Literacy 2008: Book 9: More Information Than You Require

More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman

John Hodgman got famous from “The Daily Show” and those Apple ads and also he’s friends with Jonathan Coulton. (Actually: a continuation of his almanac of made-up facts, begun in The Areas of My Expertise).

Dismaying Fact Discovered
Hodgman is only 24 days older than I am.

Plenty of inspired bits of surreal comedy that reminded me of Woody Allen and Steve Martin’s comedy-sketch books. Reading random passages made me laugh out loud, several times (and that’s rare). Has a made-up children’s rhyme about the Jonestown Massacre that is pure genius. Has a well-written and genuinely sweet love letter to his wife that is disguised as an essay about alien abduction. Contains the phrase “also, a poop tube.”

When reading it in order, the set-up/surreal punchline IN ALL CAPS schtick can start to seem a little tedious and forced. Feels more disposable and contains more celebrity name-dropping than I’d expected. The 700 mole-men aren’t as funny as the 700 hoboes, somehow.

Hodgman is all about the delivery, both in person and in print, but he’s also managed to distinguish himself as an earnest and surprisingly sincere writer as surprised by his own fame as anyone else. If you’re a fan of the previous book, you’ve already gotten this one. If you’re wondering what the fuss is about, start with The Areas of My Expertise, even though this one is funnier.

A Personal Note
Obviously, I didn’t make it even halfway to my goal of reading 26 books in 2008. For those who are math-deficient, I didn’t even read a book a month, and some, like this one, were short comedy books that technically shouldn’t count. As with so many other things, I blame Strong Bad.

BUT, I have learned a valuable lesson: don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Or at least, don’t write about them on the internet.