I am in love with The Daily Show, so when I saw that one of their "reporters" wrote a book, I had to read it. I like Hodgman's presentation on the show, so I decided to listen to the audio version of the book. This was a mistake. Hodgman works well as the straight man, but he needs someone to play against, to mirror his over-the-top button-down appearance. This is lacking in his book. The idea is very clever-present all the information one could ever need, regardless of whether or not it's true. It's Wikipedia with a better editor, I thought. However, it wasn't funny at all. The oral presentation of the tables, guest readers, and other gimmicks throughout were simply annoying. I'm not sure if the print version is any better and I am loathe to check it out to find out.
Indeed I will. John Hodgman and Jonathan Coultan (his troubadour) make this recording a delight through their glib repartee. I am also attracted by their occasional use of profanity.
I haven't read or listened to another book quite like this one. It was certainly set apart from others in that the author spoke only lies and halftruths but spoke directly to the listener.
The rendition of the Hobo documentary ala Kenneth Burns. The "Johnny Comes Marching Home" in the background made that scene.
Indeed. Unfortunately life interrupted and I was unable, so I settled for listening to the last 45 seconds the next day...
Note that this version of the book is read by the author John Hodgman with help from Jonathan Coulton. JH and JC banter throughout the book, for example instead of reading the tables on omens and portents cell by cell, JH asks JC what he saw the previous day, and JC attempts to bargain away Ragnarok by changing his story. Even if some of the content is removed from this version (while reading the Table of Contents JH says that he couldn't get the rights to discussing squirrel foot deformities), it is more than made up for by their interaction and JC's musical interludes.
I'm really curious to read the print version as well to compare them better; I expect it will be a very different experience.
Nails the attitude of the book, a good performer
It's funny, but the humor is humor of the absurd, and the book is just the same type of absurd made up facts over and over. Yes, it's clever, but it's too repetitious. You have your fill of it after 15 minutes.
Unfortunately the comedy of this book was as bad at some of the worst SNL sketches where you know they are making fun of something but you have no idea what that is.
The whole premise of the material was based on making up stuff as if it was real, but CLEARLY is not. May have been ok if it was funny, but I didn't find it to be the case.
This was the first comedy book I read, just because I hear from some people that it was funny. I have never been interested in comedy book, I like hard science fiction.
While John may have been overacting I really disliked his All knowing persona and grandiosity.
Both anger and disappointment. Anger that I wasted a credit on this book and Disappointment with the whole comedy book category.
Again I have no experience with humor in books, this may be the exception but if this are what most humor books are like, I'll just have to avoid them.
...I didn't really enjoy this book. I knew that it was made up facts but I had a hard time listening to it. Apparently I need more of a story. A lot of people love this book, I guess I just am not one of them.
This is a book on various subjects and is entertaining in the extreme! I love John Hodgman and his humor so I was completely captivated. If you're not a Hodgman fan because you aren't familiar with his work - this should bring you into the fold. It's a book about everything and told with the straight-man's comedic timing and point-of-view.
I listen to the Judge John Hodgman podcast and I love the man's work. I find him to be clear-cutting and rational when judging silly questions, its pretty hilarious. So I had no doubt that his book offered the same type of judgmental personal insights. But I was mostly disappointed as the content offered nothing more than an accumulation of over the top randomness. I just didn't make me laugh.
Hodgman's skill at creating and describing a delightfully ridiculous version of reality never fails to please. His mock serious narration of the "facts," together with Jonathan Coulton's occasional interjection, makes for a delightful listen. Because fully appreciating Hodgman's humor requires attention and because listening to both this book and "More Information Than you Require" were both such treats, I only would allow myself 20-30 minutes at a stretch, prolonging my enjoyment as much as possible. Alas, all good things must end, so I now must be satisfied with his wickedly funny (and actually quite wise) "Judge John Hodgman" podcast while I await his next opus--surely he has further revelations for those of us who require even more!
I really like John Hodgman and I ignored all the negative comments here because of the many glowing reviews by Leo Laporte and others on the TWiT network. Unfortunately, the negative comments are all right. This book is boring, and not funny. When someone like Bill Bryson finds genuinely odd facts and stories it's fascinating and very funny. When you just make up random strange stuff it's not interesting. The whole book feels somehow belabored and strained, as though someone is trying terribly hard to be funny. I really really really wanted to like it but I just couldn't