Tuesday, February 17, 2009


If you happen to be me, you may have noticed John Hodgman everywhere last weekend. On Thursday night, he was on the Daily Show, which makes sense as he is the "resident expert" on the Comedy Central news show. On Friday, he guest-starred on Battlestar Galactica as the brain surgeon. On Saturday, I went to see the movie Coraline, the 3-D animated film based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name, in which Hodgman voiced the father characters. And through all of this, I've been reading More Information than you Require, which is a humorous book of fake trivia Hodgman wrote as a follow up to his previous book, The Areas of my Expertise.

This brings me to the point of this post: whether he knows it or not, John Hodgman is stalking me.

Just kidding, that's not the point. Actually, I thought he made a good thread for a list of recommendations. For example, his Daily Show appearance compels me to mention that you can relive the 2004 election by checking out the Daily Show's Indecision 2004 DVD at the library. If you'd rather not, might I suggest the book America by Jon Stewart and the writers of the Daily Show?

As Hodgman also appeared on BSG, I should also mention that the Urbana Free Library carries seasons 1, 2, 2.5, and 3 of the current run of Battlestar Galactica (season 4 is on the way), as well as the Razor mini. If this new Battlestar doesn't live up to the majesty of the original in your eyes, perhaps you'd enjoy Galactica 1980. Perhaps you'd enjoy it even if you like the current series. Despite being I librarian, I don't necessarily have all the answers.

And then there's Coraline. Very cool movie, but different from the book--you'll have to read it to find out how, because I'm not spoiling anything. There's also a graphic novel adaptation of the book. If, perhaps, there are no copies of Coraline available, I'd definitely recommend other books by Neil Gaiman. His The Wolves in the Walls and the recent Newbery winner The Graveyard Book were both written with young people in mind. I'll also mention Neverwhere, the book and BBC miniseries, both of which take place "somewhere under London;" American Gods, an epic adventure story partially inspired by bizarre US roadside attractions with a rather large plot twist I'd hate to spoil; and Good Omens, co-written by Terry Pratchett, a hilarious story of evil's drive toward destruction and good's bumbling attempts to stop it.

And that brings us back to funny books, like the ones Hodgman himself has written. While you cannot have More Information that You Require (because I have it and am not yet through with it), you might see if The Areas of My Expertise is available. When promoting the book, Hodgman stated that The Areas of My Expertise concerned "matters historical, matters literary, hobo matters, food, drink and cheese, which is a type of food," before being interrupted to explain hobo matters like the hobo rebellion and installation of a hobo treasury secretary, FDR's anti-hobo suburbanization plan and fireside lab, and the list of 700 hobo names. Hodgman writes earnestly, which make his fake factoids funnier.

I do have to warn you, though, that if you decide to read one of Hodgman's books, you may begin to see him everywhere. Note, however, that you already see him all the time if you watch television, as he plays the PC on the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" commercials.

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