When You Are Engulfed in Flames

“A zoo is a good place to make a spectacle of yourself, as the people have creepier, more photographic things to look at” (16).

Since reading Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris, I knew that his new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, would bring more of his intoxicating humor, eccentric lifestyle, and deeply entrenched dysfunctional family to the page.  Thus, perfect summer reading!

Sedaris takes us from his obsession with Virginia depression-era living, which appalled his father, to his $20,000 quit smoking plan.  When he isn’t obsessing about the Tegenaria April, he is busy searching markets for the perfect human skeleton for his boyfriend Hugh’s birthday.  How far will D’accord get you France?  “A pig’s nose standing erect on a bed of tender greens” (118).  What does one do about the New York cabbie who informs Sedaris that it is inappropriate to lie about such things as flaming mice burning down a house, as reported by a newspaper, though the cabbie insists he was in India and it was 150 degrees.  (Sedaris notes that when he wrote this book, the hottest day documented was not in India, but in Libya at 136 degrees in 1922, which was years before the cabbie was born.) (203)

There is a bit for everyone in this Sedaris book.  Whether you are into feeding spiders, smoking some pot, or just wanting to lounge around and enjoy some rather strange artistic elements, this book is for you.  So … go home and grab some news articles for conversation with your sweetheart if you don’t want to end up like the older couple next to you who have been married for years and have nothing to say.  No newspaper available?  Then When You are Engulfed with Flames will be a great conversation starter!

You can find When You are Engulfed in Flames (PS 3569 .E314 R47 2008), and these other Sedaris books at the BSC Library. 

  • Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim  (PS 3569 .E314 R47 2005)                     
  •  Me Talk Pretty One Day   (PS3569.E314 M4 2000)
  • Je Parler Français  (PS3569.E314 M414 2000)
  • Holidays on Ice   (PS3569.E314 H65 1998b)
  • The Santaland Diaries; and, Season’s Greetings  (PS3569.E314 S35 1998
  • Naked   (PS3569.E314 Z469b 1997)
  • Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays (PS3569.E314 B3 1994)

By Johanna McClay Bjork, Reference Librarian

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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