When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

While I was aware of the titles of David Sedaris’ books before (they just kind of jump out at you when you’re browsing in the bookstore), I have to admit I’d never really jumped on the bandwagon before now.   For some reason, it seemed that everyone was buzzing about this book when it came out and that generated some curiosity.  Then, one day while browsing the free audio book downloads at my local libary, I saw the book had just been returned and decided to give it a chance.

Listening to this series of essays, I have to wonder if the experience might not be different from reading them in printed form.  The collection is a mixture of Sedaris reading them in a “studio” as it were and to an audience.  I have to admit the ones that Sedaris reads or performs to an audience worked a lot better and were a lot more memorable.  One story in particular about Sedaris’ encounter with a couple who was dressed nicely but had potty mouths was particularily intriguing.

Sedaris writes with a sarcastic wit, which I think comes across better when you hear the stories read aloud.  There are some writers who just work better when you can hear them tell their stories as opposed to reading them.  (Garrison Keillor is an example for me).  The stories all range from short, quick essays to a longer two-disc length story on Sedaris’ attempts to quit smoking. 

With this being my first exposure to Sedaris, I will admit I enjoyed what I read/heard enough to want to seek out his previous works and see what I’ve been missing.

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