If you don't happen to have two vacation homes, it's okay. John Hodgman does, and he'll tell you funny stories about them, which feels almost as good as having two vacation homes. This book exceeded my expectations. Vacationland is Hodgman at his wittiest and most endearing. Recommended By Moses M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
“I love everything about this hilarious book except the font size.” Jon Stewart
Although his career as a bestselling author and on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart was founded on fake news and invented facts, in 2016 that routine didn’t seem as funny to John Hodgman anymore. Everyone is doing it now.
Disarmed of falsehood, he was left only with the awful truth: John Hodgman is an older white male monster with bad facial hair, wandering like a privileged Sasquatch through three wildernesses: the hills of Western Massachusetts where he spent much of his youth; the painful beaches of Maine that want to kill him (and some day will); and the metaphoric haunted forest of middle age that connects them.
Vacationland collects these real life wanderings, and through them you learn of the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, and which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison. There is also some advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.
Though wildly, Hodgmaniacally funny as usual, it is also a poignant and sincere account of one human facing his forties, those years when men in particular must stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weird dads that they are.
“This here yarn has everything you want — laughs, love, death, and the obligatory legume-shaped boat. Hodgman’s wide-eyed sense of place is as irresistible as his playful yet unflinching sense of self.” Sarah Vowell, bestselling author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States
“This book is genuinely it-will-make-you-laugh funny, it is a wistful and sad examination of the impulse that causes us to move to out of the way places and of what John Hodgman found when he went there, and it is always wiser than it seems. If you do not read it, you will be missing out on something special.” Neil Gaiman
“Outside of these pages, you will not find a more tender irony, a gentler wickedness, a more perfect tone, a regard more unflinching and forgiving. At some point, long after I gave up resisting the near-constant impulse to laugh out loud, I came to the realization that with Vacationland, Hodgman has established himself as a memoirist and, unquestionably, a master prose stylist, of rare power and restraint.” Michael Chabon
“Reading the book is a particular pleasure...Hodgman has a gift for capturing the modes and mores of New England in a way that is wry and true.” Los Angeles Times
“An ambitious departure from Hodgman’s previous authorial endeavors. It’s funny, but it’s no joke. The book is a cleverly composed meditation on one privileged American’s life — and, glancingly, on America — at a crucial moment for both.” Chicago Tribune
“Subtle and profound...A strange and very funny book — one that makes comedy out of the anxieties and indignities of middle age.” The Atlantic
“Achingly funny...Sharp, silly, and sensitive, Vacationland is a literary selfie of a concerned citizen storyteller — one in which the oldest slice of the United States does a little inelegant photobombing.” NPR
“I love everything about this hilarious book except the font size...can a fella get a 16 point Helvetica up in this thing.” Jon Stewart
About the Author
John Hodgman lives in New York City and currently hosts the podcast Judge John Hodgman. Previously, Hodgman was a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a frequent voice on public radio’s This American Life. He also frequently appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. His 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. His books include The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That Is All.