More Information than You Require

by

Author:  John Hodgman

TitleMore Information than You Require

Genre:  Nonfiction; Audio book

Publication Date:  2009

Running Time:  12hrs., 45 min.

Geographical Setting: Hodgman’s mind

Time Period:  Current Day

Series:  Not officially, but a continuation of Hodgman’s first book, The Areas of My Expertise

Plot Summary:  What do you get when you cross a book of mostly-untrue facts, witty insights into family life, and the dry humor of a minor television personality (the “PC guy” from the Apple commercials)? This question sums up More Information than You Require. Hodgman’s newest book is a follow-up to the complete world knowledge found in his first book, The Areas of My Expertise. Because, as we all know, and as Hodgman tells us, complete world knowledge cannot be contained in one book; it is a living thing that must be consistently chronicled.

This irreverent book of knowledge is comprised of made-up facts, useless trivia, and insights into the mole-men who still live among us. Hodgman’s book does not tell a story; instead, it is more along the lines of a running satire of an almanac—as you follow along with Hodgman’s logic, you find yourself believing such silly facts, like Napoleon was the first man on the moon or that a certain United States president wore a necklace of skulls.  Tempered with vignettes about Hodgman’s actual life (which are often sweet and funnier than the made-up facts), More Information than You Require is a fun and funny book to enjoy when you need a light-hearted look at the world around us.

As an audio book: Reading the physical book and listening to the audio book are two completely different experiences for More Information than You Require. The physical book contains charts, graphs, pictures, and unique word styles to create the satirical almanac feel. However, the audio book experience is more like listening to a twelve-hour long podcast: Hodgman is reading, but also has friends come to play music, mix drinks, and generally have a good time. With an opening by Paul Rudd, musical talents of the “feral mountain man” (as Hodgman likes to call him) Jonathan Coulton (who, as all good YouTube watchers know, created such sensations as “Code Monkey”), Ricky Gervais, Ira Glass, Rachel Maddow, Sarah Vowell, and Zach Galifianakis. Hodgman’s NPR roots show with the audio book, as at times the listener feels like he/she is on an episode of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, or in the variety show A Prairie Home Companion. Whether Rachel Maddow is making turn-of-the-century French cocktails (with Red Bull and absinthe, of course) or Coulton is creating jingles for dog food, this audio book is for the listener who needs a lot of different types of stimulation when experiencing a book.

Subject Headings:  Humor writing—general, American humor

Appeal: deliberate, easy, leisurely-paced, eccentric, engaging, quirky, character-centered, folksy, episodic, contemporary, edgy, flamboyant, humorous, playful, sarcastic, upbeat, chatty, conversational, elaborate, engaging, flamboyant, journalistic, sophisticated, unusual, vivid, witty

3 terms that best describe this book: satirical, witty, quirky

Similar Authors and Works:

Nonfiction

The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell: What better way to learn about the history of the Puritans than through the witty, dry humor of Sarah Vowell? Readers who enjoy Hodgman’s tone and the historical aspects of his book will love Vowell’s thorough and insightful look into this aspect of the American past.

America (The Book), by Jon Stewart: Another take on American history, Stewart creates a “textbook” of sorts to provide witty and sarcastic insight into the more ridiculous aspects of our past. Readers who enjoy the unique format and tone of Hodgman’s book will find Stewart’s work in the same tradition.

Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris: Cheeky insights into American life coupled with witty writing makes Sedaris a good companion to Hodgman’s work. The short story format will satisfy the less focused readers, and the sarcastic humor will keep the reader engaged.

Fiction

Postcards from the Edge, by Carrie Fisher: The frank and sarcastic tone that Fisher takes with her novel compliments the tone created by Hodgman. Although dealing with far deeper issues, Fisher’s witty insights into life behind the rehab walls keeps this pseudo-memoir from becoming morose and instead creates a world where we can all laugh and cry at our own addictions.

A Model World and Other Stories, by Michael Chabon: The short story format along with the ironic and humorous tone makes Chabon an excellent compliment to Hodgman. Readers who want something a little more understated with the same type of tone will enjoy Chabon’s collection.

High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby: The readers who enjoy the pop culture aspect of Hodgman’s work will enjoy Hornby’s humorous tale of the owner of a failing record store.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLx8HR1pTHY

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