nemo, November 6, 2008 (view all comments by nemo)
If you've seen Hodgman on the Daily Show, you'll love this book. Hodgman's incredibly funny deadpan style is in fine form here---you can almost hear his voice as you read. If you've ever wanted to know about America's Hobo Wars, who invented shame, or the fifty basic narrative situations, this is the book for you.
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Shoshana, June 17, 2008 (view all comments by Shoshana)
While Hodgman ostensibly creates a humorous almanac (in the historical tradition), his entries and helpful footnotes also build a world of hobos, portents, and conspiracies. A pleasing read for anyone, but especially for people who read reference books for pleasure.
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Which state is known for its mustaches? How much should you tip a lullaby singer? Hodgman is a genius. Who knew that complete world knowledge could be so hysterically funny?
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In this super-literate, ultimately exhausting exercise in literary parody, New York Times magazine contributor Hodgman has produced 'a compendium of COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE.' From sections titled 'What Will Happen in the Future' to 'What You Did Not Know About Hobos,' he piles up smart-alecky nonsense in layer upon layer of surreal, wholly fictional factoids. Whether highlighting American presidents who had hooks for hands, or sketching out the mythical secrets of Yale University, Hodgman creates a strange and intermittently hilarious parallel universe where lists of history's worst haircuts (in addition to the Mullet, there are the Scrape, the Scab and the Shag-Swoop) are printed alongside descriptions of 'famous novels that were not originally published as books.' Sprinkled throughout with breathless 'factual' interjections — 'Were you aware of it? The body of Thomas Edison was never buried. Instead it was displayed for many decades in a traveling carnival.... DOES IT EVEN SEEM POSSIBLE?' — this 'almanac' demonstrates Hodgman's formidable imagination, if not his ability to amuse consistently. The individual passages are funny but get lost in an already overstuffed work. For the hyper-well-read fans of publications like McSweeney's, this is a treasure trove of twisted absurdist miscellany. For others, however, it may just be too much of a good thing. Agent, Kassie Evashevski. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Library Journal,
"One of the funniest and most entertaining books to play on readers' imaginations in recent memory. Highly recommended."
This remarkable collection of maps, photographs, engravings and paintings from the early ages to modern day provides a stunning new look at the world as defined by our struggles and alliances with the monsters and supernatural creatures that have defined our existence. Learn how a mechanical man helped write Americas Declaration of Independence. Track the course of the Living Dead virus from Africa to Europe and on to the New World. View artifacts from our uneasy alliance with the Martian race, or simply delight in the vibrant colors and illustrations from a bygone age. More than 100 full-color images and insightful essays make this book an essential addition to the libraries of dedicated historians as well as casual fans of monsters and mayhem.
Hot on the heels of the #1 bestsellers The Onion's Our Dumb Century and Jon Stewart's America comes The Areas of My Expertise, the brilliant and uproarious #15 bestseller (i.e., a runaway phenomenon in its own right-no, seriously) - a lavish compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom - all of it completely unresearched, completely undocumented and (presumably) completely untrue, fabricated by the illuminating, prodigious imagination of John Hodgman, certifiable genius.
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