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Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms

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A hilarious and honest new book in which John Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Vacationland, sets out to explore the strange work-land of being a somewhat famous person After spending most of his twenties pursuing a career as a literary agent, John Hodgman decided to try his own hand at writing. Following an appearance to promote one of his books on The Dai A hilarious and honest new book in which John Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Vacationland, sets out to explore the strange work-land of being a somewhat famous person After spending most of his twenties pursuing a career as a literary agent, John Hodgman decided to try his own hand at writing. Following an appearance to promote one of his books on The Daily Show, he was invited to return as a contributor, serving as the show's "Resident Expert" and "Deranged Millionaire." This led to an unexpected and, frankly, implausible career in front of the camera. In these pages, Hodgman explores the strangeness of his career, speaking plainly of fame, especially at the weird, marginal level he has enjoyed--not only the surreal excitement of it, but also the drudgery of it, the emptiness of the status it conveys, and the hard moments of losing that status. Through these stories you will learn many things, such as what it's like to be invited to become an honorary member of an Ivy League secret society, only to be hazed and humiliated by the dapper young members of that club. Or how it feels when your TV gig is cancelled and you can console yourself with the fact that all of that travel that made your children feel so sad and abandoned at least left you with a prize: Platinum Medallion Status with your airline. Both unflinchingly funny and deeply heartfelt, Medallion Status is a hilarious, thoughtful examination of status, fame, and identity--about the weird trauma that comes with success that feels unseemly to discuss (because who will sympathize with you?); about the addiction to status that sometimes (always) follows success; and about the way we all deal with those moments in both public and private life when we realize we don't quite have it anymore.


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A hilarious and honest new book in which John Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Vacationland, sets out to explore the strange work-land of being a somewhat famous person After spending most of his twenties pursuing a career as a literary agent, John Hodgman decided to try his own hand at writing. Following an appearance to promote one of his books on The Dai A hilarious and honest new book in which John Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Vacationland, sets out to explore the strange work-land of being a somewhat famous person After spending most of his twenties pursuing a career as a literary agent, John Hodgman decided to try his own hand at writing. Following an appearance to promote one of his books on The Daily Show, he was invited to return as a contributor, serving as the show's "Resident Expert" and "Deranged Millionaire." This led to an unexpected and, frankly, implausible career in front of the camera. In these pages, Hodgman explores the strangeness of his career, speaking plainly of fame, especially at the weird, marginal level he has enjoyed--not only the surreal excitement of it, but also the drudgery of it, the emptiness of the status it conveys, and the hard moments of losing that status. Through these stories you will learn many things, such as what it's like to be invited to become an honorary member of an Ivy League secret society, only to be hazed and humiliated by the dapper young members of that club. Or how it feels when your TV gig is cancelled and you can console yourself with the fact that all of that travel that made your children feel so sad and abandoned at least left you with a prize: Platinum Medallion Status with your airline. Both unflinchingly funny and deeply heartfelt, Medallion Status is a hilarious, thoughtful examination of status, fame, and identity--about the weird trauma that comes with success that feels unseemly to discuss (because who will sympathize with you?); about the addiction to status that sometimes (always) follows success; and about the way we all deal with those moments in both public and private life when we realize we don't quite have it anymore.

30 review for Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    If you're a fan of John Hodgman's humor, this is the book for you. John was a longtime correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the PC in those famous Mac vs. PC ads from around 10 years ago. He's a very wry writer. His "voice" definitely comes through in his writing as well. This book details his adventures after his first book Vacationland was published. It describes his somewhat fall from fame as his popularity as an actor waned. It's a very funny book. I found myself snickering throughout as I rea If you're a fan of John Hodgman's humor, this is the book for you. John was a longtime correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the PC in those famous Mac vs. PC ads from around 10 years ago. He's a very wry writer. His "voice" definitely comes through in his writing as well. This book details his adventures after his first book Vacationland was published. It describes his somewhat fall from fame as his popularity as an actor waned. It's a very funny book. I found myself snickering throughout as I read this over my lunch hour at work. All I can say, is that I'll be first in line for the next one! Received a review copy from Viking and Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Berger

    I want to give this 4.5 because Vacationland (JH's previous book) is a 6 and only five stars are available. But reviews are important and this deserves more than four. But if you haven't read Vacationland (his last book) and think of Hodgman as that guy on TV who wrote the fake facts and history books, run don't walk to read (or listen to!) Vacationland and you'll start thinking of him as an incisive, insightful, moving, and yes funny essayist alongside names like Rakoff and Sedaris and Saunders I want to give this 4.5 because Vacationland (JH's previous book) is a 6 and only five stars are available. But reviews are important and this deserves more than four. But if you haven't read Vacationland (his last book) and think of Hodgman as that guy on TV who wrote the fake facts and history books, run don't walk to read (or listen to!) Vacationland and you'll start thinking of him as an incisive, insightful, moving, and yes funny essayist alongside names like Rakoff and Sedaris and Saunders. You can do this before Medallion Status is even available in stores! (9/10/19) UPDATE 9/30/19: I host a podcast. John H. was the first guest, three years ago, give or take. He will be the 73rd guest, this coming week, circa 10/6 or so, about a week before the book is to officially drop. We talk about Medallion Statuses (Statae?) of all sorts, and much much more. You can find the show wherever you get your pods or at 15minutesjamieberger dot com. Join us, won't you? 10/13: that conversation with JKH is up at https://www.15minutesjamieberger.com/...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark Wheaton

    It would probably be a fun Amazon review of John Hodgman’s well-observed and entertaining as all hell, “Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms” to list out only the many ways the author, here, a sort of Dominick Dunne of Hunted Unease, uses to describe himself as he presumes others see him. “A random person from television that we don’t recognize,” by the parents of a hospitalized child. “This weird bearded withered old man, a dark glimpse into the future of humanity,” by teenaged prom It would probably be a fun Amazon review of John Hodgman’s well-observed and entertaining as all hell, “Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms” to list out only the many ways the author, here, a sort of Dominick Dunne of Hunted Unease, uses to describe himself as he presumes others see him. “A random person from television that we don’t recognize,” by the parents of a hospitalized child. “This weird bearded withered old man, a dark glimpse into the future of humanity,” by teenaged prom attendees. Even a member of “just another rich family who have convinced themselves that wealth makes them virtuous and thus deserving of special treatment,” by those his Disney VIP tour guide just cut him in front of in a line at Disneyland. But if all those things were true, would we delight in reading his adventures? Or is this another hedge against the impostor syndrome the author speaks to later even as he recounts his delight at the mini-perks of Medallion Status level of an unnamed, yet easily Google-able airline? The book promises a look behind the curtain of celebrity and celebrity-adjacent life in cities, hotels, sets, and tony functions around the country, but time and again, rather than sink effortlessly into the world of glitzy artifice, the author seems to have one foot out the door in each instance, already logging the experience to be retold later. Experiences, the book suggests are on the wane. “It’s good to know when you’re no longer on the list,” Hodgman tells us, referring to a guest list at the Chateau Marmont, in a refrain that rings throughout the book. “That time in your life is over,” he says elsewhere, in response to being offered pot by a fellow named Captain Weed. What’s so compelling about the narrative is trying to figure out whether he is trying to convince us or himself of his acceptance of this creeping obsolescence. All to say, the book is as laugh out loud funny—the phrase “jazzbo carny music for lonely boys” instantly the best description for Tom Waits music this Waits fan has ever heard—as it can be utterly, nakedly, emotionally brutal—I had to put the book down for a minute or two after the Petey chapter. You should read it, if only to know why should you ever be in Palm Beach looking for cheap, barely worn suits in the exclusive brand Custer was wearing when he died at Little Bighorn, they’re available to you in rack after rack. Or, well, to get to the final chapter which I read twice and will probably read again as it’s a whole book in and of itself.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nerdette Podcast

    Hodgman managed to write a book all about status and prestige and make it charming as hell. This is so full of humor and heart.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Didi Chanoch

    I think this may be Hodgman's best work to date. Funny, sad, wise, clever, and ultimately deeply moving. It is a collection of pieces that make up a greater whole, a tale of minor fame and what happens after.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shelly Brander

    In my opinion, this is a slight step down from vacation land. However it still made me laugh until I cried at several points

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Think of this as a collection of anecdotes. Hodgman has a dry sense of humor which serves him well in some situations (his adventures such as they are in Hollywood) and less so in others. I read this as a short story collection rather than as a memoir - a collection with a unifying theme of wanting better flyer status. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. I suspect this is more rewarding as an audiobook with Hodgman's distinct voice narrating.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Quinn

    Part travel-log, part memoir, John Hodgman's Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms is sure to be a hit with fans of his previous work, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches. This work focuses primarily on his acting career, with particular attention paid to the people, places, and odd situations he found himself in as a result. Pros: - Hodgman's affable, if self-effacing style returns in, "Medallion Status." While I wouldn't call any of the jokes, "gut busters," this work does provi Part travel-log, part memoir, John Hodgman's Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms is sure to be a hit with fans of his previous work, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches. This work focuses primarily on his acting career, with particular attention paid to the people, places, and odd situations he found himself in as a result. Pros: - Hodgman's affable, if self-effacing style returns in, "Medallion Status." While I wouldn't call any of the jokes, "gut busters," this work does provide a steady stream of laughs. His writing and presentation style reminded me a touch of Andy Rooney in the way that he reflected on his life, fame, and career trajectory. - I can't say any essay hit me as hard emotionally as some of the essays from "Vacationland," but it was still enjoyable to spend a few hours with John Hodgman. - No individual chapter is longer than 45 minutes, and each of the chapters are reasonably self-contained. This means that it is easy to digest the book in smaller bites if you so wish. Cons: - I don't consider it a con, but fans of the current presidential administration will likely not be a fan of a few of the later chapters. - I could see how some may tire of John's self-effacing attitude and the honesty with which he appears to present his neuroses. For me, I found they made him more relatable as an author, and my reaction to said neuroses never rose to the level of frustration that I felt with Marc Maron's Attempting Normal. - (Nitpick) While I understand and respect Hodgman's withholding of the location of his home in Maine and the name's of the town's residents, this same withholding makes less sense to me with regards to the airline referenced in the title of, "Medallion Status." Hodgman himself points out it is just an internet search away and reveals the name at the tail end of the book (spoiler alert: it's Delta). Conclusion: This book is much more focused on Hodgman's career and fame than Vactationland. I appreciate that it can balance the serious, the absurd, and the funny parts of celebrity (and its waning). I applaud Hodgman for his approach to comedy, which includes both a conscience and an awareness of the privilege associated with being a straight, white, wealthy man. Finally, I am excited to see what Hodgman will come out with next. See more reviews at: https://quinnreviewseverything.blogsp...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Miller

    I’m a huge fan of John Hodgman’s podcast, and I was extremely eager to read this book. I love books of humor and books about travel, particularly dull, work-related travel since it’s so much more relatable and so much less enviable than the travel people tend to write about. I was surprised to see how closely Hodgman’s voice on the page mirrored his voice on the podcast and disappointed that it didn’t quite work for me. While there were plenty of laughs, a lot of the humor felt quite I’m a huge fan of John Hodgman’s podcast, and I was extremely eager to read this book. I love books of humor and books about travel, particularly dull, work-related travel since it’s so much more relatable and so much less enviable than the travel people tend to write about. I was surprised to see how closely Hodgman’s voice on the page mirrored his voice on the podcast and disappointed that it didn’t quite work for me. While there were plenty of laughs, a lot of the humor felt quite awkward. Watching improv comedy can be fun, but reading the transcript of an improv sketch? Less so. This was most pronounced in Hodgman’s use of fake dialogue, which was pretty jarring in parts and consistently undercut genuinely humorous situations. These asides work well in audio comedy, where they’re aided by Hodgman’s inflection and a giggling, kindly co-host, but including them here felt like a disservice to the reader. The world is funny enough as it is; why resort to injecting your reimagining of it? Overall, this book was a lot of fun to read and I really appreciated the moments of sincerity and vulnerability, which are plentiful. I already know which essays I’ll think back to, and they’re the ones that have nothing to do with points and everything to do with people. My favorites are: the one about pets, the one about jobs, and and the one about the election. I’m now really looking forward to reading Vacationland, since my impression is that it’s an even more personal and humanistic work.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    John Hodgman, who used to create very funny fake facts in his books, now takes very funny and very real stories from his real life and turns them into beautiful lessons that allow for the expression and experience of a full range of human emotions. The stories in this book, which my first sentence has thus far done a terribly shitty job of describing, center on human matters, familial and professional, that seem surface and/or jokingly narcissistic on the surface, but in fact link through the se John Hodgman, who used to create very funny fake facts in his books, now takes very funny and very real stories from his real life and turns them into beautiful lessons that allow for the expression and experience of a full range of human emotions. The stories in this book, which my first sentence has thus far done a terribly shitty job of describing, center on human matters, familial and professional, that seem surface and/or jokingly narcissistic on the surface, but in fact link through the secret architecture of Hodgman's literary genius to connect at the end in a powerful and very introspective payoff. You will, in these pages, enjoy the White Privilege comedy of John Hodgman, but you will also learn about his thoughts on parenting, his feelings on the 2016 election, the death of his 18 year old cat, and the nude scene contract rider he had to sign. I am not doing this book any more justice in this review than I did for Vacationland (Hodgman's last, and very excellent, book), but I recommend you read this book, especially if you are a man in your mid to late 40's or god help you, 50, like me. It is funny and wise and cutting and kind. That is all.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Austin Gullett

    I've also read Vacationland; they are not comparable in terms of themes, but I found that I resonated with Medallion Status a little more. The title refers to a airline rewards system and the arbitrary joy and feelings of power that one may get from advancing through it. However, John pulls that feeling and seeks it out critically in different parts of his life-- why do things we shouldn't or don't truly care about make us feel important? Why are imaginary strata and statuses so ingrained in (at I've also read Vacationland; they are not comparable in terms of themes, but I found that I resonated with Medallion Status a little more. The title refers to a airline rewards system and the arbitrary joy and feelings of power that one may get from advancing through it. However, John pulls that feeling and seeks it out critically in different parts of his life-- why do things we shouldn't or don't truly care about make us feel important? Why are imaginary strata and statuses so ingrained in (at least, American) culture? John expertly explores the different parts to those answers, ranging from the sheer existential terror of drifting without purpose, to our refusal to let go of power (however imagined it may be) for fear of realizing we were never destined for it, to uncomplicated, modern self-inflicted boredom. He does this through the lens of, to paraphrase him, a fading minor celebrity with a modicum of fame who really isn't on TV all that much anymore. It feels like such an apt, hilarious analysis of living in the US.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    Absolutely brilliant audiobook narration. Like Hodgman's "Vacationland" and David Mitchell's "BackStory", there's something especially captivating about a wry, very intelligent, quirky speaker telling their own story. Hodgman gives it his all, and the result is fantastic and, at times, touching. I'm not sure if "Medallion Status" would be anywhere near as enjoyable in print. I've always sort of liked Hodgman more as a person than I've liked his work per se, and "Medallion Status", muc Absolutely brilliant audiobook narration. Like Hodgman's "Vacationland" and David Mitchell's "BackStory", there's something especially captivating about a wry, very intelligent, quirky speaker telling their own story. Hodgman gives it his all, and the result is fantastic and, at times, touching. I'm not sure if "Medallion Status" would be anywhere near as enjoyable in print. I've always sort of liked Hodgman more as a person than I've liked his work per se, and "Medallion Status", much like "Vacationland", feels like the ideal use of his talents–yet everything that came before was kind of necessary to get him to here. I'm not sure if his style and storytelling has evolved much since "Vacationland", but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. The only real misfire, to me, was the Scientology/Trump chapter, since it seems like every writer has a story of feeling dejected after the Trump election. He recounts it in a personal and well-crafted way, but it still felt a bit unnecessary and less original than other pieces of the book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I've been a fan of Mr. Hodgman since he was a regular Resident Expert on the Daily Show. I always felt he was one of my people (nerdy, weirdo GenXers,) and so I've followed his career since. It was a bit melancholic to read this book, to see that slow ebb of fame that rolled out like a tide in his life. It's expressed directly, and through his recounting of the rise and fall of his airline miles status. I'm sure he will be OK, even though he doesn't appear on my television I've been a fan of Mr. Hodgman since he was a regular Resident Expert on the Daily Show. I always felt he was one of my people (nerdy, weirdo GenXers,) and so I've followed his career since. It was a bit melancholic to read this book, to see that slow ebb of fame that rolled out like a tide in his life. It's expressed directly, and through his recounting of the rise and fall of his airline miles status. I'm sure he will be OK, even though he doesn't appear on my television anymore. He is such a good writer, I wish he would take a crack at fiction, some of the more Lovecraftian touches he drips into his nonfiction make me think he'd write a great horror book, and I'd like to see that. So yeah, there are a lot of chuckle worthy moments in this book, a bit of sadness, a lot of embarrassment. I felt a bit of Fremdscham in some parts, like I was seeing *too* much of the semi-famous person. Still, this is a great book and I was delighted. I'm kind of happy to discover I'm not the only one who grew stress bone spurs post election.

  14. 4 out of 5

    C. A.

    If you've read John Hodgman's work before, or if you've seen him at live events, or if you listen to his podcast with Jess Thorn "Judge John Hodgman" where he rules on just about everything, you already know you'll enjoy this latest book of stories. If you've only experienced Hodgman from his guest-starring roles on various TV shows, or his appearances on The Daily Show, or even his long-ago Apple commercials, you should definitely read this. These are the stories behind those stories If you've read John Hodgman's work before, or if you've seen him at live events, or if you listen to his podcast with Jess Thorn "Judge John Hodgman" where he rules on just about everything, you already know you'll enjoy this latest book of stories. If you've only experienced Hodgman from his guest-starring roles on various TV shows, or his appearances on The Daily Show, or even his long-ago Apple commercials, you should definitely read this. These are the stories behind those stories, the circumstances of how he got the job, how he lost the job, and what happened in between. But ultimately it's a book about chasing fame (and airline points) and what happens when both start to fade. It is funny, and touching, and insightful, and bizarre. And carrying it publicly might get you a seat upgrade*. *This will probably not happen.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Hodgman is an outstanding writer. He is able to capture humor and pathos in each of his vignettes. This collection of stories was a pleasure to read. My only slight quibble is with his extended Trump rant. My beef is not with his pillorying of the president, those never get old, but with his tone in that chapter. It’s as if he loses self awareness and becomes a self caricature of an elitist New Englander. He pays lip service to civility toward Trump voter but his tone is much more uncharitable t Hodgman is an outstanding writer. He is able to capture humor and pathos in each of his vignettes. This collection of stories was a pleasure to read. My only slight quibble is with his extended Trump rant. My beef is not with his pillorying of the president, those never get old, but with his tone in that chapter. It’s as if he loses self awareness and becomes a self caricature of an elitist New Englander. He pays lip service to civility toward Trump voter but his tone is much more uncharitable than usual warmness and opens mindedness I’ve come to expect from him. While I heartily concur with his sentiments, this sort of attitude toward those with differing views is largely what has led us to this present darkness. Those are a lot of negative words and are really out of proportion. I did enjoy this book and find John Hodgman delightful to read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Georgiadis

    It's always enjoyable to party with George R. R. Martin because a GRRM party is a sit-down party, and that's where I am at now. -p178 Funny, warm stories from John Hodgman. To the uninitiated, John Hodgman is a razor-sharp wit, a clear and incisive writer and humorist, and he is a human being. I love seeing this side of him, where he is sometimes harder and angrier (and even gets a touch political), but more often wistful and loving, especially as these stories relate to his children. He c It's always enjoyable to party with George R. R. Martin because a GRRM party is a sit-down party, and that's where I am at now. -p178 Funny, warm stories from John Hodgman. To the uninitiated, John Hodgman is a razor-sharp wit, a clear and incisive writer and humorist, and he is a human being. I love seeing this side of him, where he is sometimes harder and angrier (and even gets a touch political), but more often wistful and loving, especially as these stories relate to his children. He can articulate the awkward and nonsensical and rough times in life with a simplicity that escapes most of us.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cristina

    Deranged billionaire / internet judge / resident weird dad expert John Hodgman has done it again! Medallion Status is equal parts hilarious and contemplative. So like, be mindful and kind and laugh at absurdity in life but never forget that darkness comes for us all. This collection of essays reads a lot like his last book (Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches) though it focuses more on his career, odd jobs, and dwindling fame. Honestly, I’d listen to him talk about anythin Deranged billionaire / internet judge / resident weird dad expert John Hodgman has done it again! Medallion Status is equal parts hilarious and contemplative. So like, be mindful and kind and laugh at absurdity in life but never forget that darkness comes for us all. This collection of essays reads a lot like his last book (Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches) though it focuses more on his career, odd jobs, and dwindling fame. Honestly, I’d listen to him talk about anything, whether or not it’s been squeezed into a thematically related casing like some sort of literary blood sausage. Go buy it. And let’s make the term #literarybloodsausage a thing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    With his characteristic wit and sincerity, Hodgman writes moving essays about his experiences with fame, including "the other side of the mountain," which seems an increasingly discussed topic with so many talented, thoughtful figures getting to that point in their careers (looking at you, Green brothers). While I didn't connect as deeply with many of these stories as I did with Vacationland, I enjoyed them very much, and I think that's a symptom of my life experience rather than Hodgman's writing. The story With his characteristic wit and sincerity, Hodgman writes moving essays about his experiences with fame, including "the other side of the mountain," which seems an increasingly discussed topic with so many talented, thoughtful figures getting to that point in their careers (looking at you, Green brothers). While I didn't connect as deeply with many of these stories as I did with Vacationland, I enjoyed them very much, and I think that's a symptom of my life experience rather than Hodgman's writing. The story about Petey did make me cry, and the final essay brought home the message of the book to me hard - themes of community and belonging ring true throughout.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was really looking forward to this book, even though it did not come out on my birthday (strike one) like JH’s last book. Right off the bat (mild spoiler) a promise—a threat—is made that this book will contain no Maine stories (strike two). I told someone that I had already knocked off a star. But then, the stories were great! Even without Maine! Hollywood, Scientologists, travel by air, travel by car. Not all fun and games, though, the author writes poignantly about seemingly unive I was really looking forward to this book, even though it did not come out on my birthday (strike one) like JH’s last book. Right off the bat (mild spoiler) a promise—a threat—is made that this book will contain no Maine stories (strike two). I told someone that I had already knocked off a star. But then, the stories were great! Even without Maine! Hollywood, Scientologists, travel by air, travel by car. Not all fun and games, though, the author writes poignantly about seemingly universal trials: post-election grief, coping with the loss of a pet. I was about to give 4.5 stars. But in the final chapter the author breaks his promise and tells a great tale about Maine.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    3.5 rounding up for the audio book. I enjoy Hodgman's delivery and I LOVED his last book, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches. This one didn't knock my socks off and I had already heard some of his stories in a podcast interview, but it was a pleasant and sometimes funny listen if not as deeply insightful and affecting as Vacationland.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    This was fantastic and my favorite Hodgman book yet. Which really says something, considering how much I loved Vacationland. The evolution in his writing since his early books of fake facts is exceptional, I didn't expect him to turn down such a wistful, thoughtful path while still being hilarious. But I'm clearly right in the middle of his target market, I guess, because I really enjoy hearing him evolve into a middle-aged weird dad with zero regrets, but a consistent acknowledgment of the priv This was fantastic and my favorite Hodgman book yet. Which really says something, considering how much I loved Vacationland. The evolution in his writing since his early books of fake facts is exceptional, I didn't expect him to turn down such a wistful, thoughtful path while still being hilarious. But I'm clearly right in the middle of his target market, I guess, because I really enjoy hearing him evolve into a middle-aged weird dad with zero regrets, but a consistent acknowledgment of the privilege that allows it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I love John Hodgman, and I loved this book. It manages to be both really funny and have a great sense of humanity as well. There were many moments that made me laugh out loud and many moments that made me tear up with the way he just sees the world and other people with such wisdom and kindness. He has such a distinctive writing voice and I highly recommend this book, especially for fans of the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dara (Dara Reads OK)

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I adored Vacationland and this is more of the same delightful humor and insightful critique of this very silly world we live in. The Judge John Hodgman podcast remains one of the most consistently funny podcasts around so if you like the books make sure you are listening and if you like the podcast you’ll love his books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tom Reifenberg

    An excellent follow-up to Vacationland! Hodgman is an incredibly skilled and entertaining author, his stories hit a great balance between self-deprecation and joyful mullings. The section relating to Trump's election is afforded extra weight by his ability to interweave the feelings of his family and friends in a way I wasn't expecting.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I have loved John Hodgman’s writing since the Areas Of my Expertise.I have laughed to myself so hard remembering names of the hobo rebellion like Hobo Joe Junkpan.I loved the entire series and then of course I loved Vacationland it was lovely and I did not want it to end.This book is also fantastic and is equal parts warm and very funny.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Der

    I really like John Hodgman and his work. This is an enjoyable read, with deeper levels of meaning available under the breezy narrative. I listened to the audiobook, and John Hodgman gave a really nice performance. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an entertaining look behind the scenes of some exclusive settings.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    I really like Vacationland and was stoked to read another book of essays by John Hodgman. It took me a few essays to get into this one, and I thought that maybe this one wasn’t for me, but nope, it was. I loved it, it made me laugh, it had good references and punch lines.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    When the Property Brothers manage to greenlight Property Only Child, I hope they'll stretch the definition of "young childless couple" so that Hodgman can be my very special boy. If you haven't read this book I promise you that's 100% not as creepy as it sounds.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lane

    This book should be sold in every airport Went through this book faster than my last read , that I also have five stars, and being possible not someone considered the intended audience I am very pleased to have paid for it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jared

    I was a great fan of Vacationland, and I’ve read or listened to quite a bit of Hodgman’s work over the years. This book had a lot of what I like about Hodgman’s writing, but it also had a lot of what begins as endearing and eventually becomes grating.

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