The B&N Podcast: John Hodgman

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

When you’re talking with the writer and performer John Hodgman, it doesn’t seem like any page, or chapter or volume could contain his restlessly inventive mind. It’s impossible to find a subject that Hodgman isn’t curious about, eloquent about, or really funny about – sometimes all within the same sentence. And a conversation with him is like being part of a piece of improv comedy in which you had better be on your toes if you want to keep up. While you might know  Hodgman best from his appearances on The Daily Show or elsewhere on television and in film, the former literary agent has his roots in books: he’s the author of three bestselling works of absolutely, hilariously not-true anti-facts, including The Areas of My Expertise, More Information than You Require, and That Is All. He joins Bill Tipper on this episode to talk about his quite different new book, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches. He spoke about what it’s like setting aside the”expert” character he’s made so famous, to speak more directly — though with characteristic wit — about growing up, growing older and (could it be?) growing wiser.


John Hodgman—New York Times bestselling author, semifamous personality, deranged millionaire, increasingly elderly husband, father, and human of Earth—has written a memoir about his cursed travels through two wildernesses: from the woods of his home in Massachusetts, birthplace of rage, to his exile on the coast of Maine, so-called Vacationland, home to the most painful beaches on Earth.

Vacationland is also about Hodgman’s wandering in the metaphoric wilderness of his forties, those years when dudes especially must painfully stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weirder dads that they are.

Other subjects covered include the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison, and advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.

After three bestselling books of fake facts, Hodgman is finally ready to tell the truth—in the same outlandish, audacious, and inimitable style that has won him fans in every medium he has worked: books, stage, social media, television, and movies.

Click here to see all books by John Hodgman.

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