- File Size: 856 KB
- Print Length: 251 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 24, 2017)
- Publication Date: October 24, 2017
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06VTV2899
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,605 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$17.00|
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Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches Kindle Edition
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|Length: 251 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor
“I love everything about this hilarious book except the font size . . . can a fella get a 16 point Helvetica up in this thing.”
“Subtle and profound . . . A strange and very funny book—one that makes comedy out of the anxieties and indignities of middle age.”
“Achingly funny . . . Sharp, silly, and sensitive, Vacationland is a literary selfie of a concerned citizen storyteller—one in which the oldest slice of the United States does a little inelegant photobombing.”
“Very funny . . . Setting it down, you’re left with the sense that you’ve just finished a long, pleasant trip into the author’s mind. As far as travel destinations go, it’s a welcome one, a warm harbor against cold winds.”
—The AV Club
“An ambitious departure from Hodgman’s previous authorial endeavors. It’s funny, but it’s no joke. The book is a cleverly composed meditation on one privileged American’s life—and, glancingly, on America—at a crucial moment for both.”
“Wholly profound . . . Deeply poignant . . . Vacationland presents a world worth sinking into.”
“Reading the book is a particular pleasure . . . Hodgman has a gift for capturing the modes and mores of New England in a way that is wry and true.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Brilliant . . . the funniest book we’ve read since David Sedaris’s Theft by Finding: Diaries. You’re gonna love it.”
“Equal parts funny and sincere . . . A thoughtful and insightful glimpse inside the mind of one of the funniest writers today.”
“It’s just as funny as his previous books; it’s better than all of them.”
“A treasure . . . [Vacationland] isn’t just funny . . . it’s also sneaky as hell.”
“Outside of these pages, you will not find a more tender irony, a gentler wickedness, a more perfect tone, a regard more unflinching and forgiving. At some point, long after I gave up resisting the near-constant impulse to laugh out loud, I came to the realization that with Vacationland, Hodgman has established himself as a memoirist and, unquestionably, a master prose stylist, of rare power and restraint.”
“‘West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are dark narrow glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where thin brooklets trickle without ever having caught the glint of sunlight,’ H.P. Lovecraft wrote. He was talking about western Massachusetts. And we all know about Maine, thanks to Stephen King. Rabid dogs, vampires, space aliens, sh*t weasels, and worse things, all hanging around that Castle Rock place. These are terrifying places, awful places, where strange screams echo though the night and the people eat giant aquatic insects they call lobsters. You don’t want to go near them.
Fortunately John Hodgman has gone there so you don’t have to, and he has seen it all. Beaches with rocks sharp as knives, sinister cairns, waters cold enough to stop your heart, raccoon feces . . . oh, the tales he tells! It’s all there in Vacationland! Lovecraft warned us, King warned us, and now comes Hodgman with the terrible truth. Oh, the horror, the horror . . . ”
—George R. R. Martin
“This book is genuinely it-will-make-you-laugh funny, it is a wistful and sad examination of the impulse that causes us to move to out of the way places and of what John Hodgman found when he went there, and it is always wiser than it seems. If you do not read it, you will be missing out on something special.”
“John Hodgman is a literary wizard, an imaginative humorist, and a true man of mystery. Everything he writes is an adventure. Vacationland just happens to be his most fabulous work to date.”
—Jonathan Scott, co-host of HGTV’s “Property Brothers”
“I am delighted that Vacationland exists, because it will finally prove something to the world that I have known for years: John Hodgman is a seriously great writer. It's easy to miss this point about John, as his literary talents are often overshadowed by his well-known and much-loved sense of humor. But this is a man whose mind and heart have always been devoted to the craft of writing. These essays demonstrate his rare gift in a volume that is rich with sensitivity, subtlety, grace, and—yes, of course— wit. I absolutely love it.”
“Dazzling . . . Genuine laughs on every page, what a joy!”
“Now I know why John Hodgman was always making up so many facts—the truth of his life is so painful and hilarious. Who can blame him? Get nice and pre-cringed and dive into Vacationland.”
“This here yarn has everything you want—laughs, love, death, and the obligatory legume-shaped boat. Hodgman’s wide-eyed sense of place is as irresistible as his playful yet unflinching sense of self.”
—Sarah Vowell, bestselling author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States
“I love this book. I love it unreservedly. . . . It’s the sort of book I get preemptively defensive about: ‘Show me the guy who doesn't like this book,’ my inner monologue runs. ‘Show him to me, that I may mock him for his lousy sense of humor and his inability to know good prose when he sees it.’”
—John Darnielle, bestselling author of Universal Harvester and primary member of the Mountain Goats
“John Hodgman thinks we’re rubes, trying to convince us he’s some unlovable fraud or a post-post Dick Cavett. But his wondrous Vacationland proves the truth: he is a man from the future sent here to save us with comedic metaphors, relishable scoldings, and neoclassic wit.”
—Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The Escape Artist
“We’ve known for a while now that John Hodgman is a master of invention. It is completely unsurprising—and an absolute joy—to find he is every bit as funny and brilliant when confronting the truth of his own life. Moving, hilarious, and deeply heartfelt, Vacationland is a wonder.”
—Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, bestselling author of The Nest
“John Hodgman returns to the page with a humorous, yet sincere look at his time spent on the beaches of Maine and his trek through middle age. . . . With a dry wit and ample amounts of self-depreciation, Hodgman offers a humorous take on adulthood and the harsh, unforgiving beaches of eastern Maine.”
—Charleston City Paper
“Hodgman’s new book—a memoir about fatherhood, aging, travel, and his home state of Massachusetts—is the most (maybe the first) unironic thing in his career.”
“Hodgman is a disarmingly witty storyteller, at once waggish and incisive, droll and tender. Indeed, deep feelings flow beneath the mirth.”
“Readers will be laughing out loud.”
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I have known many graduates of Bryn Mawr. They are all of the same mold. They have all accepted the same bright challenge: something is lost that has not been found, something's at stake that has not been won, something is started that has not been finished, something is dimly felt that has not been fully realized. They carry the distinguishing mark – the mark that separates them from other educated and superior women: the incredible vigor, the subtlety of mind, the warmth of spirit, the aspiration, the fidelity to past and to present. As they grow in years, they grow in light. As their minds and hearts expand, their deeds become more formidable, their connections more significant, their husbands more startled and delighted. I once held a live hummingbird in my hand. I once married a Bryn Mawr girl. To a large extent they are twin experiences.
Sometimes I feel as though I were a diver who had ventured a little beyond the limits of safe travel under the sea and had entered the strange zone where one is said to enjoy the rapture of the deep.
Top international reviews
I’ll admit upfront that I am biased: I admire John Hodgman enormously and enjoy his humour.
His previous immensely popular books of fake facts led the reader on wonderful journeys down rabbit holes of trivia. But times move on and fake facts are no longer the fun diversion they once were.
Vacationland is a stunning change of pace for Hodgman.
Entering his 40s he reached sudden clarity on his own mortality and potential lack of relevance in a youth-driven culture. He does not show any bitterness, however, but accepts that this is the natural order of things. We pave a way for those who come after. But - he is not obsolete yet!
In modest and self-deprecating terms he describes himself as a “strange, white, male monster with bad facial hair”. He shares key moments of his life, and sets them in the context of the locations where he has lived, from The Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts to the “painful beaches” of Maine where he attests he will someday accept his death. He talks about his teenage years, fatherhood, and life as a ‘minor television celebrity’, and reflects on the events that have made him who he is.
Hodgman’s style is conversational, with beautiful descriptive passages that really evoke the visual scene or the emotional tone, and you can hear his distinctive voice as you read his words. The tales are funny, revealing, and downright heartbreaking at times. He shares himself with us as never before.
John Hodgman is a wonderful storyteller and Vacationland totally satisfies, yet leaves you hoping for sequels. Highly recommended!
I have never been to Maine or to Masachussets but I feel a longing for these places and a kinship with the people that live there, after this book.
A beautiful book that one can read in one sitting or enjoy with a cognac in front of a fire over many sittings.
I look forward to the next installment in John Hodgman's real life.
Additionally, I do not think it is well written.