Book Review: ‘The Areas of My Expertise’

DJ Bernat

You may not recognize his name, but you know who John Hodgman is. Best known for playing the PC to Justin Long’s Mac, Hodgman is also a frequent correspondent on the Daily Show and also made a cameo as a greeting card company employee on HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords”.

“The Areas of My Expertise” is best described as “The Daily Show” approach to the almanac, with Hodgman throwing out hilarious “facts” about everything from The Mall of America (where he claims to have found a secret tunnel lined with human skulls) to hobos, to many secrets of his alumnus, Yale University. The new, expanded paperback addition features seven sections as well as a preview of Hodgman’s next book.

Arguably the greatest achievement of “Areas” is that you will find yourself wanting to believe every last word Hodgman writes; be it his story of the extinction of “furry lobsters” (which bear an uncanny resemblance to otters) or his astonishing abridged history of the hobo movement. Also included are hilarious charts and graphs, including a list of several hundred hobo names, a translation of various hobo symbols and more, equally funny (although non-hobo related) subjects. Even the covers of this book are hilarious, right down to Hodgman’s criticism of the praise that the book has received.

It’s no surprise that Jon Stewart asked Hodgman to become a Daily Show correspondent not long after reading it.

“Areas” is not to be missed.