We started this blog in 2010 after a New Years' Resolution to read 60 books between the two of us. (40 for C, 20 for D.) After reaching our goal, we decided to keep going in 2011. This year, C has pledged to read 30 books, and D will read 12. By no means are we professional reviewers; we're not even professional bloggers. We're just two people who love to read and decided to share our thoughts and offer our limited insights. We hope you enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book #6: When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Geez, I love David Sedaris. This is the third of his books that I have read, and although it isn't my favorite, it was thoroughly enjoyable. For those of you not familiar with David's work, he is a humorist and author who is often heard as a contributor on National Public Radio. His books are collections of autobiographical essays which, according to the author himself, are "true enough." He is originally from North Carolina, but currently lives in France with his partner, artist Hugh Hamrick. A lot of his essays are about growing up in the South and the challenges of international travel. Me Talk Pretty One Day, my favorite of David's books, documents his attempts to learn French. Hilarious.

The bulk of When You Are Engulfed in Flames deals with David's decision to stop smoking after decades of smoking more than a pack a day. Of course, there are a lot of other subjects that come up, such as my personal favorite excerpt from any David Sedaris work that I have read so far -- his account of using a horrible contraption known as the Stadium Pal, a external catheter marketed to sports fans who are too caught up in the game to go to the restroom. As luck would have it, David happened to do a reading of this particular story on an episode of David Letterman.

I love hearing David read his material, which is actually what he's become known for, whether on Letterman or NPR or in person on his book tours. He also records the audio versions of all of his books himself. I would like to go back and buy all his books in audio version, because hearing David read the ridiculous activities of his life adds a lot to the humor.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames is classic Sedaris -- funny, honest, and quirky. I laughed out loud more times than I can count. It was a quick read -- only took about a week, which is exactly what I needed after it took ten forevers to read my last book. It's definitely worth the read, though, especially if you're looking for something to pick up for a few minutes at a time. The problem is that you won't want to put it down after a few minutes. I found myself saying, "just one more essay" every time I thought I reached a good stopping point. I recommend this or any other David Sedaris book, but more than that, I recommend picking up/downloading the audio version and listening to an essay or two on your way to the grocery store. You'll look at life a little more sarcastically... Not that I needed any help with that.

Read March 29, 2010 to April 6, 2010

4/5 stars

-- C

P.S. Still no review of Pygmy, Derrick? Slacker.

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