B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction.
A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes - only to discover how claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins - turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We also meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook. Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just...down.
Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might just make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: They share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the listener.
With special appearances by Lena Dunham, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling, Julianne Moore, Carey Mulligan, Katy Perry, Jason Schwartzman, Emma Thompson, and Rainn Wilson.
Editors Select, February 2014 - If the name B.J. Novak rings a bell for you, you were probably at some point a fan of The Office; he played Ryan Howard in over 150 episodes and behind the scenes, wrote, co-produced, and directed dozens of others. Considering his resume, I knew it was safe to assume many of his stories within would be funny – and they were – but I was pleasantly surprised by how many were just as clever and imaginative. Novak has a knack for observation, and he uses it to create situations that are as honest as they are insane. From the alternate telling of the “Tortoise and the Hare” to the tale of a boy who defies his parents for a chance to win a $10,000 cereal box prize (and discovers his real father in the process), reading his book was like taking a glimpse into the daydreams of a very creative person. And for comedic delivery, listeners are in expert hands with narration from Novak himself, fellow Office alums Mindy Kaling, Jenna Fischer and Rainn Wilson, as well as list of celebrity friends that includes Katy Perry and Juilianne Moore. Fair warning: unlike his TV-writing days, there are no censors to bleep these stories! Normally I can be a little averse to this kind of writing, but for this collection of zany, outrageous tales, Novak manages to pull off this style. Sam, Audible Editor
"It is Mr. Novak’s gift for channeling the way we talk and think today that propels many of the funnier tales here...his precisionist eye for detail, his ability to capture the odd thoughts that burble through his characters’ minds...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." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
"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)
"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)
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It gets better, and better, and better, and better
Hilarious and Sometimes Emotionally Painful
I plan on listening to it again. There's a lot I may have missed the first time around and I think the messages in many of the stories will be more poignant depending on where the reader/listener is in their life.
This is a collection of short stories so there are many characters. I'd say that the writer/narrator is my favorite character because they are all extensions of him.
This is his first novel and he does a great job!
Can I skip picking one of a multitude of random characters and just take B.J. Novak to dinner?
It was a little difficult to get used to the format but I got over that quickly. This is a collection of interesting, funny and often poignant short stories. Some are just for fun and most ask some interesting philosophical questions. I recommend the audiobook version specifically because the author is the narrator and the collection of actors who read for it are fantastic. It's kind of like a radio play and I loved it. Definitely entertaining and worth a listen.
- Alyssa Homan "My commute is long and the audiobooks are longer. Brevity is not my strong suit. @alyssahoman"