Friday, 3 January 2014

Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman

I dunno, maybe I just shouldn't read humour. American humour anyway - British humour I am perfectly capable of sitting down and reading and laughing my ass off. But most American humour, in written form? Not so much. At most, there's a wry smile, a "that was kinda fun." I'm quite sure it would be different if I'd heard this read aloud, which people told me (too late) was the way to read Bossypants.

So there's a dear friend I'm about to disappoint greatly when I say that, yeah, I enjoyed Areas Of My Expertise, I guess. (He loaned his copy to me, and I did have fun, honest!)

But I didn't laugh. Well, maybe once or twice in the chapter on the States, which was, to me, by far the funniest section of the book. The rest was a fun read, but not a funny one. Something about humour just flies right over my head when it's written out, and that's okay, if there's a really good storyline to pull me along, but this is just a mishmash of funny, and so, here we are.

It was okay. The stuff on hoboes was fairly amusing, and some of the bits on history.

What's wrong with me? Why don't I read books written by American humourists and find them funny? I like John Hodgman, honest I do! What am I missing in the voice that's reading in my head that I don't seem to miss if it's Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett? What is it that makes that humour different?

Something to think about, anyway.

At any rate, John Hodgman talks about the Areas of His Expertise, which range from hoboes to the States to the Mall of America. It's pretty off-the-wall, and topsy-turvy. Sometimes it felt like it didn't go far enough, though, that it was silliness but stayed close to the truth to sound like facts without being facts, when really what I wanted was for some of these funny ideas to be followed through to their truly ludicrous conclusions.

I really wouldn't trust my opinion on this, though. As I said, I seem to have issues with reading funny. If it's American. Also, apparently the audiobook is fabulous and quite different? Maybe I'll check that out and see if it's different when I'm listening and can hear intonation and delivery.

Sorry, dude. It's up there as one I sort of liked, but definitely didn't love.

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