Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The first time I picked up a David Sedaris book, one of the essays made me laugh so hard I was literally crying. While his new book, When You Are Engulfed In Flames, did not move me to quite such a level of hilarity, it frequently made me laugh out loud (it helped to try and conjure up his nasal delivery in my mind as I read). The essays in this latest work deal with his life in France ("In the waiting room" was my favorite), memories of his parents - always good for a laugh - and his unique method of quitting smoking, which involves moving to Japan. You can get a very good idea of the type of persona Sedaris projects in his book when you hear that his reason for giving up cigarettes had nothing to do with health, economics, or because of his mother's death from lung cancer. Instead, he sacrifices his constant habit because only seedy hotels allow smoking anymore and recent success with lecture tours has spoiled him with 4-star hotels (I've always avoided upgrading to first class on airlines - even when it's free - because I'll never be able to confine myself into the sweaty coach section again).
Personally, I did not really enjoy his last book (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim), so it was wonderful to see Sedaris return to his old form. If you enjoy his appearances on NPR and This American Life, you should definitely pick up his new book. And rest assured, we will be getting it in audio format, since Sedaris' delivery is half the fun.

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