Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches

Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches

Although his career as a bestselling author and on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart was founded on fake news and invented facts, in 2016 that routine didn't seem as funny to John Hodgman anymore. Everyone is doing it now. Disarmed of falsehood, he was left only with the awful truth: John Hodgman is an older white male monster with bad facial hair, wandering like a privilege...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches
Author:John Hodgman
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches Reviews

  • Kathy

    Plainly put, John Hodgman's

    is great. It positively exudes Hodgman-yness. Yes, I had to check the cover repeatedly to make sure it hadn't grown an alarming goatee/mustache combination! Straight Talk: If you are a John Hodgman fan you will like this book; If you aren't, you wont. I am and I did and I regret nothing!

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I received an ARC of this book from Viking/Netgalley in exchange for an honest (though possibly biased) review.

  • Allen Adams

    Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.

    Not in the case of John Hodgman, though. His latest book – “Vacationland: True Stories of Painful Beaches” – is a massive departure from his previous three books, a bestselling trio constructed entirely out of fake facts and imaginary trivia.

    See, the stories in this book are true … and hilarious.

    “Vacationland” is divided more or less evenly between Hodgman’s earlier days spent in western Massachusetts and his more

    Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.

    Not in the case of John Hodgman, though. His latest book – “Vacationland: True Stories of Painful Beaches” – is a massive departure from his previous three books, a bestselling trio constructed entirely out of fake facts and imaginary trivia.

    See, the stories in this book are true … and hilarious.

    “Vacationland” is divided more or less evenly between Hodgman’s earlier days spent in western Massachusetts and his more recent experiences with his family on the coast of Maine. But regardless of which summer house he’s remembering at any given moment, his unique comedic voice rings out with a clever clarity that is very much unlike anything else you’re likely to read.

    These stories – over a dozen in all – serve as a sort of primer on all things Hodgman. Taken together, one could argue that they illustrate not only who he is, but how he came to be that person. It’s a memoir of sorts, but a selective one; the end result is a portrait of a man who has never been entirely sure what it means to be an adult, but is muddling through nonetheless.

    The book’s first half explores Hodgman’s relationship with his family’s home in western Massachusetts. These stories feature plenty of glimpses at the deliberately esoteric weirdo teen desperate to grow up that Hodgman was, but also digs into his young adulthood as his life’s path began its unexpected shift.

    Whether it’s the self-inflicted existential crisis of “Dump Jail” – where he constructs elaborate tales to tell the guys at the dump if they ever ask - or the substance-enhanced idyll of cairn building in “Rocks on Top of Other Rocks,” Hodgman captures a sense of the very real absurdity that often accompanies being an adult. Maybe he explores the notion of his first “real” job and his first REAL job (“Mongering”); maybe he confronts the need to remain hip as he ages (“Daddy Pitchfork”).

    Or maybe he’s relating the story where he meets Black Francis, lead singer of The Pixies and one of his personal musical idols, at the county fair and invites him and his family back to his house and shares cans of Diet Moxie with him – all while also contextualizing adulthood by way of broken septic systems and poop-filled silverware drawers (“Nerve Food”).

    As for the second half, that’s when we learn more about the time Hodgman and his family have spent summering on the coast of Maine. This Hodgman has already achieved a fair degree of success, though he still has some questions with regards to this whole adulthood business.

    For instance, there’s the story of how he and his wife accidentally bought a boat (“You Are Normal People”). “A Little Beyond the Safe Limits of Travel” is in many ways a follow-up to that story; it also captures the inherent spirit of Mainers beautifully. In “A Kingdom Property,” the stark differences between people and their attitudes are rendered with a clarity that is both funny and a little sad.

    Hodgman also takes some shots at Maine humor in the piece titled … “Maine Humor”; the famed Perry’s Nut House makes an extended appearance as he breaks down the notion of Maine humor and denigrates the value of fudge.

    And on and on and on. Every one of the stories in “Vacationland” charms with its honesty; even when relating true tale, Hodgman’s wit is unsurpassed. Anyone who has lived in these places will be struck by moments of recognition.

    But it’s more than that. We’ve all questioned our choices as we stagger through adulthood; everyone has stretches where they feel as if they have no idea what they’re doing. Growing up – and growing older – is scary. Hodgman captures that feeling with exquisite precision. There’s weirdness at every turn, no matter where we are or who we’re with. John Hodgman understands that.

    Look, these stories are funny. They’re REALLY funny. Frankly, you probably don’t need me to tell you that. What you might not expect, however, is what kind of heft they have. Even in the funniest moments, there are real feelings and real ideas being expressed. Hodgman finds ways to elicit a sense of pathos without ever losing that light of laughter. He shares hard truths as willingly as the easy ones. And he never once seems to forget just how lucky he is. It’s remarkable to read, an open window into a complex comedic psyche.

    This book might not be everything that is John Hodgman, but everything it is is definitely real.

    “Vacationland” is smart and snarky and occasionally raw. Hodgman’s narrative gifts are undeniable, and when combined with this kind of genuine feeling and truth, the end result is flat-out exceptional. It’s a beautiful balance of humor and heart – a book that’ll make you laugh, that’ll make you think … and that’ll ultimately make you glad you spent some time with John Hodgman.

  • Mandy

    I laughed out loud 4 times, if that's an indication.

  • Hannah

    John Hodgman gave me an ARC of his new book the other day at the library, and I pretty much immediately devoured it. I found it both genuinely funny and funnily genuine, and like the humor of his podcast that I very much enjoy, I thought its great honesty gave it real punch. Hodgman's observations about my home state, Maine, are insightful and relatable, and his owning up to his own privileged existence throughout the volume mirrors his admission of his experience as someone "from away," and mak

    John Hodgman gave me an ARC of his new book the other day at the library, and I pretty much immediately devoured it. I found it both genuinely funny and funnily genuine, and like the humor of his podcast that I very much enjoy, I thought its great honesty gave it real punch. Hodgman's observations about my home state, Maine, are insightful and relatable, and his owning up to his own privileged existence throughout the volume mirrors his admission of his experience as someone "from away," and makes it precisely what it ought to be - truthful, humble, and a sincere and effective combination of hilarious and dispiriting. I really enjoy when people admit that being kind is a choice, and can be extremely difficult, and when they reveal their own private dreams, sorrows, and crazy unreasonable expectations for themselves and others. That's John Hodgman's real talent - showing his full humanity, and thereby breaking into yours.

  • Portia

    What. A. Delight.  I have been watching John Hodgman in various things for years but didn't really know anything about him so this was so much fun to read.  The essays varied in topic and I really got a rounded view of who John Hodgman is.  My roommates ended up reading most of the book with me because I kept having to share the best passages with them (which were the majority of the book).  It is so well written and I can't explain how much fun I had reading this.

    I did take points off, though,

    What. A. Delight.  I have been watching John Hodgman in various things for years but didn't really know anything about him so this was so much fun to read.  The essays varied in topic and I really got a rounded view of who John Hodgman is.  My roommates ended up reading most of the book with me because I kept having to share the best passages with them (which were the majority of the book).  It is so well written and I can't explain how much fun I had reading this.

    I did take points off, though, for his very wrong views of fudge.

  • Kathleen

    Hodgman is much more comfortable telling stories that abound with bald-faced lies. So, it is with an act of courage that he has decided to share truthful stories about himself. He recounts aspects of his life growing up in rural western Massachusetts, inheriting his family’s home, and then, eventually moving to Maine. He is feeling the steady creep of growing older (i.e., his musical tastes are becoming ‘dated’ despite actively making playlists of trendy artists featured on NPR). His reflections

    Hodgman is much more comfortable telling stories that abound with bald-faced lies. So, it is with an act of courage that he has decided to share truthful stories about himself. He recounts aspects of his life growing up in rural western Massachusetts, inheriting his family’s home, and then, eventually moving to Maine. He is feeling the steady creep of growing older (i.e., his musical tastes are becoming ‘dated’ despite actively making playlists of trendy artists featured on NPR). His reflections on people and places mirror the work of Bill Bryson; while his neurotic personal quirkiness hint at the dry wit of David Sedaris. Enjoy.

  • Julie

    Writer, humorist, podcaster, PC guy, and Daily Show contributor John Hodgman is back, and he's telling (almost) the whole truth. In this collection of funny and reflective essays, Hodgman explores the existential symbolism of his patchy beard, how to navigate the social and natural wilds of Maine, and how even the weirdest dads have some "cool" cred. It's funny, and it's wrought--life is short, and Hodgman's book never lets you forget his (and your) impending demise.

    I was predisposed to love thi

    Writer, humorist, podcaster, PC guy, and Daily Show contributor John Hodgman is back, and he's telling (almost) the whole truth. In this collection of funny and reflective essays, Hodgman explores the existential symbolism of his patchy beard, how to navigate the social and natural wilds of Maine, and how even the weirdest dads have some "cool" cred. It's funny, and it's wrought--life is short, and Hodgman's book never lets you forget his (and your) impending demise.

    I was predisposed to love this book... I'm a fan of Hodgman's, and the comedic memoir is one of my favorite genres. But I came away from Vacationland feeling that it was just "okay."

    There are moments of wit, brilliance, and emotionality, surrounded by other moments that left me wondering "so what?" Hodgman's trademark humor is undermined here by a tendency to follow a joke with a self-congratulatory doubling-down that seems to say, "see what I did there?"

    Vacationland has the barebones of a great comedic memoir, but could use something more. Though I found myself saving several passages that were deftly articulate, funny, and relatable, the essays as a whole lack oomph.

    I received an ARC of this book in August 2017. It will be published on October 24, 2017.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This book is a bit uneven. John Hodgman reminds me of your single uncle (probably your dad's youngest brother) that you can't escape at Thanksgiving, who thinks of himself as a bit more interesting in his youth than he really was, but who has enough money to spend to have stuff to talk about.

    So the stories vary.

    The pot stories are pointless. The whole point seems to be, see, I also smoked the pot. Alongside a story near the end about getting drunk after a college appearance. Okay.....

    I started

    This book is a bit uneven. John Hodgman reminds me of your single uncle (probably your dad's youngest brother) that you can't escape at Thanksgiving, who thinks of himself as a bit more interesting in his youth than he really was, but who has enough money to spend to have stuff to talk about.

    So the stories vary.

    The pot stories are pointless. The whole point seems to be, see, I also smoked the pot. Alongside a story near the end about getting drunk after a college appearance. Okay.....

    I started out liking one story about Maine but it ended up being a white privilege narrative about only being able to afford one summer cottage.

    I don't know, I left with a bad taste in my mouth. I think this is partially his brand of humor, the kind where you get why it's funny kind of but you wouldn't actually laugh at it. Or perhaps this isn't the humor for me.

  • Matthew Quann

    I found it nearly impossible not to compare John Hodgman's essays with those of David Sedaris. Hodgman seems inspired, in part, by Sedaris' wry observations and dry humour, even if he is never able to reach the heights of Sedaris. The two authors are quite dissimilar in personality and writing, but the style of the book itself is what Hodgman seems to have used as a framework to build his own collection of essays.

    Unfortunately, the stories collected in

    are supremely off-balance. Lis

    I found it nearly impossible not to compare John Hodgman's essays with those of David Sedaris. Hodgman seems inspired, in part, by Sedaris' wry observations and dry humour, even if he is never able to reach the heights of Sedaris. The two authors are quite dissimilar in personality and writing, but the style of the book itself is what Hodgman seems to have used as a framework to build his own collection of essays.

    Unfortunately, the stories collected in

    are supremely off-balance. Listening to Hodgman's narration made me feel for the poor dude: he sounds anxious as hell! This sometimes plays to his favour, namely when relating an anecdote in which he misread a social situation, but also became an irritant the more it wore on. Hodgman all too often spends time explaining his social views and espousing his wokeness to the detriment of the stories. It would have been much more effective if Hodgman had shown restraint in explaining his white privilege instead of spoon feeding the audience his realizations.

    Also, some stories seem to go off on tangents from which they never recover. Hodgman will be telling some interesting story only for it to go off the rails with something that is mildly related. It takes a lot of steam out of the good storytelling and infuses it with superfluous narrative. The book is also structured with beginning, middle, and end headings, but they only follow a loose trajectory of Hodgman's life.

    All the same, this is an easy, enjoyable listen for the most part. Hodgman may stumble and fall on occasion, but this is by no means a bad book. Comparing him to Sedaris is exceedingly unfair: though this is not Hodgman's first book, it is his first bit of long-form nonfiction. He also sounds like a great guy! Hodgman seems like the guy you'd want to share a beer with while you grill some steaks, and he'd regale you with stories about his adoration for his family. I'll be interested to see if he hones his craft in a future collection.

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.