Book Review: One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, by B.J. Novak

I really love B.J. Novak’s sense of humor most of the time.  Granted, I only see what he has to say on Twitter, in his various forays into writing for television, and of course in this book.  For all I know, he could be hugely dull in person, but I somehow doubt it.

This review will not be particularly long.  I thought you should be aware.

I carried this book around with me for a couple of days before I started reading.  Mental health has made it harder to read sometimes because the requirement to calm down and concentrate and get into a book is hard when you’re in the middle of a round of anxiety (or depression, for that matter).  One of the best things about a book in this format is that it lends itself very well to reading in small doses or- and this is what happened for me- being able to handle more of it because the stories changed fairly rapidly.

During one day of our recent vacation, I had something of a crap day, so my husband went into Boston to meet up with writer friends and I spent the day in our inn, resting and reading.  Most inns and B & B’s don’t do television (which is a good thing), so out came the reading material.  Besides, I was in a room in a house once surveyed by Thoreau.  What was I going to do, watch Teen Mom?  Probably, but that’s irrelevant to this review.

To make a long story short (too late!)- this is a funny, sometimes darkly funny, book.

You will run across something that annoys you, probably.  The first story is written in a voice that made me ridiculously irritated and not a little put off.  I remember hoping desperately that this was a stylistic choice.  It was.  It got funnier.  Weirder, sometimes.  Darker, occasionally, but still funny. Some stories are a line or two long.  Some are ironic.  Some are silly.  One was so long I got bored and stopped.  My favorite by far was the tale of a kid who desperately wants to win money for his family, changes his life, and then does exactly the opposite of what the Hallmark Channel would have him do.

My advice, though, is just to read the book if you like B.J. Novak.  If you have no idea who he is but enjoy modern comedy (think The OfficeThe Mindy Project, Arrested Development), try it out.  If you’re looking for jokey, crinkly writing or easy chuckles, they’re not really here, but there is a wry humor and quite a bit of thought-provoking action that is inadvertently humorous- much like life.


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