Happy to be Here

Happy to be Here

There is a tale to tell.

I bought this book after hearing John Hodgman speak at a library or university, I can’t remember which, that I downloaded from iTunes U. Someone asked what had influenced him and he said Garrison Keillor and Happy to be Here. I acquired the book secondhand and started reading it. For whatever reason I switched to another book and put Happy to be Here back on the shelf.

Meanwhile I was watching Virginia Madsen on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show and I heard that she had been in A Prairie Home Companion, which was Robert Altman’s last film. I added it to my LOVEFiLM rental queue, it arrived a few weeks later and I watched it. There was man in the film who had red shoes and a red tie. I noticed his name on the credits and thought that I’d heard that name before.

Since then I’ve listened to all The News from Lake Wobegon podcasts available on iTunes.

You can certainly see how Hodgman was influenced by Keillor. The humour is wry, homespun and delivered so straight faced that you do begin to wonder what is fact and what is fiction. I’ve often thought that Lake Wobegon should surely have a presence by a large hotel chain to cope with the tourists eager to visit The Sidetrack Tap and The Chatterbox Café.

I didn’t know that the North Dakota Prairie Queen was the first train to have a billiard table and that youngsters were running away to Washington D.C. in the hope that they could work their way through the ranks and one day become an Assistant Secretary.

The book isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, it just makes you smile.

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, 14 February 2012
  • Tagged with book review