normal feel-good Christmas book. But it will make you laugh, and it will make you think, and if nothing else it will get you a little closer to the Christmas spirit. Thanks Miriam and Hachette Books for the great laughs.

50 comments:

  1. You definitely win! lol (Sorry Scott).

    Holidays on Ice sounds funny.

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  2. I like both villages. I'm leaning more toward your's, being finished and all, because I love the end of autumn look. Holidays on Ice--I'm gonna look into that one. Sounds interesting. I like the cover. =) Merry Christmas

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  3. Both those villages are really cool!

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  4. I adore David Sedaris. I keep thinking about picking this one up.

    Lezlie

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  5. I like the little competition y'all have going with the villages. I listened to Holidays on Ice and found it hilarious.

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  6. *Chris - Why thank you. :) I like his actual houses better than mine--or some of them, but my set up rocks compared to his. :P

    *BigSis - Thanks for coming by! The cover of Holidays on Ice is particularly funny to me because we do have the villages. It's a really fun book!

    *Amanda - Thanks! They are a lot of fun but a pain in the butt to take down.

    *Lezlie - I really need to read some of his other works--any recommendations or where to go next?

    *Bermuda - This would be so much fun to listen to. I was laughing so hard at Jesus Shaves. The competition between Scott and I is healthy, but it is competition. :)

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  7. I've read "Naked" and "When You Are Engulfed In Flames". Between the two, I thought "Engulfed In Flames" was funnier. And if you can listen to him read it, it's even better! :-)

    Lezlie

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  8. I love the village idea and I think competition just makes it all the more interesting!:) should take tips from you on how to make my husband more involved in holiday activities:)

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  9. I am yet to read any Sedaris. He is on my TBR pile!

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  10. I LOOOVE your villages! I want to see them more close up--I'm sure there are lots of neat little details!

    I think I would like to read something by Sedaris. I keep seeing his name all over the blogging world (like Gaiman), and I feel like I'm missing out! I'm curious to see if the stories you thought were funny would be funny to me as well?

    P.S. I just ate that cupcake and I NEED another one!

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  11. I just finished this one as well but haven't posted a review yet :) I liked some of the same stories that you did but they were a couple that were a bit much for me. I still plan on reading more by him as this was a first for me.

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  12. A Christmas village competition! LOL! That's hilarious and fun and both of your set-ups work nicely together. They look like a city with a downtown and then the residential area wrapped around it. I love the cover of 'Holidays on Ice'. Haven't read anything by David Sedaris, but 'Jesus Shaves' sounds too good to resist.

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  13. Building Christmas villages is a wonderful tradition, Trish! :)

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  14. Love your competing villages, Trish -- I'm sure that's what my husband and I would wind up doing if one of us got into it. As for Sedaris, he's one of my very favorites. Read, or better yet, listen to Sedaris read "Six to Eight Black Men," a Christmas story I revisit every year and never fails to crack me up.

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  15. That is so cool! I loved the one you had up for Halloween(?) too, or was that the same one?

    The villages are both beautiful and I love the snow and trees you have put around them as well, great work!

    I read Holiday's on Ice and really enjoyed it, I think I knew what I was getting into somehow and I was in the mood for that type of book. Great review!

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  16. Oh my gosh, I LOVE that you have competing villages! So awesome.

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  17. If we were to do something like this competition is probably the only way to get my husband involved. Unless it was a Nightmare Before Christmas, Dr. Suess, or Star Wars village.

    I have Holidays on Ice checked out from the library right now. I have found myself reading very little this month, I'm so stressed with getting house ready for in-laws, Christmas, and getting misc. paperwork in before the end of the year. I'm sure we could all relate.

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  18. The village idea is so cool. I would love to do such a thing. But I wouldn't know where on earth to get any of the things to get started and I am such a non-creative person, that it would turn out bad I am afraid. But I also kind of like the idea of the competing villages :-) Great post on this wonderful Blog Advent Tour.

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  19. Yup! Your village wins hands down. Finished or not, I still like yours best. The book sounds silly. Worth a different kind of read. Thanks for the reivew.

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  20. "Holidays on Ice" was the first Sedaris book I read and, for me, it was beginning of a beautiful relationship. =) Glad you liked it! You might like some his more recent stuff more (see "When You Are Engulfed in Flames"). He isn't as off-color as he used to be, and as he's gotten older he's gotten more introspective. Still, he's bitingly sharp and funny.

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  21. i LOVE david sedaris. and "holidays on ice" is very funny. glad you enjoyed it. if you want to read more sedaris, i'd recommend "me talk pretty one day." it's a classic!

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  22. It's hard to tell, but I think I might like his better (sorry!) The houses, that is.

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  23. *Lezlie - I'll definitely have to check out Engulfed!

    *Ramya - I hadn't planned on it being a competition--but whatever works, right? :)

    *Gautami - I can't wait to read more of his stuff.

    *Laura - Come by! If you don't mind the hike to "Oklahoma" you're welcome any time. Sedaris's writing is really really sarcastic and there were a few stories that I did not like (the ones mentioned in the post). Some of them are funny, though--and I REALLY want you to read the story about the farm animals. Those cupcakes were wayyyyyyy too good.

    *Sam - Can't wait to hear what you think! Some were too much for me as well.

    *Julia - Thanks for coming by! Jesus Shaves is about a group of people in a French class trying to explain to one another the traditions of Christmas with limited vocabulary. Very funny!

    *Joy - It is a lot of fun!!

    *Verbatim - Six to Eight Black Men was great--I had meant to ask in the post what their roosters say, but forgot.

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  24. *Bethany - The Halloween village is now put away, but I use the same platform for this Christmas village (except for the 'sea' piece). Holidays on Ice was perfect reading for this time of year! Just enough craziness for me to forget a little bit of stress!

    *Rae - It's pretty funny and we have a great time with it. Not fun for the pocketbook, though!

    *Natasha - Hope you enjoy Holidays on Ice. I can totally relate and have already realized it will be a bad reading month for me (for the first time all year I'm not even thinking about picking up a book until next week!!)

    *Bogsider - Thanks for coming by! We get a lot of our pieces on clearance at the local hardware store! Or online. It seems that every craft store has a village collection now--and even Walmart and Sears! They're a lot of fun...and I don't consider myself creative at all!

    *Michelle - LOL--Scott's pieces are better, but he needs more ooomph with his set up.

    *JS - I'll definitely be picking up more stuff by Sedaris!

    *Veronica - I've seen Me Talk Pretty everywhere--will definitely have to pick it up!

    *Lisa - His houses really are great. I've actually even though about selling mine and just concentrating on his (mine is less popular and so more difficult to find in stores anyway). But then it takes away the competition and I like that we both have our own--and that his IS his. Makes it more enjoyable for him, I think.

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  25. That it totally hilarious. :) Like the book review, too.

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  26. Awesome! Competing villages! I just started collecting the Dickens village myself :)

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  27. The village tradition is such a great idea. I love both but I am definitely partial to yours. The furkids don't try to knock them down?

    I've heard so much about Holdays on Ice -mostly good-but I haven't read it. A book that makes you laugh is always a good thing though.

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  28. You got your husband interested so you won the day that happened. All though I have to say I like the city best. Thanks for sharing your decorations and the book looks very good I will have to check it out.

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  29. I am looking forward to reading something my Sedaris - he was in Australia earlier this year for a book festival and I heard him speak on a couple of different radio shows - very funny!

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  30. lol, I also think your village definitely wins, Trish! But anyway, competing villages is such a cool tradition!

    I've heard that Holidays on Ice is not Sedaris at his best, but it still sounds like something I'd enjoy. I love books that make me both laugh and think. And I like his sharp, dark humour a lot too.

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  31. I think it is hilarious that you have competing Christmas villages! I haven't read any Sedaris - something that I know I should rectify one of these days!

    Thanks so much for participating in the Blog Advent Tour!

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  32. *Melissa - Thanks for coming by! We have a lot of fun with the villages and a little competition is healthy, right?

    *Strumpet - My mom has the Dickens village and I love it--if she didn't already collect it I would have probably gone for that one.

    *Dar - The furbabies surprisingly stay away from the village. The dog, of course, can't get on top of the table and the cat doesn't really seem interested. She prefers the tree. :)

    *Krissi - The city village is pretty cool...I have to admit. Thanks for coming by!

    *Karen - I look forward to reading more Sedaris as well--I've heard his audio version of the books are also well worth it.

    *Nymeth - Well thank you, my dear. :) Hearing that Holidays isn't Sedaris's best makes me really eager to read more of his stuff. I know you've read a few of his books--do you have a favorite?

    *Marg - True male fashion to make it a competition, huh? Thanks for hosting--the tour has been a lot of fun so far!

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  33. That village idea is so what I want to do! I look at them every year but I don't really have anywhere to set them up! So, I'm jealous. lol One day I am going to do this. I should be buying for that one day, but I haven't...

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  34. I've only read one, actually: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. I really enjoyed it, but at the time everyone kept telling me that Naked was even better. And I've heard great things about the newest one, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

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  35. Your villages both look great, but I've got to admit that I like your setup better than Scott's. :)

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  36. Those villages are great! They are just like little puzzles. So intricate.

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  37. Is this christmas village thing an american tradition? In Sicily they're big into nativities, my granny was very proud of hers. And she was very particular about it. But I never heard of xmas villages. I think your husband's one has the potential but it's not finished! not fair:P

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  38. that's hilarious! I don't think you should sell yours! It's the two beside each other that makes it perfect. Thanks for sharing this heartwarming/competitive story! They are the best kind.
    Merry Christmas Trish!

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  39. I want a Christmas village!!!
    They're just so cute!

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  40. I've just started a Christmas village too. Last year was our first houses, we now have 5 all together. I kept finding all the people on the roofs. Finally I caught my daughter moving them up, and I asked her: why are all the people on the roofs? She replied: 'Because there's a flood coming!' This year we brought it out, and once again the people are on the roofs!!
    I love BOTH your villages...once your husband's is done, you can do what they do in England, and have a 'prettiest village' contest!! :-D thanks so much for your post, the competitive spirit is hilarious between you too!! Merry Christmas!

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  41. *Kailana - What we did was get a cheap pressed board surface from home depot and a couple of saw horses so that we didn't have to worry about messing up a table (we drilled holes in the platforms for wires) and we can set it up anywhere. It does take up space, but we definitely didn't start out so big!

    *Nymeth - Actually when I found out about this one, I didn't make the connection between the author and all of the other books! Maybe I'll check out Naked next.

    *Memory - Thank you ;)

    *Nicole - Every year I notice new details on the houses I've had for a while--they really do put a lot of detail into the houses!

    Valentina - Honestly, Scott ran out of room because his pieces are so much bigger than mine, so we wasn't able to put all of his out this year. I'm not sure if it is a mostly American tradition, but I can see that being the case. Seems like every store you go into there are villages now.

    *Raidergirl - Merry Christmas to you, too! Unless they discontinue my village (which I think there is talk of, and many of the stores in Dallas don't even carry it), I won't get rid of it.

    *Steph - Get one! If you look online you can find a lot of the pieces at a huge discount. Also, sometimes stores will sell them at 50% after they are retired or after the holidays. That's when we do most of our shopping.

    *Susan - Which village do you collect? They are so much fun and that is hilarious about your daughter moving the people onto the roofs!! Like I was telling Steph above, you should try looking for retired pieces online...we've been able to find some great deals!

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  42. Trish, I've always thought those villages (or, "willages" as my student Akhil would say) are so darling! Like dollhouses for grown ups. (Don't tell Scott.) I haven't purchased any myself, but I always enjoy looking at others' collections. My dear father, at 78, began a 'willage' of his own: he's spent a lot of time down in the basement making a ferrier's scene (one who shoes horses) because he's so into horses, farms, stables, etc. It would be a great addition to yours and Scott's! I hope the hectic pace slows down for you so that you can really enjoy your traditions.

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  43. Wow, the villages are lovely!!! But I've to admit that yours is better! ;)

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  44. You diffently win!
    Sorry late on Advent Tour, I am playing catch up.

    Have a happy holiday!

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  45. Trish - A Christmas village competition, that sound fun!!! And I like both of the Villages *grin*

    I know it'll be lot of fun, if I could get a members of the family to compete with me on Villages.

    Thanks for sharing your tradition villages, and I wish you and your family a Happy Holidays!

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  46. *Veens - you can always start traditions!!! Seems like every year we come up with something new or do something again that we've done once and call it a tradition. I love this time of year as well--maybe you can start some type of food tradition since you love cooking so much!

    *Bellezza - How cool about your dad's village. I hope you take lots of pictures!! My grandfather had a railroad 'village' set up in his basement that he worked on for years and years, but since he had a stroke 10 years ago it has kind of been taken apart by the little hands (great grandkids).

    *Susan - Welcome! Feel free to comment any time--even if it is just to say hi. :) I've noticed you don't have a blog listed on your profile, but if you start one--definitely let me know!

    *Melody - Thank you, my dear. :) To be honest, I work a little harder at it than Scott does! LOL.

    *Vickie - Thanks for coming by! Merry Christmas.

    *Julia - Do you have a village collection as well? My mom is the one who was our inspiration, but we don't like competing with her because her village would hands-down win every year. :) Happy Holidays!!

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  47. I love Christmas villages! I put one up every year, though due to space constraints, it's in a far corner with no outlet access just yet, so it's dark. And not easily seen. Ho-hum. :( But still I love them!

    I've heard good things about this book, but I'm not sure it's something I'd go out of my way to read. Great review, though!

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  48. not related.. but didnt know where to post this.. if you are planning to move the classics challenge.. i would personally prefer the april-sept period. Most challenges begin in jan and end in april (at least the ones I am taking part in) and it'll be a good time to start on the classics..:) just my two cents!:)

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  49. I have the older edition of this book and it doesn't include the Halloween stories or a couple of the others. My favorite by far is the Santaland Diaries. Sedaris is one of my favorite writers, but I like my humor dark and edgy.

    Your Christmas villages look great! I would love to have one myself, but my cats would have pieces of it flung all over the house. They already treat the ornaments on my tree like their own personal playthings - why, I'm even nice enough to let them dangle there and make it extra fun!

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

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  50. *Anna - LOL--you need a REALLY long extension cord. :) The villages do take up a lot of space.

    *Ramya - I'll be moving the challenge up to either March or Apirl. Still haven't decided. I have a few pulling me into the April-October direction (7 months!). Ahhh--I'm such a bad hostess!!

    *Lesley - I was so proud that my cat doesn't get into the villages until my husband called me over to his. In the snow were little cat paws. I was so mad and a little embarrassed at my pride. :P I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (a month ago--sheesh! where did the time go??)

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