There has been a lot of hype recently about B.J. Novak’s One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories. This book of fiction with a minimalist cover is described as entertaining and original. I have never seen The Office, so I was not familiar with Novak’s work prior to reading One More Thing. I was excited to read it because of the format in which it started . Novak originally told all of the stories in One More Thing to audiences around the world; he tried out the material on them. I had never heard of an author approaching his work in that way and, with my increasing interest in Slam/Spoken Word poetry, I was curious about what had passed the test. One More Thing is a series of short stories. And by short I mean really short. Most are four pages, but they range from three lines to 15 pages. It was great because every time I finished a story, I felt very accomplished. In fact, I read the whole book in two days. I have never read anything like it. It was refreshing.
While the humor Novak uses is not quite my style, I did find the stories somewhat humorous. The satire is really effective. In one story, the main character is on a museum tour and he wants to know what dark matter is. He goes so far as to physically threaten the tour guide afterwards into telling him what dark matter is. However, when the tour guide reveals that he is the only man in the world who knows and begins to explain it, all the main character can do is think about the texts his friends did not send and the party which they may or may not have excluded him from with good or bad intentions. It was a funny way to address the issue we have with being where we are and focusing on what is important. The stories are all unique and creative, but, perhaps more importantly, they were very purposeful. Each story had a distinct meaning that I think could have been meaningful in many ways to many different people. It’s a very accessible medium. It earns a Books to Mark Recommendation.
Sidenote: There were two young girls in the cafe where I write my posts. They were a couple of tables away from me doing their homework. I was trying to write my blog post and I heard something familiar. Looking over, I saw them each with a copy of The Giver by Lois Lowry, reading it out loud and verbally recalling different aspects of the book. One girl struggled with a sentence and the other said it quickly, followed by “keep going.” When they stood up to leave a few minutes later I learned that knowing which One Direction heartthrob the other prefers is an essential characteristic of being BFFLs. I just really liked that they were reading The Giver aloud. It isn’t often that reading can be a communal experience, but it is very nice when it is.
Spring is really on its way (let’s hope!!), I can’t believe it is the end of February. I am four books into my 40-book 2014 Goodreads Challenge! I’d say that is a good start.