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Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames Audiobook

January 9, 2009


When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris is his latest book of short stories.  Most of these stories center around his life with his boyfriend, Hugh, but some don’t.  I’d heard Monster Mash before because it’s also on Holidays On Ice.  Most of the stories are humorous and some are hilarious.

Carl and I roared with laughter as we listened to In The Waiting Room.  In it, Sedaris tells about quitting French classes (he was living in France) and just using d’accord (roughly translates as okay) as his all-purpose answer and the troubles it got him into.  Since we lived in France for two years, we could really relate to this story.

There is lots of adult language and crude humor in these stories.  Town and Country in particular, but I will admit to chuckling as I listened to it.  Just keep in mind that these stories aren’t for children or those who are easily offended.

Like any collection of short stories, some of these are better than others.  Overall, I enjoyed them.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2009 8:13 am

    I loved listening to this book. The story that sticks in my mind was when he and Hugh are at the zoo. I was laughing so hard I was crying, which was not so good, since I was also driving at the time. Or trying to. 🙂


  2. January 9, 2009 8:21 am

    I really like Holiday on Ice, but I haven’t picked up a copy of this one yet. I don’t usually like collections of short stories, but Sedaris is the exception!

    BTW—I, too, thought Beat the Reaper would make a great movie. I’m hoping they toned down the gore a bit. I don’t mind reading it, but for some reason, I don’t like watching it at all. Sort of like horror genre books, usually like them fine, and you couldn’t pay me to see the films. Go figure….

  3. January 9, 2009 8:33 am

    I’ve never listened to Sedaris on audio, but I’d love to. I saw him speak last fall, and it was great. When You Are Engulfed is far from my favorite of his collections, but I did really love “April in Paris” about his obsession with the spiders around their cottage. Classic.

  4. January 9, 2009 8:53 am

    I have no clue why I haven’t yet listened to a Sedaris book. I love humor and I love audio. I’m going to have to remedy this in 2009. This is the second of his audios you’ve recommended lately. I’m getting the picture!

    Congrats on your award from J. Kaye. It really means a lot, especially coming from her.

  5. January 9, 2009 9:20 am

    I love David Sedaris. And adult language and crude humor are two of my favorite things. I’ll have to pick this one up.

  6. January 9, 2009 9:38 am

    I love David Sedaris, but alas, I’m a conservative closet NPR listener. I don’t enjoy bad language because it’s a crutch and actually distracts from intelligent humor, but he is terribly witty. My favorite essay is one he did about sitting in a movie theater with his sister.

  7. January 9, 2009 9:40 am

    I read the book and liked it.

  8. January 9, 2009 10:33 am

    Thanks for the review. I love his audiobooks!

  9. January 9, 2009 10:40 am

    this sounds like an audiobook for me!

  10. January 9, 2009 11:45 am

    I might borrow this from the library- I read the hardcover when it came out- I’m a huge DS fan- and this sounds like fun. Thanks for the review! 🙂

  11. January 9, 2009 12:06 pm

    I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this one–glad you got a few chuckles out of it!

  12. January 9, 2009 2:12 pm

    I’ve never ready anything by this author, but I’ve heard great things about his writing. I’ll have to check him out. Great review.

  13. January 9, 2009 3:01 pm

    When I read this book a month or so ago, I thought the waiting room story was the funniest too. I also liked the one about being seated on a plane next to someone that irritates the heck out of you. (He accidentally coughs out an lozenge and it ends up on her while she is dozing.)

  14. January 9, 2009 3:44 pm

    The first time I saw this book was on a plane – the lady next to me was reading it. I don’t know if it would be something I’d like, but I might pick it up from the library just to read the story about France.

  15. January 9, 2009 3:47 pm

    What part of France did you live in? This would probably be a good audiobook for me too…I have a short attention span when it comes to audio unfortunately!

  16. January 9, 2009 4:06 pm

    Sounds like this will be good for some New Years chuckles. It is always a fun review to read when the person writing it is laughing out loud. 🙂

  17. January 9, 2009 4:16 pm

    I just finished listening to this audiobook and had such a good time. I haven’t posted my reveiw yet. I think listening to him read made it all the better because his delivery is so funny in addition to the text. I keep thinking of lines from different stories and laughing at inappropriate times like during the “corpse pose” in my yoga class. My family and coworkers probably think I’m losing my mind.

  18. January 9, 2009 4:39 pm

    I saw this at the used bookstore yesterday, but didn’t pick it up. Now I’m regretting it. Hmmmm. Maybe a return trip is in order?

    Thanks for the review, Kathy!

  19. January 9, 2009 5:12 pm

    I’ve not read any of DS books and I should give them a try sometime. Listening to them on audiobooks may be more fun.

  20. January 9, 2009 5:20 pm

    Hmmm…now this sounds interesting. I do tend to have a sick sense of humor at times. I may have to look into this one.

  21. January 9, 2009 9:03 pm

    Wow, after reading all these reviews, I have to go and get one of his books. I haven’t tried listening to an audio book yet.
    Thanks for all reviews.

  22. January 10, 2009 5:26 am

    I am so looking forward to reading (or listening to!) this. I just love his sense of humour.

  23. January 10, 2009 7:35 am

    I don’t usually enjoy audiobooks. I can’t concentrate on them. But maybe I should try a humor one. Sounds fun!

  24. January 10, 2009 8:12 am

    I have to check this author out. I keep hearing about him for years and I don’t know why I have this idea that he is a romance writer….but that is what I have thought from the first time I saw his name, even though reviews and talks clearly shows that he is not. But that is still the first thing I think when I see his name: Oh, there goes that romance-writer again…LOL. Funny how the mind works….is there a romance author with a similar name?

  25. January 10, 2009 10:25 am

    I really like David Sedaris. He came to my city for a book signing last fall. The line-up was incredible but well worth the wait. I got ‘When You Are Engulfed in Flames’ signed, but haven’t read it yet so am happy to see it’s getting good reviews.

  26. January 10, 2009 1:58 pm

    Very glad you enjoyed this one. I love reading all of his books, but I like listening to them on audio, too. I haven’t gotten to this one on audio yet, but I’m sure I will.

  27. January 10, 2009 4:10 pm

    I read Holidays on Ice last month and thought that parts of it were absolutely hilarious. I would love to listen to an audio, he probably makes it even better live.

  28. January 10, 2009 6:32 pm

    So glad to hear you enjoyed this! I am convinced that I need to listen to some Sedaris audio – I think it would be a blast.

  29. January 10, 2009 9:40 pm

    Crude humor? My kind of author!

  30. January 10, 2009 10:04 pm

    Kathy, did you like this as much as Holidays on Ice?

  31. January 12, 2009 11:28 am

    This does sound funny! I really need to try this author.

  32. Chelsea permalink
    January 12, 2009 12:50 pm

    Although I’ve never heard this book in audio format, I did attract quite a few disapproving glances from fellow shoppers at Borders while I was glancing through this hilarious collection! I’ve always loved the Sedaris clan, and this book was just another reason why!

  33. January 13, 2009 10:33 pm

    I’ve heard mixed reviews about this but most people have said it’s one of his best.

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