This was a fine audiobook. Not as funny or touching as Tina Fey's Bossypants, but nice company while I was working around the house.
It was a pleasure to hear the author tell his own tales - it definitely adds atmosphere to hear it in his own voice, like sitting at a bar listening to stories of his youth.
Nick Offerman is not Ron Swanson.
The book includes stories of Offerman's childhood on a farm in Illinois which were sweet and charming to hear. He also talks about his time in drama school and early days on stage, as well as moving to LA.
Offerman is primarily an actor who performs works written by others, so his book isn't as polished or tight as one written by someone who is primarily a writer. I'm not sure, for example, why a chapter about his thoughts on religion and politics was included. It wasn't very groundbreaking or particularly insightful, nor was it what I was wanting. This book is only tangentially "a guide to delicious living." It's mostly "a guide to how Nick Offerman has spent his delicious life."
Offerman seems to have a positive and grateful outlook on life, which colors all of the memories and anecdotes he shares and makes listening to the book a good experience. When I started listening, Offerman and his Parks and Recreation character, Ron Swanson, was linked firmly in my mind, but by the end I heard him as an artist who is currently on TV.
The format of 48 half-hour lectures is very accessible and Professor Garland is an excellent speaker. The diversity of topics and focus (mostly) on the life of the masses was interesting and unique, for example, thinking about the houses and food for the builders of the pyramids gave me new insight to Egyptian history.
Egypt, Greece, Rome, Celtic and Norse England are covered in depth with other areas of the world also receiving attention. Topics include "Being an Egyptian Worker." "Being a Greek Woman." Religious groups are spoken of as well.
Sometimes Prof. Garland got a bit judgmental - he didn't seem to attempt a straight relation of facts. This happened mostly with snide comments or condemnation of slavery or the subjugation of women. I found these comments distracting and unnecessary (I don't need a PhD to tell me these things are morally wrong). Perhaps Prof. Garland was uncomfortable sharing this information? It really brought down the level of the lecture from what I would consider a "great course" to a rather common pop-history.
I did mostly enjoy these lectures. There were enough references to historical events to keep me grounded and relate back to things I've already learned about but the themes around how these events affected common people kept the series interesting.
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