Archive for 2009/08

More Information Than You Require - 2:42AM, 2009/08/30

The Plot
John Hodgman continues his neverending quest to provide the world with all possible bits of information, an effort begun in his first book, Areas of My Expertise. In More Information Than You Require we learn the secrets of the presidents, the secrets of the mole-men, and the sad history of the weather in Richmond, VA.

My Thoughts
I can no longer remember precisely how John Hodgman came to my attention. I have to assume that it was during his first appearance on the Daily Show and yet I did not read his first book until September 2006, so I think it cannot have been. I do know that before I knew he was he, I had heard him on This American Life and enjoyed some of his tales.

In any case, I have been a fan for several years, though I cannot claim the distinction of having discovered him when he was not yet a Minor Television Personality.

Hodgman’s humor can be very dry at times, and some times becomes a little to surrealist for me to find it very funny. On the other hand, sometimes he’ll come out with something so freaking clever that you can’t believe it. Overall, there’s a good baseline amusement factor here, periodically interrupted by some excellent stuff.

And now, in honor of the book, the list of thoughts I compiled as I read:

  1. First, the hoboes; second, the mole-men; third, ???. I spent some time considering this important question and can only speculate as to the answer. Perhaps a race of creatures living in the air? Futuristic aliens?
  2. While I found the list of mole-men generally more interesting than the prior book’s list of hoboes (why YES I did read EVERY SINGLE ONE), there were a number of the names which confused me. I am interested to see if anyone else had the same question I did.
  3. Rap-Around. Ah, Rap-Around. If Hodgman was truly on this show, I now regret having missed it. Because, of course, I grew up in range of the Boston stations, and I remember this show well. Or, rather, I remember the ads for this show well, along with the opening. I seem to remember it coming on around noontime on a Saturday, signalling the disappointing end of morning cartoons and the beginning of an afternoon of televised sporting events. These would begin with the channel being changed from Rap-Around to Candlepin bowling.
  4. The story about him and his girlfriend in Portugal is very sweet. I’m afraid I have nothing witty to say about it, but I wanted to mention it anyway.
  5. All through the book Hodgman does a truly excellent job conveying his (I believe) genuine bemusement at his sudden celebrity. The story of his visit to the Apple store was truly priceless; I can completely picture the scene and I laugh every time I do.

In Short
Anyone who read Hodgman’s first book and enjoyed it will certainly feel the same about this one — as the page numbers indicate, it is a literal continuation and he is in good form here. For me, this one was even better than the first, because I am a nosy twit and I enjoyed the more personal sections this book contained. I’m looking forward to the third volume at which point all useful knowledge will have been recorded and we can pitch the whole reference section of the library to replace it with endless copies of these three books. That is all.