My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Funny. Not as funny as the first book in this… series. BUT FUNNY NONETHELESS.
I remember reading Areas of My Expertise and constantly being struck by the astounding absurdity of Hodgman’s deadpan. (To be more literal, I laughed so hard my ribs hurt and I may have slipped out of my chair once or twice. That could have been the ether, though.) This volume is no less deadpan (deadpanny?), with some really funny material about forks and computers and corn, but unfortunately, it’s often redundant with things Hodgman had written about in the previous book. 700 hobo names were funny. 700 mole-man names, well, just seemed like a list of 700 names just for the sake of making a list of 700 strange, nonsensical names. Certainly that’s part of the game that Hodgman’s playing with almanacs and trivia books, but it just doesn’t come off as well the second time around.
The “page a day” calendar feature… To be honest, I’m still a little on the fence. A lot of those entries were quite funny–often some of the best material of the book; still, they were wholly distracting from the text proper, and–in all their bacchic glee–tended to shatter the reading experience. An interesting feature, but problematic.
Overall? I’m looking forward to the final volume (potentially titled That Is All), but hope that Hodgman pulls a few new rabbits out of his pockets. Just leave the mole-men back at Monticello. This one started well, but trailed off towards the end. AND PERHAPS FEWER SECTIONS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS? IT IS AMUSING USED OCCASIONALLY FOR EFFECT, BUT OVERDONE JUST BECOMES HAPLESS YELLING.