I read everything that David Sedaris writes. And when I have finished his latest piece, I always miss his voice. That melancholy was even greater when I finished Theft by Finding, Diaries 1977-2002 (Little, Brown, $28). Sedaris says this is the first volume of his diaries, edited, to be sure, because the man writes every day of his life. Some of the entries are lengthy stories about the events of his day. Some are observations about his friends and family. Many, though, are short treats —funny or poignant or devastating bits from the world around him, written at the time he was experiencing them. I made a mistake when I read this book. I was so excited to have it, that I read the whole thing in just a couple of days. On a road trip with my mom, I read choice passages to her while she drove. It was a nice way to enjoy someone else’s diaries, but if I had it to do over again, I would have taken my time and savored each entry even more.
Podcast fans rejoice! The first collection of excerpts from one of the world’s most popular podcasts is here! In Waiting for the Punch (Flatiron, $27.99), Marc Maron and his producer Brendan McDonald bring us highlights from their podcast, “WTF with Marc Maron.” Maron is equal parts empathy and bitterness, introspection and derision. The honest approach he brings to interviewing encourages open dialogue, not canned Q&A. That authenticity makes this greatest-hits book a treasure trove of insight, and at over 800 episodes, there are loads of interviews to choose from. Arranged by theme—parenting, mental health, success, failure, addiction, to name a few—there is something in here for anyone looking to read hard-earned and frequently humorous lessons from some the world’s wisest personalities and most entertaining celebrities.
Now is the time for this book. Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (Pantheon, $35) is an in-depth look at a five-day revolt, and its aftermath, in one of the country’s most notorious prisons. To demand more humane treatment, 1,300 prisoners took charge of the entire facility, holding hostages to bolster their bargaining power. On the fifth day, the state stormed the prison with a show of brutal force, killing thirty-nine men—prisoners and hostages alike—and injuring hundreds more. Ultimately, only prisoners were tried, no state officials were held accountable, no support was given to the devastated victims and their families. This National Book Award Finalist is a report on mass incarceration, basic civil rights, and governmental abuse of power. Like I said, now is the time for this book.