One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories
by B.J. Novak
B.J. Novak’s One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut collection that signals the arrival of a welcome new voice in American fiction.
Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, Novak’s assured prose and expansive imagination introduce readers to people, places, and premises that are hilarious, insightful, provocative, and moving-often at the same time.
Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, from the deeply familiar to the intoxicatingly imaginative,One More Thing finds its heart in the most human of phenomena: love, fear, family, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might make a person complete. The stories in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.
Cover image and summary from Goodreads.com
I am going to start this off by saying if you decide to read this book, please, please, please, please go for the audio. It’s probably not that big of a deal if you don’t, but I am just completely smitten by this audio book. It’s read largely by B.J. Novak with a few extra guests (there’s a long list, but the ones that have remained on the tip of my brain include Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson, and Katy Perry(?!)). While the guests are fun, it’s truly B.J. Novak’s voice that won me over. His delivery is fan.tas.tic.
While not actually that long, there are a whole bunch of very different stories of different lengths, depth, and style jam-packed into this little beauty. Because of that there is time for everything– for super short poignant micro-stories that hit you over the head, to long drawn out stories where you’re not exactly sure where everything is going but you might be enjoying the ride.
Novak also has a really good understanding of the literary canon and literature as a whole, and I don’t know exactly why, but that just struck such a positive chord in my book. I think it’s partly because to me it shows that he isn’t writing a book just to write a book. My projection onto him is that he has grounding in literature, and wants to join the conversation, rather than just make an easy buck or write a book just because he can. This is just me playing pretend though, who knows how accurate that statement is :).
Some particular favorites (these aren’t the actual titles):
The one about Frosted Flakes
The date with the warlord
The first robot to have feelings
The John Grisham one
I think one of the reasons why I am so moony over this collection, is because of how Novak uses the element surprise and he make you think (Would you sleep with a warlord? Why or why not?). There were times when I was expecting a big revelation, but then the story just dropped. There were times when I was thinking the story was supposed to be more surface level funny, but then suddenly Novak makes some surprisingly astute observation, or at least leads you to make one of your own.
Basically, Novak really knows how to tell a story.
If words/phrases like: “smarmy bastard,” “a glint in his eye,” and, “mischievous” strike your fancy, definitely pick up One More Thing. Just a warning- if you’re going to listen to the audio there is a pretty good amount of swearing.
Check it out!