Weekend Reads: Vacationland

Vacationland, John Hodgman

©Viking

As someone who has lived most of her life in Massachusetts and spent summers vacationing with family on an island in Maine, I can unselfishly say that John Hodgman’s book, Vacationland, felt like it was written for me. In fact, there’s a chapter roughly halfway through Vacationland entitled ‘Maine Humor’ that rang true. Maine Humor, according to Hodgman, “is a very specific subset of comedy. It consists mostly of men with flinty, down-east accents giving bad directions to people from far away.” I know those men. I grew up with those men. And John Hodgman, whether he realizes it or not, might just be one of them.

I started recommending Vacationland before I had finished it to friends who, like myself and like Hodgman, have split their time between Maine and Massachusetts. Of course, you don’t need to have grown up on the East Coast to enjoy reading Vacationland (even if it does help a little.) Fans of Hodgman’s popular podcast, Judge John Hodgman, will likely enjoy chapters like “Daddy Pitchfork” (the title alone is spectacular), “Graveyard Fun”, and “So Thin Is The Skin of My People” (in which Hodgman very eloquently and respectfully discusses the tragic stories of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile.)

Maybe you’re like me and grew up splitting your time between Massachusetts and Maine. Or maybe you’re like me and defer to memoirs written by comedians when you read non-fiction. Or maybe you’re not like me at all. Regardless, Vacationland is wonderful, and entertaining, and absolutely worth your time and a space in your TBR pile.

Weekend Reads is a Friday column of The Nerd League featuring nuggets of wisdom on the literary world. Our in-house galley virtuoso tends to have the scoop on stuff before it’s even out. To keep up with this week’s pick click here.   

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