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Book Review

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Amy Sedaris, Simple Times

  • 2010
  • | Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

For anyone who likes to giggle
If her prolific output is any indication, Amy Sedaris is the sort of person most accurately characterized as a “riot”. Loony, ingenious and adorable, the multitalented author would make either an ideal dinner guest or wacky aunt. As it turns out, these qualities transfer well to the audiobook of her latest production, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, which Sedaris reads herself.

“It’s often been said that ugly people craft and attractive people have sex,” Sedaris begins. “This book is not going to dispel that ridiculous fact.” Divided into sections like “The Joy of Poverty”, “Teenagers Have a Lot of Pain” and “Sausages,” Sedaris’s effort is less a set of instructions than a hilarious and wide-ranging manual for living. The tone mixes wisdom and wit, with hints on how to organize a craft room and come up with ideas, as well as tips on potential uses for finished craft projects, such as “old people presents”, “dust accumulator” and “salvaged for parts to make other crafts”. There is a useful section devoted to coconut-based crafts, a delightful project called Rusty Nail Wind Chime, and instructions for a Donut Squirrel Feeder, which begin, “Squirrels love old-fashioned donuts.”

Needless to say, those uninterested in crafts need not turn away — for Sedaris, the topic operates a bit like the topic of whales did for Herman Melville. It’s a jumping-off point, in other words. Simple Times is for anyone who likes to giggle.

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