I Wanna Be Literated #184

I Wanna Be Literated #184

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches
by John Hodgman

I’ve had a confusing relationship with John Hodgman for years now. I’ve always like him on the Daily Show, and thought he was an insightful and witty guest on podcasts. However, when I got his trilogy of fake facts book, it quickly became apparent that I had made a mistake. While Hodgman’s comedy always seemed nuanced and slightly highbrow to me, his books were the opposite of that: boring, repetitive, pointless, ridiculous, stupid, and straight up cruel in parts. Like a terribly unfunny person who thinks they’re hilarious and goes on and on, his books seemed like a private hell of my own making. Infuriating doesn’t quite begin to describe how I felt about them. I hated hated hated those books.

So why did I read Vacationland? Because, I’ve come to realize that Hodgman is much funnier when he talks about his life and other things that are actually real. It’s really his unique perspective on things that is so charming. And Vacationland is all of that. I love love love this book.

I should also disclose that, being a Boston resident, I took pure delights in reading Hodgman talk about my favorite spots and locations around the city. And when he’s not talking about growing up in Boston, he’s talking about other sites around New England, like his house in central Massachusetts or his second summer home in Maine and his interaction with the upper crust as a mere pretend-upper-cruster. Vacationland is full of delightful stories about living, growing up, and growing (somewhat) old in New England. It knows when to admire its surroundings and when to laugh at them. It’s full of laughs, chuckles, hilarious and interesting anecdotes, and heart. Vacationland is the kind of storytelling everyone can appreciate… and you’ll appreciate the friends you make along the way.

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