Obtained: Penguin Random House, ARC
Publish date: February 3, 2015
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of B.J. Novak’s One More Thing from Random House of Canada when it got re-released in paperback this month. As a fan of Novak’s sense of comedy and his portrayal of Ryan in The Office, I knew I’d eventually get my hands on a copy of this book and give it a read. I was skeptical at first, because people who act or write for the screen can’t always translate that talent to a novel or collection of short stories in this case, but Novak impressed me very much.
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is, as previously mentioned, a collection of short stories. The difference between short stories and a novel is that these tales have very little time to capture your interest. You barely have the opportunity to learn about all of these characters and fall in love with them, as you would a novel, so a lot is riding on the quality of writing and the message the story is trying to get across. Every single one of Novak’s short stories read, to me, like modern day fairy tales or fables, using witty monologues and striking symbolism to create tales that are not only entertaining but gave me something to think about.
I especially enjoyed how some of the tales were intertwined with others, and the clashing perspectives weren’t revealed to be connected until the end of the second story. One More Thing was funny, charming, and most of all, had me really intrigued as a writer. All I could think while I was reading was, “Wow, this is the kind of stuff I wish I could come up with.” And that’s how I knew it was special.
There are very few books that I can deem “favourites” before I’ve hit the ending, but I knew this gem was something special before I was even halfway finished. It earned five stars on Goodreads and was added to my favourites shelf without even having to contemplate. While reading this book, I laughed out loud a number of times. I couldn’t even put it down. I was reading during my fifteen minute breaks at work, through lunch, before bed – non-stop until I turned the final page and wished there was more.
I may even merit this one a re-read. One of the best books I’ve read in the past year.