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4 Burnside Humor- Narrative

The Areas of My Expertise

by

The Areas of My Expertise Cover

 

Staff Pick

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?
Recommended by Dave, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the great tradition of the American almanac, The Areas of My Expertise is a brilliant and hilarious compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom on all topics large and small. Although bestsellers such as Poor Richard's Almanack and The Book of Lists were certainly valuable, they also were largely true. Here is a different kind of handy desk reference, one in which all of the historical oddities and amazing true facts are sifted through the singular, illuminating imagination of John Hodgman — which is the nice way of saying: He made it all up. John Hodgman brings his considerable expertise to bear in answering all of the questions book buyers have been asking:
  • What are the mottoes of the 51 United States? THE ANSWER IS PROVIDED
  • Who were the U.S. presidents who had hooks for hands? THE ANSWER IS PROVIDED
  • What role does the Yale secret society "Skull and Bones" play in the secret world government? THERE IS NO SECRET WORLD GOVERNMENT
  • What was the menu at the first Thanksgiving, and did it include eels? Technically, that is two questions, but do not apologize, for John Hodgman shall answer them both... LATER.
  • Aside from a compendium of fake trivia, what is the best kind of book to write? A SIMPLE TABLE OF THE 55 MOST DRAMATIC LITERARY SITUATIONS PROVIDES THE ANSWER, and John Hodgman is the author of that table.
Imagine if The Book of Lists had been rewritten by Peter Cook and Jorge Luis Borges under the pseudonym of "John Hodgman" and then renamed The Areas of My Expertise, and you will only begin to have a sense of the dizzying, uproarious, sublimely weird, and strangely wise journey that is contained within this book (along with all the pages and words).

Perfect for anyone who thirsts for knowledge, and especially for collectors of books of fake trivia, The Areas of My Expertise offers through absurdity a better understanding of the world we share — and recognizes that while the truth may be stranger than fiction, it is never as strange as lies... or as true.

Review:

"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.)

Review:

"One of the funniest and most entertaining books to play on readers' imaginations in recent memory. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

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.

Watch a QuickTime trailer for this book.

About the Author

John Hodgman lives in New York City, where he curates and hosts "The Little Gray Book Lectures," a monthly colloquium of readings, songs, and dubious scholarship. He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and a frequent voice on public radio's This American Life. Further fiction, nonfiction, and genres in between have appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeney?s, One-Story, and the Believer. He has performed at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, as well as on the great stages of Chicago, Philadelphia, and London?s Barbican.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(28 of 62 readers found this comment helpful)
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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(37 of 77 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594482229
Author:
Hodgman, John
Publisher:
Riverhead Books
Author:
Buchholz, Matthew
Subject:
General
Subject:
Form - Essays
Subject:
American wit and humor
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Humor
Subject:
Humor-Anthologies
Subject:
HUMOR / Parodies
Subject:
Parodies
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20060931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.27x5.54x.55 in. .45 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Excess Culture » Humor
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Anthologies
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Narrative
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Parodies
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Areas of My Expertise Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781594482229 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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 , "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.)
"Review" by , "One of the funniest and most entertaining books to play on readers' imaginations in recent memory. Highly recommended."
"Synopsis" by ,
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.
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

Watch a QuickTime trailer for this book.

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