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One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 4, 2014
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“In one of the longer entries in his very funny debut collection of stories, B. J. Novak describes a writer and translator named J. C. Audetat, who has a gift for ‘the off-the-cuff vernacular of his day’—or what might be called ‘the poetry of everyday conversations.’. . . The same might be said of Mr. Novak, whose athletic imagination and ear for ‘the language of his own time and place (that is, the vernacular of that 21st-century genus of young, hip Americans, known to frequent urban habitats on the East and West Coasts) are showcased in this volume. . . . Mr. Novak has an idiosyncratic voice that’s distinctively his own, though One More Thing will also produce lots of comparisons to other writers. His more fully developed stories have a sense of the absurdities—and sadnesses—of contemporary American life reminiscent of George Saunders’s short fiction. Others will more likely elicit comparisons to David Sedaris’s books (without the curmudgeonly persona), Steve Martin’s prose pieces (with less conceptual strangeness) and Woody Allen’s Without Feathers and Side Effects (with less emphasis on big, existential questions). . . . Mr. Novak is nimble at showing how easily the ordinary can morph into the extraordinary and adept at making us see the surreal in the everyday. . . A funny writer with a great ear, but also as a genuine storyteller with an observant eye and finely tuned emotional radar.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“B.J. Novak meets--no, exceeds--expectations in ONE MORE THING, firmly establishing him as one of the best humor writers around. . . . The varied length of the stories adds to the pleasure--it's like sampling a multicourse meal instead of gorging just on pizza. . . . Novak's writing mirrors his acting in that both rely on dry wit and dead-pan delivery. His influences run from celebrated New Yorker humorist James Thurber to Steve Martin to the Harvard Lampoon style of comedy (no wonder, as Novak was a member of the publication in college) to stand-up comedian Steven Wright. But he synthesizes those influences and has delivered something wholly original. . . . The longer stories avoid easy laugh-out-loud punch lines in favor of quirky, offbeat twists that showcase his skill as a storyteller. . . . Novak has found success as an actor, screenwriter and producer, but it turns out that the “one more thing” he added to his résumé--author--might be where his greatest talent lies.”—Andy Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter
“Novak’s high-concept, hilarious, and disarmingly commiserative fiction debut stems from his stand-up performances and his Emmy Award–winning work on the comedy series, The Office. . . . Accordingly, his more concise stories come across as brainy comedy bits, while his sustained tales covertly encompass deep emotional and psychological dimensions. An adept zeitgeist miner, Novak excels at topsy-turvy improvisations on a dizzying array of subjects, from Aesop’s fables to tabloid Elvis to our oracular enthrallment to the stock market. . . . Writing with zing and humor in the spirit of Woody Allen and Steve Martin, Novak also ventures into the realm of George Saunders and David Foster Wallace. . . . Baseline clever and fresh, at best spectacularly perceptive, and always commanding, Novak’s ingeniously ambushing stories of longing, fear, pretension, and confusion reveal the quintessential absurdities and transcendent beauty of our catchas-catch-can lives.” —Booklist, starred review
“Novak’s debut contains a buckshot 64 fun and funny short stories crammed into a single volume. Part Etgar Keret, part McSweeney’s, these tidy tales from the alum of TV’s The Office depart from the ‘how I became famous’ comedian’s biography for a decidedly more literary turn. . . . The bulk of Novak’s stories are comedic, and more than a few are surprisingly tender. . . . Written by an author in complete control of his craft.”—Publishers Weekly
"Everyone knew that B.J. Novak was smart and sexy, but funny, too!? Wow, screw that guy. I haven't laughed at words this hard since I read."—Joshua Ferris author of The Unnamed and Then We Came to the End
"ONE MORE THING is a funny and inventive debut collection, infused with a deadpan absurdist wit reminiscent of Woody Allen and Ian Frazier. B.J. Novak's stories are sly and playful, but they can pack a real emotional wallop." —Tom Perrotta, author of Nine Inches
"I am so relieved that I had not read B.J.'s book before I worked with him. I would just have spent every day at his feet instead of doing my job." —Emma Thompson
"Dark and hilarious, like the fudge Grandma used to make during her 'special' period. Deliciously funny!" —Jack Handey, author of Deep Thoughts and The Stench of Honolulu
"B.J. blew me away. He just keeps kicking short fiction in the rear, making it run ahead clutching its ass, and then he runs up and kicks it some more, and the result is one of the most aggressively, insanely awesome debuts in a while." —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
- Publisher : Knopf; 1st edition (February 4, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385351836
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385351836
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.95 x 1.18 x 8.52 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #145,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I picked it up because.. The Office. I was planning to read one or two stories a day, but ended up devouring the entire thing. It’s addicting and just the right length for one more story.. and then another.
Some of my favorite stories:
• The Comedy Central roast of Nelson Mandela- Nelson Mandela gets roasted in a unsettling yet hilarious way- lots of out-of-character jokes. I think the word is savage-funny
• Kellogg’s - Willy wonka like story with a plot twist (I won’t ruin it for you)
• A good problem to have - The man who invented the classic ‘train’ math problem bursts into a classroom demanding credit/reparations for his stolen work
• Sophia- A sex robot falls in love with her owner, and it turns out she gets the world more than he does. (see my highlights)
• Wikipedia brown and the case of the missing bicycle- a cute story that highlights typical google/wiki/internet problems we face, and think are normal
Stories and Other Stories
Reviewed by Author Roy Murry
You have an Inquisitive Mind if you are reading this. I thank you, and B.J. Novak will thank you for buying his book; after all, he is a New York Times Best Selling Author.
Mr. Novak is why I bought his book of short stories. Some so quick they are two or three lines which make you think or maybe not and get bored.
If bored, you don't have an Inquisitive mind. Wake up your brain and buy the book.
I could give you a list of the stories and delve into what I think, but I would be wasting your time.
However, in reading Novak's collection, it suddenly occurred to me that in many ways, a good short story is like a well told joke. You have an intro, a build-up and a punch-line...not necessarily funny, but the more provocative the better. And if it does make you chuckle, where's the harm in that? Especially if you see it leading there all along and like the good 'laugher' in the comedy club, you surrender to the fun.
Novak's experience in stand-up has certainly taught him how to tell a story well. His wry observations of current culture will make you want to share. I predict the term 'recalculating' as he employed it will soon be as over-used as the ubiquitous 'awesome'. Or perhaps it already is in some circles and he is first to point it out. You will see yourself or people you know in this collection—as well as celebrities—brought down to earth with foibles exposed. Somehow though, as with all great storytellers, their humanity does not make them tragic heroes, but lovable ones.
There are some adult themes throughout the book, so reader-beware. But it is overall a funny, though-provoking collection of stories and musings.
Also, there is a great podcast from Studio Q where BJ Novak explains his process in writing this book that is definitely worth a listen!
Top reviews from other countries
Its a quirky little book, both in its stories and its style where the language is sometimes a mixture of quite convoluted and colloquial English.
It's a book that by its nature you can dip in and out of.
You can use it as a bit of a palette cleanser between novels and worth a read if you fancy something a bit different.
Enjoyable enough though not a great.
Can also be used for practical dating advice.
A great read every night before bed to end the day with a smile.