Themes and Variations
Short Stories

Themes and Variations

Themes and Variations 

Themes and Variations from author David Sedaris is the latest short story to cross my path and grab my attention. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into with this one, but it had rave reviews and I decided to give it a go, and I wasn’t disappointed! 

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Have you read Themes and Variations? Come on in and let me tell you about it! 

About Themes and Variations 

Dismissed by a bored author at a book signing, a betrayed young man named David Sedaris made a vow. Someday, when it was his turn at the table, he’d connect with his readers. The experience has been even more revealing than he’d hoped.

In this hilarious and perceptive essay, the celebrated humorist reflects on the unusual patterns of forced socialization between author and audience, and the obligations and sometimes surprising returns of not-so-chance encounters with strangers: jokes, secrets, insights, and even charity. 

Thoughts on Themes and Variations 

I haven’t read much of David Sedaris’ writing before. I had a teacher in high school who absolutely raved about him, and I vaguely remember reading Naked. Or maybe I just owned it and never made it to reading it. Your guess is as good as mine, as that was many, many years ago now. 

So needless to say, reading Themes and Variations was a new experience and introduction into David Sedaris’ writing. I must admit that I enjoyed it. 

Themes and Variations is a short story, or essay, at just fifteen pages. It is the perfect read over my morning coffee instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or reading the newspaper. It is significantly more enjoyable too. 

It is also the perfect way to spend fifteen minutes before bed, or while waiting at a bus stop. Wherever you have fifteen minutes to spare to just relax and laugh, that is the perfect time to read Themes and Variations. 

I laughed so hard several times as I read this earlier. David Sedaris has a way of explaining things that are both relatable and hilarious. Things we don’t necessarily talk about as part of our general everyday conversations. 

For example, he had a fan tell him at a book signing that she put her bra back on for him. Now I would hope that made him feel pretty darn important, because I certainly wouldn’t put mine back on once I got home for just anybody. But I also couldn’t quite imagine telling someone I put my bra back on for them either. 

This short story is filled with interactions like that with his readers, and it is a really fun perspective to hear from an author. It is clear he thoroughly enjoys connecting with his audience, especially at events and book signings. This stemmed from a less than stellar experience he had at a book signing before he became an author, and he vowed not to become that kind of person. 

Final Thoughts on Themes and Variations 

Themes and Variations is absolutely worth the fifteen minutes it takes to read it, and the laughs that come from it definitely make this a high-value story for any reader. 

I can easily see picking this story up again after I’d read a book I didn’t like, so I could have a good laugh, and be refreshed to read the next novel and not become disgruntled with reading in general. 


Have you read Themes and Variations or any other writing from author David Sedaris? Are you a fan? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

About the Author 

Themes and Variations
Themes and Variations author David Sedaris

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, number one New York Times bestselling author David Sedaris has become one of America’s preeminent 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. 

Themes and Variations
Themes and Variations author David Sedaris

David Sedaris is the author of Barrel Fever, Holidays on Ice, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, and Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002, as well as the collections of personal essays Name, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress You Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, and Calypso. 

David Sedaris lives in Paris. Raised in North Carolina, he has worked as a housecleaner and most famously, as a part-time elf for Macy’s. Several of his plays have been produced, and he is a regular contributor to Esquire and Public Radio International’s ‘This American Life’. 

Purchasing Themes and Variations 

If you are interested in buying the Kindle version of Themes and Variations, click here.

Click here for the Audiobook version.

Click here for my favorite Kindle I currently own.

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Themes and Variations
Themes and Variations

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