Continuing my simultaneous quests to read outside my lines and pick up random popular authors that I haven’t read yet, I turned to one of the many essay collections by David Sedaris. This is his sixth, and while I heard that some of the earlier ones were more funny, I thought a “recent” collection might be more pertinent to today’s issues. Whether or not that is true, it was interesting to “throwback” to some of the things happening “back then” without today’s lens!
It is HARD to pick nonfiction these days when there is so much of it out there. I first heard the Sedaris name on Bojack Horseman, as his sister Amy voices a prominent character, and she seems like a hilarious person and decent actress.
Having gone to the Van Gogh exhibit recently and almost purchased a tote with the painting on the cover of When You Are Engulfed in Flames on it, i thought “hey this will be a good place to start”
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: When You Are Engulfed in Flames
- Author: David Sedaris
- Publisher & Release: Little, Brown & Company – June 2008
- Length: 336 pages
- The Audio: self narrated by David Sedaris, 9 hours from Hachette Audio
I think it is a little bit hard to rate humor because everybody has a different sense of humor. While I have a feeling that Sedaris’ personality won’t go over well with the 2022 “woke” crowd, I personally find him funny and admire the way that he can make everyday embarrassment into something worth reading about.
If you are looking for a lighter read with funny observations about life and personal experiences, Sedaris seems like a regular go-to for many people and I would certainly read & listen to more of his writings.
I laughed the most when Sedaris was *convinced* that his husband wanted a human skeleton for Christmas, when his mother – in – law had a worm in her leg with a penis-shaped head, and, at the many mistakes that happen when the literal translation of languages leaves something to be desired. This happens a lot between Japanese and English and we see the best of it as Sedaris tries to quit smoking by immersing himself in Japanese culture
There is also some heavier commentary on his early drug and alcohol use, getting out of the closet, and many things that he probably wasn’t laughing at at the time but now can reflect back on and find the story to tell.
The audio is great too, I think he is a great orator and kept it interesting. The live recording portions were of good quality too. Why was Sedaris sitting mostly naked in a urology waiting room? Well – you’ll have to read to find out