Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Books 2009 -- #5-6

When You Are Engulfed in Flames #5. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This latest book by David Sedaris seemed different to me than his previous volumes. He quit smoking and drinking, for one thing, and there is some great humor about that process -- the last, very long essay about quitting smoking was my favorite in the book. There seems to be more awareness of his own mortality, more subtlety in his humor, and -- dare I say it? -- increased maturity, perhaps? I enjoyed the references to his long-term relationship with Hugh, which always made me laugh. Sedaris' brand of quirky, observational humor is right up my alley. The only way I could enjoy it more would be if there were less vulgarity.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

rating: 2 of 5 stars
My rating on this one would probably be about 1 1/2 stars.

I was expecting to love this book, since it is a Pulitzer prizewinner. I really wanted to love this book. Sadly, I didn't. I put it down halfway through because I just couldn't take the preponderance of vulgar language. (Not finishing a book is extremely rare for me.)

Ultimately, I didn't want those words and images in my mind. A great writer, to me, uses language in beautiful ways that make me want to savor the words -- language that elevates -- needless to say, this fell far short of the mark.

View all my reviews.

(I discovered today that GoodReads has a simple way to import my books and reviews to my blog -- that should make it easier to have a record of my books here. Cool.)


Jill said...

I hate it when I have to stop reading a book, but I know what you mean about not wanting those words and images in your mind.

I've never read any of David Sedaris' books, but I've listened to him a lot of NPR.

Alison said...

I also read "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" this year and loved it!

Bonnie said...

I really like David Sedaris but haven't read the latest. Thanks for the review! I downloaded a live concert he did at Carnegie Hall for a long walk one day. I had to stop walking to laugh. My sides hurt so much.

But I agree - less vulgarity please - then I can recommend it to my mom :)

shannon said...

Good to know...I won't put that one on my list of "to reads"--

Susan said...

I have decided that reading,especially to the extent that you do, adds greatly to the interesting person you are.

Someday, I need to take more time for pleasure reading. I know I will enjoy it.

Good idea recording your reviews on Good Reads. I can always refer to it! Thanks.

Natasha said...

I am a fan of Good Reads too, thanks to Jill or whoever it was that introduced me. When I reveiwed our property tax bill recently and saw that we pay $106 per year for the public library - whether we use it or not - I felt okay about it because we use the heck out of our public library!
Glad you found Hoop's blog! I knew that sooner or later I could get Kim to start blogging and the fertility issues seemed a good way for her to start!

Claudissima said...

oh my....I have not gone to the library but once...I don't read enough to comment, I often feel like commenting on a movie that I see, but this sounds interesting...and I will probably visit the site to get a feel for it.

Claudissima said...

Oh my goodness, I just went to the link and it is fabulous! I have a friend reading that book too, and I told her, you know, MY NAME is really ancient, and she said MINE TOO! you guessed it? was Esther...jejejjejejej! so much for two ancient people's names.

Amy said...

I appreciate book reviews, but am usually too impatient to sit & write them when I finish a book.

rmt said...

Great reviews! I enjoy David Sedarias as well. I definitely agree about the vulgarity.

I have never read the second book. I'm sorry that you were disappointed.

Hannah said...

I wish I was better at reviewing books. I LOVE to read reviews but don't feel like I can summarize a book very well.

I hate when a book or movie makes me want to put it down or walk out. Good for you!

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