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When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David…

When You Are Engulfed in Flames (original 2008; edition 2008)

by David Sedaris

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6,519211585 (3.89)205
Title:When You Are Engulfed in Flames
Authors:David Sedaris
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2008), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (2008)

  1. 00
    Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: These two nonfiction books deal with giving up a vice (alcohol and, to a lesser extent, drugs for Burroughs; cigarettes for Sedaris) and both do so with dark humor scattered throughout their memoirs. That being said, Sedaris's work is more funny than serious while the opposite is true for Burroughs's. Also, Sedaris's book is largely short stories/vignettes while Burroughs's follows a more traditional narrative. Both men are homosexual and that plays some factor in their books, although it's not the overarching story and/or theme.… (more)
  2. 00
    Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever by Joel Derfner (echo2)
  3. 00
    Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff (Cynara)

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» See also 205 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
I only read this because it came so highly recommended. After taking a great dislike to his Owls book, I considered not reading this but I saw it still on my list and gave it a try. This was much more enjoyable. At times, some of his writing problems which were ran through Owls reared their heads but then were quickly banished by a decent flow and some rather amusing stories. ( )
  dirac | May 6, 2015 |
this book was my first full exposure to Sedaris’s writing and it immediately reminded me of Jean Shepherd of In God we trust: All others pay cash fame ...but a mean-spirited and snide Jean Shepherd. As Morgoth in Tolkien’s universe created the orcs from the elves through untold millennia of forced evolution and dark breeding practices, so someone created David Sedaris from Jean Shepherd.

Sedaris is the orc version of Jean Shepherd.

Sedaris’s wit is evident in many places but about halfway through i realized that i did not like the man himself and i was beginning to see that much of his humor stemmed from a kind of muted disdain and whining sometimes fully blooming into outright contempt and assholishness.

i have to agree with other reviewers that maybe Mr. Sedaris has lost his orginal impetus for sharing life through writing and become Great and Powerful DAVID SEDARIS, Best-Selling Writer and Overlord of Snark instead of just plain old David Sedaris from New York. in other words, maybe he’s like the sitcoms that change after they become wildly popular, coasting on their laurels, phoning in storylines instead of producing something truly artful. in fact, one reviewer pointed to interviews in which Mr. Sedaris has said that he will now act out in certain situations purposefully to create something he can write about later.

the stories are interesting, mostly, but, in the end, i did not leave the book feeling nice or uplifted or as if i’d learned something. or that i was even satisfied and entertained. i felt snarky and bitter. whereas Mr. Shepherd can turn heartache, melancholy, and middleclass ennui into pure tongue-in-cheek joy, Sedaris just belittles it and snickers as he walks away. just like an orc. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
The first few essays fit my general view of Sedaris, humorous observation often with an edge, and often at the expense of his family or partner, but with the piece "That's Amore" about a neighbor in New York, an ill-tempered harpy of a woman, the tone shifts. The essays (mostly) slow down and become less humorous and more thoughtful. Sedaris admits a preoccupation with mortality, not unexpected given the title, approaching it the way you approach the Atlantic ocean on a northern beach on a windy day, a toe in here and there. Several of the essays, including 'That's Amore" were moving. One, "The Man in the Hut" was about a man who was shunned (for good reason) in his neighborhood in the Normandy, again a strange and unpleasant person and yet, so lonely. Another is about sitting beside a man on a plane, a man who cries hopelessly the entire way across the Atlantic, aptly named "Crybaby". Sedaris makes no fun of any of these sad people although he uses some humor to illustrate his own fascination with them -- acknowledging that proper adults turn a blind eye to these kinds of people and avoid them but he can't--and that doesn't make him a better or worse person than anyone else, it is just who he is. The masterpiece is the final essay about giving up smoking, almost long enough to be a novella of a sort. Weeks can pass by here in Vermont without seeing anyone with a cigarette, so I think of cigarettes mostly as a thing of the past, but Sedaris smoked into his forties even though his mother died of lung cancer. He quit on a trip to Japan and kept a journal of that three month long time. Perhaps Sedaris is growing up at long last. A good thing, because he sure can write well. **** ( )
1 vote sibyx | Feb 3, 2015 |
More adventures of David and Hugh! Hugh is my favorite--the man must be a saint. I find myself waffling between love and hate for David. He is a terrible person, but then he says something that hits so close to home that I find myself laughing out loud because it's so relatable.

Lots of funny vignettes in this one. I think my favorites were the airplane lady, his parents' art collection, and his landlady, Helen, but they all gave me a chuckle. Typical Sedaris fare--give it a read. ( )
  GovMarley | Oct 7, 2014 |
This was just what I was looking for. The book cracked me up on page 3 and I was laughing intermittently through the whole thing. Why have I never read any Sedaris before? His descriptions of everyday incidents and inner musings on them are simply hilarious. Yes, sometimes they made me cringe, and after reading his description of cadavers I am not at all sure I want to dive into Mary Roach's Stiff (been on my list for ages) but I certainly got my giggles again. This book doesn't have a plot, it's just a collection of little snippets from his life. Sometimes the segues surprised me, but they always wrap around again at the end of each chapter in a satisfying way. He goes into things like emnities with neighbors, awkward seating situations on airline flights, feeding a spider on his windowsill, buying a skeleton for his boyfriend, watching nature documentaries, the reactions people have when they learn he's gay, visiting Japan, taking language classes, attempts to quit smoking and so much more.

I don't really know what to say other than: do you need something amusing? Read Sedaris.

from the DogEar Diary ( )
  jeane | Sep 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Sedarisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Colombo, MatteoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deggerich, GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richard, NicolasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sedaris, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316143472, Hardcover)

"David Sedaris's ability to transform the mortification of everyday life into wildly entertaining art," (The Christian Science Monitor) is elevated to wilder and more entertaining heights than ever in this remarkable new book.
Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina. In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life-having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds-to the most deeply resonant human truths. Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing from "a writer worth treasuring" (Seattle Times).

Praise for When You Are Engulfed in Flames:

"Older, wiser, smarter and meaner, Sedaris...defies the odds once again by delivering an intelligent take on the banalities of an absurd life." --Kirkus Reviews

This latest collection proves that not only does Sedaris still have it, but he's also getting better....Sedaris's best stuff will still--after all this time--move, surprise, and entertain." --Booklist

Table of Contents:

It's Catching
Keeping Up
The Understudy
This Old House
Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?
Road Trips
What I Learned
That's Amore
The Monster Mash
In the Waiting Room
Solutions to Saturday's Puzzle
Adult Figures Charging Toward a Concrete Toadstool
Memento Mori
All the Beauty You Will Ever Need
Town and Country
The Man in the Hut
Of Mice and Men
April in Paris
Old Faithful
The Smoking Section

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A collection of essays celebrates the foibles of the author's everyday life in France and America, from an attempt to make coffee with water from a flower vase to a drug purchase in a North Carolina mobile home.

(summary from another edition)

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