Book Review: The Areas Of My Expertise

So it took me 3 months to finish reading John Hodgman’s amazing The Areas Of My Expertise, but that’s certainly not a reflection of it’s quality, length or my reading comprehension.

The book is an almanac of all world knowledge. Not a parody of almanacs. Not a farcical almanac. An almanac comprised solely of fabrications, but funny fabrications which lovingly skewer both the subjects they purport to cover and the medium of the almanac.

Hodgman is most recognized for his performances as “PC” in Apple’s “Mac versus PC” ad campaign. He’s also a contributor to The Daily Show, ZeFrank’s The Show and is a former literary agent, hence the tome of humor that includes lots of book humor (make sense?).

It really is a brief read, since most of the articles and sections are no more than a few pages. Unfortunately, the format also lends itself to quick, pre-bed reading and, ahem, bathroom reading (though not really bathroom humor, to clarify).

I was always surprised by the depth and breadth of the jokes, which included funny footnotes, illustrations and self-references. It’s the type of dry wit and absurdist detail to which I aspire on this (and other) blogs, minus all my parentheticals.

The most widely mentioned/blogged/participated section of the book (which is extremely funny) concerns an exhaustive list of 700 Hobo Names, a list that has been illustrated, re-illustrated, read out loud and expanded.

Of course, Hodgman also has a blog where you can continue to follow his exploits.

All in all, this book is one of the best values for your reading dollar and has a high laugh-to-page ratio. Buy it now!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Areas Of My Expertise

  1. Ha, that’s funny–we’re reading the same book. And apparently, in the same way. (My copy hasn’t left the bathroom since I got it.) I’ve also been slowly working through it, bathroom visit by bathroom visit, and also find it a charming and surprisingly deep read. I’m sort of amazed at the level of footnotes. It’s like every chapter ties into every other chapter. Okay, that sounds sort of stupid now that I read it back, since that’s sort of how novels work. But you know what I mean, Seth, even if non-readers of the book don’t. :)

  2. Hodgman, Twitter and signed copies…

    Way back in the beginning of June, John Hodgman (”PC” in those Mac & PC ads that Apple does) “tweeted” an interesting offer:
    re: a TAXONOMY OF COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE. I will sign and send one to you and the next four who …

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