One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories
B. J. Novak's debut book is a collection of short stories can best be described as charmingly well-written. Titled One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, Novak's collection contains over 60 short stories and poems, with premises like a rematch between the tortoise and the hare or Confucius at home or a comedy central roast of Nelson Mandela. The titles are lovely - "the Pleasure of Being Right" or "The Vague Restaurant Critic" or "Kindness Among Cakes" - and I loved how the lengths of the stories and poems varied. Novak, known for his work on The Office, is a "a gifted observer of the human condition and a very funny writer capable of winning that rare thing: unselfconsciousness, insuppressible laughter" (The Washington Post, from the inside cover). One great poem, only three lines, titles "If you Love Something":
If you love something, let it go.
If you don't love something, definitely let it go.
Basically, just drop everything, who cares.
The stories, however, were my favorites. The emotional depth always surprises me in short stories (no matter how many I read), and this collection was no difference. There was true heart in all of them. As the NYT Book Review writes, "beneath the hilarious, high-concept set pieces and satires here beats a surprisingly tender heart." I encourage you, even if you don't get the book (which I totally think you should), to read or listen to excerpts on NPR. Charming, loving, funny, well-written, and absurd at times, Novak's One More Thing should definitely be on your reading list. Rating: ★★★★★