cover image Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms

Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms

John Hodgman. Viking, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-56110-1

Comedian and actor Hodgman (Vacationland) discusses being in, but mostly out, of the spotlight in a humorous essay collection that addresses topics including his television appearances and his struggles to maintain his elite airline frequent flier status after he stopped flying extensively for work. “I enjoy being seen and recognized,” Hodgman writes, but “frankly it doesn’t happen often these days.” The author casts himself as a used-to-be-somewhat-famous person trying to figure out his place in the world. “Secret Family” relates how he overspent on a fancy Hollywood hotel, then crashed with friends: “Home is where they have to take you in,” he concludes. He talks about failing to get himself invited to a Golden Globes party (“Career Advice for Children”), scoring free jeans at the Emmy Awards gifting lounge (“Nude Rider”), and attending his 20-year college reunion (“Secret Society”) and seeing “all my old crumbling friends.” Hodgman’s best material focuses on the marketing tricks of the airline industry (“Thank You for Being Gold”), which manipulates passengers, Hodgman included, into competing for perks. “The Sky Lounge is not aspirational,” Hodgman writes. “It is desperational.” This funny, sometimes delightfully absurd book offers sharp meditations on status, relevance, and age, and fame—or at least being fame-adjacent. (Oct.)