Little Gray Books

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A series of lectures, hosted by John Hodgman, from 2001 to 2006. They were inspired by the 1920s collection of pamphlets Little Blue Books, one of which John's mother gave him when he became a literary agent (#1143, "How to Prepare a Manuscript").[1] Jonathan Coulton served as the musical director for these lectures, performing many originals that would later be released as Other Experiments or reproduced for Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow or during Thing a Week.

The notion of the lecture series was based on a series of useful How-To booklets issued in the early 20th Century with charmingly archaic titles. [2] Each Little Gray Book lecture had a theme and featured a selection of guests. These lectures included readings by authors, novelty demonstrations, comedy and music. Most of the Little Gray Book lectures took place at the Galapagos Art Space, in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn NY.

The only nearly-complete recording of a Little Gray Book lecture is the one made of Lecture 29, on the topic of radio. [3] The lecture took place in Philadelphia, in order to take advantage of radio-quality sound recording at the Indre Studio. [4] However, a total of seven of the lectures were at least partially recorded and released as podcasts. These podcasts were compiled by Jonathan Coulton and John Hodgman and bookmarked with inventive fictional settings and events as described by the two of them. Each podcast reprised readings, songs, or amusing happenings from seven specific past lectures.

Several of Jonathan's songs were written for the lectures or the podcasts, including Skullcrusher Mountain, The Future Soon, Furry Old Lobster, The Presidents, and Brookline, the last of which was prompted by the lecture about Hodgman's hometown of Brookline, Massachusetts.

These lectures included (songs from the lecture in parenthesis):

Lecture #33 is listed as "How to Rest Quietly". It is technically not a lecture, but the title of the Hiatus announcement found currently on the Little Gray Book Lectures website.