Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman

Oh my gawd....I have just read one of the most ridiculous and funny books of all time. The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman is a book filled with anything and everything. In fact on the cover it boasts that the book is "an almanac of complete world knowldge compiled with instructive annotation and arranged in useful order by me, John Hodgman." The only problem is you can't believe a word of it. Mr. Hodgman lets the reader know he made it all up.

With that said, let me tell you just some of the topics covered in this book: The 6 Essentials in becoming a writer, Lycanthropic transformation timetables, Failed Palindromes, Handy measurements of time when you don't have a watch, Short words for use on submarines to preserve oxygen, great restaurants that serve crab and much much more.

At first this book seems like a mush of just a bunch of weird stuff, such as the "Useful Hobo Signs" or "Idiosyncracies of Great Detectives," but let me tell you you won't want to put this book down. In fact it is hard to read from cover to cover, at least for me because I kept flipping around reading other topics, tables and pictures. Not that that's a bad thing. It's just so funny plus there are footnotes that direct you to other pages and then that page has some more funny stuff.

Let me give you an example:

In the top spots for crabs section

-At the Crab Bunker in Atlanta, Georgia, you can catch your own crabs! Every night the live crabs are set loose throughout the restaurant, sometimes attacking children! (Please: no dogs or gulls allowed.)

In the Handy Measurements of Time When you don't have a Watch section

-Find a cesium-133 atom. It will take exactly one half hour for it to oscillate between the two hyperfine levels of its ground state 16,546,737,186,000 times. Most car dashboards now come equipped with a cesium-133 atom for just this purpose.

I mean really with made up facts like that, who needs an almanac, except for sailors and farmers.

By the way, you may recognize John Hodgman's name from The Daily Show with John Stewart. Now I had to google that because he says in the book that he's a contributor to the show, but, like I said, you can't believe anything in this book.

And finally just to tell you how good this book is, I'm keeping it. I got the book in paperback form and normally after reading a paperback book I pass it on either to friends or family or through But this one I'm gonna keep and whenever I need a good laugh, I'll just randomly open the book and read a passage. Trust me, you'll love it.

Some folks have said they are having a hard time finding some of the books I've reviewed. Well, I've made it easy just click here.


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posted by Gil T. @ 9:15 PM Comments: 0