Ever wonder what would happen if the hare pestered the tortoise for a rematch? Well B.J.Novak, writer, actor, co-executive producer of TV’s popular show The Office, has indeed thought about it. You may remember him as Ryan – the office temp, turned hotshot – on the show. In his new book “One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories”, is a collection of short stories that are witty, sharp and delightfully original. As you quickly go from one story to the next, it feels like a reel of endless entertainment, and as each story runs into another with a completely refreshing plotline, you won’t help but chuckle softly to yourself. Sometimes, there may be even a brilliant tie-in to another story like the guy in the red shirt with a pocket.
In the story titled “All you have to Do” Novak figures out an innovative solution for singles to help them find that special someone. In the interest of no spoilers it is such a simple solution that you will whack yourself on the head thinking, “why didn’t I think of that before”.
While it may have come across that B.J.Novak’s short stories are all light and funny, there actually are some with dark elements to them. Intertwined with the realm of the unexpected the dark moments beautifully superimpose in the most normal of situations. Take the blind date scenario, where a couple meet up for the first time and the conversation delves into what the guy does for a living – he’s a warlord.
When asked in an interview, Novak mentions that the balance of light and dark and always trying to surprise people with exactly what that balance would be, is something he thought at first was “just my writing voice”:
“I am fascinated by contrast and the ironic underpinnings of emotions; when you think one thing is one way and it’s really another. I guess, I never see pure happiness and success… I always think of it as comedic surprise…I never want the audience to know where I’m headed.”
Along with exploring the satirical stories of Tony Robbins and John Grisham, Novak even manages to artfully throw in a reference to Random House, the parent company of Knopf Doubleday Publishing, who published the book; kudos to scoring extra brownie points from the publisher.
Performing his stories on stage gave him a personal compass to what’s great and what’s not.
“On a personal level, I never take anything at face value.”
This Harvard-educated comedian, passionate entertainer and insightful writer, has written a book that at the crux of it, is always touching and unexpectedly original. And, as short stories go, that’s a tough feat to accomplish.
And, one more thing…
Enjoy this book trailer for B.J.Novak’s One More Thing: Stories and other stories
Review by @ShilpaRaikar
5/5 Sukasa Stars