Hot Best Seller

Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms

Availability: Ready to download

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 fro 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.


Compare

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 fro 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.

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 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. 4 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. 5 out of 5

    Danger

    While clearly a comedy book (and a very funny one at that, if you're familiar with John Hodgman's work as a correspondent on The Daily Show, amongst other places, you'll have an idea of the tone of this) a lot of the stories in this are also surprisingly cathartic, and sometimes a bit mournful. This is deftly written, full of humanity, heart, and yeah, a lot of wonderfully absurd and wry humor. Really great stuff.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 stars. Some of the essays in here were great, some were less compelling, but overall I just really love listening to John Hodgman. Definitely recommend the audio version for this one, I think it adds a lot.

  5. 5 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Started off as just some personal life stories that weren’t all that entertaining nor were they all that funny. I smiled with mirth a few times through the first half of it. The book was heading for a solid two stars; just okay. Fortunately the book picked up in the second half, became much more insightful and funny, too. Climbing back and earning another star. Now the book never reached hilarious status, but it did get funny and because of some references to the first book, I was left wanting t Started off as just some personal life stories that weren’t all that entertaining nor were they all that funny. I smiled with mirth a few times through the first half of it. The book was heading for a solid two stars; just okay. Fortunately the book picked up in the second half, became much more insightful and funny, too. Climbing back and earning another star. Now the book never reached hilarious status, but it did get funny and because of some references to the first book, I was left wanting to read the first book since I started out of order. Pretty good and a nice start to the year.

  7. 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elliott Frank

    I am a sucker for John Hodgman's memoirs. His dry, forever-a-fish-out-of-water humor once again had me in stitches and there is an earnestness to his writing that pulls at my heartstrings in just the right way. It sounds silly to say it, but Hodgman's memoirs actually make me remember that I enjoy writing. He provides reinsurance that even the most mundane interactions are full of unseen comedy and opportunities for introspective growth. If you enjoyed Vacation Land, you will not be let down by M I am a sucker for John Hodgman's memoirs. His dry, forever-a-fish-out-of-water humor once again had me in stitches and there is an earnestness to his writing that pulls at my heartstrings in just the right way. It sounds silly to say it, but Hodgman's memoirs actually make me remember that I enjoy writing. He provides reinsurance that even the most mundane interactions are full of unseen comedy and opportunities for introspective growth. If you enjoyed Vacation Land, you will not be let down by Medallion Status. If you're at all interested in a comedic memoir, you should absolutely give Hodgman a read –maybe start with Vacation Land, because there are some callbacks. That said, you can certainly enjoy Medallion Status on its own merits –even if you're unfamiliar with any of Hodgman's creative output.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevidently

    I’ve owned John Hodgman’s previous book, Vacationland, for over a year. I have this habit when I travel of buying a book about that area while I’m in that area. I was in Maine and I already had every Stephen King novel, so I picked that up. It’s still sitting on my to-read pile by the side of my bed. And then Medallion Status, his new book that operates as a quasi-sequel came out, and I bought and read it immediately. The vagaries of reading. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Probably not what t I’ve owned John Hodgman’s previous book, Vacationland, for over a year. I have this habit when I travel of buying a book about that area while I’m in that area. I was in Maine and I already had every Stephen King novel, so I picked that up. It’s still sitting on my to-read pile by the side of my bed. And then Medallion Status, his new book that operates as a quasi-sequel came out, and I bought and read it immediately. The vagaries of reading. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Probably not what this book was. I thought there would be some funny travel stories, like how funny it is to be in Bhutan or something, but of course that’s not what this is. It’s the story of a man losing his status, and trying to replace it, and what that means. Hodgman defines himself in a lot of ways: a father, a quasi-famous person, a television actor, a cat dad, and a member of his favorite airlines’ elite status program. Over the course of this book, his hard grasp on most of these things slips away. What is it like, to be semi-well known, and then not be? What would you do to be accepted? The fact that Hodgman is a straight white middle-aged man is not lost on him, and it is especially evident in the chapters dealing with the Trump inauguration, and how scary it all was and is. He knows he is a person of privilege, and doesn’t want to overextend that privilege, because he sees where it can lead. This becomes evident much closer to home later, as a stranger comes to town and tries to throw his wealth around. At the same time, Hodgman is struggling to hold onto his identity, which keeps redefining itself. And it’s interesting to see how important his medallion status becomes. He recognizes the absurdity of all of it, which is why it’s funny. And the whole book is funny. That’s the part that I almost forgot sometimes, until Hodgman made me laugh out loud. It’s maybe not the book I thought I was looking for, but it’s a better book than that. We are all trying to find out what our medallion status is, before we lose it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Pehle

    John Hodgman is a wonderful story teller and this book is another piece of evidence supporting that statement. I love the mild blend of snarky cynicism and self-doubt that is, without fail, built on a foundation of kindness and tolerance. The story about November of 2016 is a great example of how Hodgman can tap into a rich intersection of personal angst and universal experience. The last story in the book is similarly powerful. Hodgman always keeps the thread, in this case “medallion status”, j John Hodgman is a wonderful story teller and this book is another piece of evidence supporting that statement. I love the mild blend of snarky cynicism and self-doubt that is, without fail, built on a foundation of kindness and tolerance. The story about November of 2016 is a great example of how Hodgman can tap into a rich intersection of personal angst and universal experience. The last story in the book is similarly powerful. Hodgman always keeps the thread, in this case “medallion status”, just with reach as he wanders from one tale to the next. If you haven’t read him, maybe step back a book or two for context. If you read “Vacationland”, read this one, too. John Hodgman hasn’t lost a step.

  11. 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    thefourthvine

    I have never been so glad to have read a book mostly intended to be funny that I didn’t find funny at all. Let me explain. I have read two John Hodgman books. The first one, The Areas of My Expertise, I read in hardcopy (because that was back when I still read books in hardcopy), mostly in doctors’ waiting rooms (because I was spending a lot of time in those at that point in my life). And my reaction was mostly: I can see he’s doing a thing, but I have a very limited appetite for this thing and w I have never been so glad to have read a book mostly intended to be funny that I didn’t find funny at all. Let me explain. I have read two John Hodgman books. The first one, The Areas of My Expertise, I read in hardcopy (because that was back when I still read books in hardcopy), mostly in doctors’ waiting rooms (because I was spending a lot of time in those at that point in my life). And my reaction was mostly: I can see he’s doing a thing, but I have a very limited appetite for this thing and wish he would stop now. And also: Oh my god, can he please stop trying SO VERY HARD to be clever? But I could also see that he had the potential to be a lot more interesting to me in the future, so I put him in my mental Try Again in a Decade file, and then — did not do that. It took more like a decade and a half. Still. I did get back to him eventually. And he is definitely a noticeably better writer now. I could see that he’d settled perfectly into his narrative voice, into his subject matter, into his structure. But I still wasn’t laughing. I wasn’t even amused. And then, in a twist I did not see coming, he told me why. He talked about acting in a TV show, and how the director kept telling him to be smaller, more natural, not punch the jokes so hard, and I realized that’s what he does. That’s who he is. He comes in with his ukulele and weird moustache and honking clown nose (probably not) and basically screams I AM BEING FUNNY. HI. THIS IS THE FUNNY PART. He can’t not. And I am pretty limited in the kinds of humor that appeal to me, and mostly they are smaller. More natural. Not punched at all. (An example of this: he retells Gaiman’s imposter syndrome story in this book, which is fine, because Gaiman himself has told it one million times. But Gaiman, when he tells it, stops at the actual key line. Hodgman was physically unable NOT to go on for half a page of point belaboring with many exclamation points, to help us get the joke. And for me, that made it not a joke anymore. It was just a man yelling at me.) But. Hodgman is not only being funny in this book. He also talks about the death of his cat, about the pain and misery of the election of Donald Trump, and the even greater pain and misery of watching his children live through that election. And when he talks about those things, when he’s not trying to be funny, he’s suddenly genuine and warm and compelling. It’s amazing. And those essays, even though they were on topics I would honestly rather never read about again — those essays I loved. So reading this book was remarkably rewarding for me. I learned something about myself! I read some really good essays! I understood a minor mystery that had been plaguing me for 15 years! I got a lot from this. I just didn’t get what I hoped to get. (A laugh.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Conor Ahern

    John Hodgman, the king of holding forth, does it again. By "does it again," I mean both that this is funny, thoughtful, and human, though also nothing new if you've read his other books, particularly the recent ones. Given its evanescence, Hodgman dwells heavily on the nature of celebrity, its capriciousness and perks, but also the downsides. I related very strongly to his quest for medallion status on Delta, having once gone to absurd lengths to secure it myself (though I very much dispute his John Hodgman, the king of holding forth, does it again. By "does it again," I mean both that this is funny, thoughtful, and human, though also nothing new if you've read his other books, particularly the recent ones. Given its evanescence, Hodgman dwells heavily on the nature of celebrity, its capriciousness and perks, but also the downsides. I related very strongly to his quest for medallion status on Delta, having once gone to absurd lengths to secure it myself (though I very much dispute his characterization that Platinum is not superior to Gold. That is pure rot). Anyway, almost missed this in my library queue before it expired and very glad I didn't. It was a reliable and whimsical companion as I pottered about during quarantine, or took drives to grocery stores or waited in line at the post office, distracting me from the molasses-slow workers and too-close customers that otherwise may have turned my internal rage-screams into external ones. Thanks, John Hodgman!: I know you can relate to the indignation but also approve of taking the polite, sympathetic path.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I’m not usually into memoirs, but this one is charming, peppered with self-awareness that was necessary. A light read by a great comedian.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Lamb

    I understand not wanting to drop names to avoid sounding pretentious, but when you talk about staying at a fancy hotel in LA (and never say the Chateau Marmont), you've already established that you have a better life than most of us. The least you could do is tell me the name of the show you're acting on so I don't have to be an Internet sleuth every ten minutes. Otherwise, funny stuff.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Coyle

    Entertaining, but not great. I love him as a performer, and his stories are interesting, but I wasn’t really drawn into this book at any point.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Harry Smith

    Smooth like butter to read. Some nice insight here and some truly funny bits. "Your mustache is tight," she said. "It reminds me of my dad's mustache." "Good night," I said. My favorite stories were the ones about the Hotel and A Stranger Comes to Town, which reminds me why I liked Vacationland so much and maybe explains why this one fell a little flat.

  18. 4 out of 5

    James

    John Hodgman's "Medallion Status" offers an examination of his dwindling fame. As his TV roles dry up and his accommodations become less exclusive, he begins chasing airline miles as a fill-in for the status once afforded him by his somewhat limited fame. Hodgman maintains a sad, wry voice throughout, but it doesn't feel entirely authentic. There are moving and sometimes memorable confessions about his limitations as an actor, but his thirst for airline miles never feels fully genuine. The tone John Hodgman's "Medallion Status" offers an examination of his dwindling fame. As his TV roles dry up and his accommodations become less exclusive, he begins chasing airline miles as a fill-in for the status once afforded him by his somewhat limited fame. Hodgman maintains a sad, wry voice throughout, but it doesn't feel entirely authentic. There are moving and sometimes memorable confessions about his limitations as an actor, but his thirst for airline miles never feels fully genuine. The tone is frustrating too, as his "sad dad" confessional feels like a put-on for someone who's obtained more success than most people ever will. He attempts to be emotionally honest in sharing what it's like to see that luster fade, but he's not writing for an audience of his peers, and so the book can feel braggy and off-putting. There's also a pervading sentiment that middle age--forties in the author's case--is a time to pack it up and fade away. That may be a luxury that Hodgman has, but it's not available to most of us.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis

    John Hodgman’s podcast, “Judge John Hodgman,” is one of my favorites. And I always enjoyed his”Daily Show” appearances along with his ridiculous fake trivia trilogy. But, I found “Medallion Status” less than enthralling. It just doesn’t seem that the esteemed Judge had his heart in this book and would have better spent his time writing a book about why a hot dog isn’t a sandwich.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jason Grossmann-Ferris

    The first three quarters of this book gave me an experience I have not had since middle school: plowing, engrossed, through page after page, barely noticing the world around me and nearly finishing it within 24 hours. Then, I hit the politics. Hodgman wrote this book in the wake of the 2016 election, and, like most of Hollywood, feels the need to regale us with his own perspective on the "traumatic results" of a man with a different ideology than himself getting elected, alienating some of his r The first three quarters of this book gave me an experience I have not had since middle school: plowing, engrossed, through page after page, barely noticing the world around me and nearly finishing it within 24 hours. Then, I hit the politics. Hodgman wrote this book in the wake of the 2016 election, and, like most of Hollywood, feels the need to regale us with his own perspective on the "traumatic results" of a man with a different ideology than himself getting elected, alienating some of his readers in the process. This book would have been so much better if he didn't suddenly acquire the need to remind his audience of his apparently useless and uninformed (yet OBVIOUSLY excessively privileged) status as a straight, white, cisgender, neurotypical, normally-abled, whatever-else man. It's almost as if he WANTS people to discard his opinion. That being said, I think Hodgman's style is hilarious and riveting, and gives the reader interesting (if a bit skewed) insight into what life is like on the margins of fame. He doesn't pretend like fame-- or even adulthood, for that matter-- is all it's cracked up to be, and focuses a lot on his own insecurities and mistakes. I especially enjoyed his anecdote about falling down the stairs at Book and Snake, a secret society at Yale. I can't wait to read Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches, although I fear it may contain more of his lousy political views, as it was published in 2017. It says a lot about his writing that I would return to it after his unnecessarily political anecdote about the 2017 Superbowl. Thanks a lot, John.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book might be a meditation on Tolstoy's dictum that “All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” All but maybe one* of the 20 intensely personal if arch stories in this book can be characterized as one or both of those stories. The last two stories take their title from the dictum and the title of the book, once explained, ties in to it. John Hodgman comes to town on an airline that, because of his strange and wonderful career, has besto This book might be a meditation on Tolstoy's dictum that “All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” All but maybe one* of the 20 intensely personal if arch stories in this book can be characterized as one or both of those stories. The last two stories take their title from the dictum and the title of the book, once explained, ties in to it. John Hodgman comes to town on an airline that, because of his strange and wonderful career, has bestowed upon him a status and access to the good snacks. Sometimes he retreats to E.B. White's town in Maine and meets strangers who come to town. Or maybe Tolstoy's dictum is just a gimmick. This book is not great literature. It's a good 2020 coronapocolypse book; wry and sweet and funny and unchallenging. Or maybe he's taking the piss out of Tolstoy. Lots of great stories involve journeys and strangers, from Gilgamesh to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But the dictum likely excludes Emma, Romeo and Juliet, and Cinderella. There are strangers and journeys, but that's not the story. Hodgman portrays the good things in his life mostly as happy accidents. I don't know if that's true or self-deprecation. He comes to town to act, to tour with the Boston Pops, to make breakfast sandwiches at the general store in E.B. White's town, to march against Trump. He comes home to bury his cat and comfort his children about Trump's election. Trump looms large in this book. I did not realize that Hodgman's Deranged Millionaire character on The Daily Show was a Trump satire. Hodgman is horrified at Trump's election and horrified that he himself developed bone spurs at about that time. He recognizes his sympathies with his monster, which pleases me oddly. Suspect it would have been a great bus book, if I was not working from home because of the aforementioned coronapocolypse. *Nude Rider. Hodgman did a nude shot. Though he played a stranger who covered his shame with an oboe.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    4.5 stars. I went into this book expecting it to be funny and light and just sort of a silly interlude between my more "serious" reads. And of course it was very funny (the Scrabble scene!), but it was also wise and poignant. Hodgman writes movingly about the reinvention of the self in middle age, dealing with loss of all kinds, and ultimately making peace with who we are -- even if, especially if, that's essentially nobody. The "medallion status" he chases throughout these essays is both a lite 4.5 stars. I went into this book expecting it to be funny and light and just sort of a silly interlude between my more "serious" reads. And of course it was very funny (the Scrabble scene!), but it was also wise and poignant. Hodgman writes movingly about the reinvention of the self in middle age, dealing with loss of all kinds, and ultimately making peace with who we are -- even if, especially if, that's essentially nobody. The "medallion status" he chases throughout these essays is both a literal airline loyalty program and a metaphor for all the ways we chase status, and all the ways we ultimately fail (and why that's ok). The essay about Trump's election brought tears to my eyes; the essay about Petey had them rolling down my cheeks. This is also a book about privilege, and Hodgman is very upfront and almost apologetic about his. Some privileges are part of who we are, but there are some privileges we can and probably should surrender. This is where some of the book rankled a bit. Like, dude, you don't HAVE to accept that VIP tour of Disneyland and cut everyone in line. And at this point in our planet's existence, I can't really enjoy a story about anyone's flying across the country to do 15 minutes of radio. I'm a climate crank, and I can't not read these stories through that lens. Still, funny and insightful and fully worth reading. Every bit as good as "Vacationland."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jarrah

    John Hodgman is a rare humourist and storyteller whose writing is not only truly funny, but also thoughtful, introspective, and poignant. Medallion Status represents some of his best work. Themed around Hodgman's quest to achieve Diamond status in an airline loyalty rewards program, the book takes the audience on a tour of the continental United States, interweaving restaurant recommendations with career advice for precocious 13-year-olds and life lessons from show business, fatherhood, and the John Hodgman is a rare humourist and storyteller whose writing is not only truly funny, but also thoughtful, introspective, and poignant. Medallion Status represents some of his best work. Themed around Hodgman's quest to achieve Diamond status in an airline loyalty rewards program, the book takes the audience on a tour of the continental United States, interweaving restaurant recommendations with career advice for precocious 13-year-olds and life lessons from show business, fatherhood, and the current political moment. One day I had the audiobook on in the car on a 20-minute drive to the gym. In that 20 minutes I experienced uproarious laughter at one anecdote, followed by reflective thought and finally tears of empathy. You know you've read a great book when you turn the final page (or listen to those final few minutes) and feel like you've just been given a gift, and that's exactly how I feel. The only improvement I can suggest would be for Hodgman to travel back in time to release this book back when I was a still precocious 13-year-old, because I really could've used some of that career advice.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Boldon

    Hodgman's desert-dry humor and willingness to bare emotional vulnerabilities make for an entertaining read with depth. He admits that his shtick is white privilege comedy, but sometimes I felt it drifted too far into while make privilege comedy that didnt work for me. This is smart, funny (laugh out loud so, at times) but also quite sad. I thought the cat dying chapter was sad until I got to the one on election day 2016, which made me relive that trauma all over again. The final chapter, in whic Hodgman's desert-dry humor and willingness to bare emotional vulnerabilities make for an entertaining read with depth. He admits that his shtick is white privilege comedy, but sometimes I felt it drifted too far into while make privilege comedy that didnt work for me. This is smart, funny (laugh out loud so, at times) but also quite sad. I thought the cat dying chapter was sad until I got to the one on election day 2016, which made me relive that trauma all over again. The final chapter, in which he returns to Maine and meditates on The Stranger was a strong, thoughtful, emotionally intelligent finish.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Technically, I first encountered John Hodgman because he was the PC guy from those old Apple commercials with Justin Long as Mac. Recently, I encountered him because he was a guest on Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast. On it, he was discussing airline history with a focus on United Airlines. I liked what I was hearing so I decided to get his latest book, Medallion Status, from the Library. Though he does touch on his experience with United and his quest to increase his point status, it's Technically, I first encountered John Hodgman because he was the PC guy from those old Apple commercials with Justin Long as Mac. Recently, I encountered him because he was a guest on Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast. On it, he was discussing airline history with a focus on United Airlines. I liked what I was hearing so I decided to get his latest book, Medallion Status, from the Library. Though he does touch on his experience with United and his quest to increase his point status, it's mainly a hodgepodge of his life after his acting career dwindled. I wasn't a fan of the first few stories but I feel like Racking Up Miles really jolts Medallion Status into gear. Career Advice For Children is the zenith as it had the most heart. In it, Hodgman describes his first jobs before acting for the future generation. Also, This Was All Optional was very poignant and sad. After that, Hodgman's narratives spiral creatively. It was as if he was losing steam and grasping for what to say and to make it funny. It was disappointing. However, Hodgman, mentioned his previous book, Vacationland, which sounds like it'll be a better read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tess Malone

    John Hodgman has somehow turned into one of the best essayists out there right now. He takes esoteric topics you believe you have zero interest in—from Maine vacation towns to the fringes of Hollywood—and makes them real and relatable to anyone who has ever felt lonely, wanted to fit in, or hasn’t understood their own disastrous impulses. His writing style is absurdly funny yet also understated and poignant when it needs to be. He is one of the few white male comedians who actually gets how much John Hodgman has somehow turned into one of the best essayists out there right now. He takes esoteric topics you believe you have zero interest in—from Maine vacation towns to the fringes of Hollywood—and makes them real and relatable to anyone who has ever felt lonely, wanted to fit in, or hasn’t understood their own disastrous impulses. His writing style is absurdly funny yet also understated and poignant when it needs to be. He is one of the few white male comedians who actually gets how much privilege he has and can acknowledge it without being self-aggrandizing. This collection is at its best when he uses the pop culture lens to critique our current political nightmare or his observations on what makes someone a good person. Some lines made me laugh out loud and others hit me at my core. This is truly a delightful and insightful read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    I am a fan of John Hodgman's wry humor and really enjoyed his book Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches. Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms was as hilarious as musings on fame, prestige, and the pitiful quest for acceptance could be. I highly recommend the audioversion because: John Hodgman. The book was enhanced by moments of great honesty and poignancy, and readers will find much to ponder.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maurice Tougas

    After Vacationland, his previous, hilarious, book, Medallion Status is a bit of a let down. I was anticipating more LOL moments, but Medallion Status is more thoughtful and, dare I say, deep. Much of it is a rumination on fame (or should I say semi-fame) and life after that fame fades. There are only a couple of decent laughs, particularly compared to Vacationland, but it's still an enjoyable read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adam Frederik

    John Hodgman is so very generous an acquaintance to which both this and his previous book bears witness. For an only child with a background in comparative literature ... I talk here of myself naturally ... there is much mirror neuron enjoyment to be found in his whimsical storytelling. This time he is more essayistic and the stories (as he will admit to) are less ripe perhaps. They all come together in the final story for me though. That one is my favorite. Wait for it. This book is funny and i John Hodgman is so very generous an acquaintance to which both this and his previous book bears witness. For an only child with a background in comparative literature ... I talk here of myself naturally ... there is much mirror neuron enjoyment to be found in his whimsical storytelling. This time he is more essayistic and the stories (as he will admit to) are less ripe perhaps. They all come together in the final story for me though. That one is my favorite. Wait for it. This book is funny and is time well spent in eloquent and gracious grown up company.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Farmer

    If you're looking for straight up entertainment, with some out-loud chuckles, this is a solid bet. Fittingly, since much of the book is about Hodgman's attempt to sustain airline special customer status, it would be a perfect book to read on a flight. Hodgman makes an art of self-deprication, and I'm a sucker for middle-aged white men, who embrace and roast their status. For fans of his last book, Vacationland, note that this has much less substance and introspection. I don't mean that as a crit If you're looking for straight up entertainment, with some out-loud chuckles, this is a solid bet. Fittingly, since much of the book is about Hodgman's attempt to sustain airline special customer status, it would be a perfect book to read on a flight. Hodgman makes an art of self-deprication, and I'm a sucker for middle-aged white men, who embrace and roast their status. For fans of his last book, Vacationland, note that this has much less substance and introspection. I don't mean that as a criticism, just advice in setting expectations.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.