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Funny Books - I Like You Hospitality Under The Influence - Amy Sedaris

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I Like You, Hospitality Under The Influence
Amy Sedaris
Read by Amy Sedaris
3 CD audio book
1 Recipe CD
Hachette Book Group USA 2006

If Emily Post was a little stoned she would be Amy Sedaris. If Julia Childs had been a little drunk she would have written the steps for the recipes in I Like You, Hospitality Under The Influence. This audio book CD set features 3 CDs of material read by Amy Sedaris (of Strangers With Candy and David Sedaris fame) and a CD of fairly simple recipes that sound quite good even if some of the steps are a bit unusual. For those familiar with Amy Sedaris' voice from TV or David Sedaris audio books, she actually has a very good reading voice here.

Just the excerpts featured on the back of this audio book on CD give you an idea of the tome of I Like You, Hospitality Under The Influence by Amy Sedaris: "It's always a good idea to stock your neighbor's apartment with the basics (alcohol, ice, corn chips ...) so when you run out at three o'clock in the morning, you know whose door to knock on." Or "Try filling your medicine cabinet with marbles. Nothing announces a nosy partygoer more successfully than an avalanche of marbles striking a porcelain sink"  --Sedaris fans will probably guess this is something the author pulled on her brother David.

This is without a doubt one of the most unusual audio book CD set I have heard in a while. I Like You, Hospitality Under The Influence is funny yet you are never quite sure how earnest or sincere Amy Sedaris (or the character she seems to play here) really is. It is not that the advice does not make sense, it certainly does, but it makes sense in either a very dark way or in a totally absurd situation. I am not quite sure what to make of the author's obsession with cheese balls (mentioned in just about every chapter) but her ideas of using any party to have an impromptu garage sale and leaving a tip jar out for the guests are certainly original.

This is certainly a weird collection of party giving and hostessing tips and this is particularly true of CD 3 with topics such as Grieving, the very bizarre and not up to par with the other chapters Ladies Night, the much better Entertaining the Elderly or Playing Nurse and Long Term Care.

I suspect the book version of I Like You is something you enjoy in small doses because it is the same thing for the audio book CD version of it (though having Sedaris read it adds a lot to it). Amy Sedaris' take on hosting is just too weird, wacked out, bizarre, and, yes, tempting, to enjoy in one fell swoop.

One thing I would certainly like to find out about this audio book CD set is how many people bought it by mistake not aware of who Amy Sedaris is or that this was a comic take on how to be a good hostess and etiquette books. For some reason, I can picture someone giving it to old Aunt Glenda for Christmas and easily imagine her reaction when she first listens to it.

CD 4 of I Like You features more than a hundred recipes, some complicated, some perfect for a quick meal in printable PDF format. The ease of use and visual presentation of this material is superb. Somebody took a lot of time getting this right and it shows.

The weakness here, and this is common to many audio book CDs, it is that there is no table of contents anywhere for I Like You Hospitality Under The Influence, neither on the CDs or as an insert. This is certainly frustrating when you are trying to find a favorite track or are curious as to what is on each CD. The tracking itself also does not quite make sense to me. I am sure there is some kind of marketing research that shows people like their audio book tracked in five or six minute segments but it doesn't quite work here where it would have sounded better, and been more useful, in chapter segments.

If you know a hostess with the mostest, I Like You, Hospitality Under The Influence would certainly make for a fun gift, especially if they do not have a sense of humor --though you risk having her take the so-called advice here seriously. Then again, this in itself could be a lot of fun.



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