Book Review: Two John Hodgman Books

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Good evening! I’m getting close to caught up with my book reviews for this year’s Sitzbook project. I actually don’t think I’ll have too much to say about these two books, but I did want to at least mention them.

Even if you’ve not read anything by John Hodgman, there’s a chance you’ve seen him. I knew him from an episode of “Flight of the Conchords” and some episodes of the “Daily Show” where he was the “Resident Expert.” And I guess he was also in some Apple commercials a few years, but I never saw any of them. In any case, you can see him in the cover picture above.

I read both these books since neither was over 500 pages, but I had read the first in the series of three last year, and I wanted to finish them. Together they passed this year’s 500 page minimum so I was set. The second, aka More, is short for More Information Than You Require, and the third, aka All, is short for That Is All.

These books almost have to be read to be understood or even believed. Basically, they’re like almanacs, but with completely made-up information. That’s pretty staggering that Hodgman could come up with over a thousand pages of bizarre, entertaining “facts,” let alone facts that he invented. As my brother said after looking at it a bit, it can be a bit intense, but I thought it was worth the read. The first one is more like a traditional farmers’ almanac (or at least that’s what I assume, since I’ve never read one), but the second and third ones go in a bit different direction. The third was definitely my favorite, as the undertone throughout the whole book is a countdown to the apocalypse (or Ragnarok, as Hodgman prefers to call it).

Each book has strange lists, charts, and other tidbits. For example, the second one had 700 “mole-man” names, and the third has names and hilarious descriptions of 700 of the “Ancient and Unspeakable Ones,” the beasts which will come for Ragnarok. Yes, 700. This guy is good. I also liked other sections with titles like “Nine US Presidents Who Had Hooks For Hands,” complete with descriptions of all their hooks. You just can’t make this stuff up… and by “you,” I mean “everyone but John Hodgman.”

I got the three as a boxed set, but if you get them separately, I’d suggest getting the first and third, at least. The second was also good, but if you’re on a money or time budget, read the others first.

Thanks for reading!

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