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More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman
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Nov 23, 08

Read in November, 2008

John Hodgman is a funny, funny man. I liked this book, though it didn't quite approach the absurdist and hilarious shock value of his inaugural almanac of fake trivia, The Areas of My Expertise. (My favorite bit from that first book comes from a list of failed palindromes: "Slow speed, deep owls.")
While there are faux factual lists, tables, and footnotes aplenty here, there are also some anecdotes from Hodgman's life, which, while obviously exaggerated (running down the street after Justin Timberlake, meeting Emo Philips and buying a zeppelin from him), felt less like almanac material and more like personal essay in the vein of David Sedaris. I learned that several portions of More Information Than You Require first appeared elsewhere, which might explain why some of the chapters feel shoehorned in instead of flowing smoothly (or as smoothly as could be expected in such a non-sequiturious book.)
Favorite bits from this book include dealing with household pests like pipe-dwelling axolotls (whose "external frill-like gills will make your water taste uncanny"), a list of 700 mole-man names and occupations ("Mr. Harry Boulderchoke, a speculator in semiprecious and absolutely unprecious stones), and facts about presidents (Taft would keep "a bowl of live frogs by his resting slab in the Oval Office that he would snack on during meetings.")
One odd note: This book is supposed to literally pick up where the old book left off, page numbering and all, though that joke is compounded by this volume starting in the middle (page 327 or so), working its way to page 596, dawdling on for a few blank pages, and then kicking in with the colophon, title page, table of contents, and chapters from the early 230s. It's very disorienting.
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Quotes Ryan Liked

John Hodgman
“We all know he kept a bowl of live frogs by his resting slab in the Oval Office that he would snack on during meetings.”
John Hodgman, More Information Than You Require


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