Monday, July 7, 2014

"One More Thing" by B.J. Novak

The Office was one of my favorite shows for years, and B.J. Novak was always a part of that. Though he was only sometimes on the show as temp--and later boss--Ryan, his behind the scenes role as writer was much more significant. One More Thing is his first published book, a collection of fictional short stories.

The stories are very short--my high school students would be thrilled--which makes for easy reading. Most stories are perhaps 3-4 pages; some are only a few sentences.

The stories are absurd and random and frequently worthy of a light chuckle. But they also fail to go beyond such juvenile smirking--they lack any emotional resonance. For that reason, the book comes off as mostly fluffy rather than especially engaging.

That's not to say they're not occasionally clever, particularly when touching on pop and celebrity culture. A story about "Wikipedia Brown"--a spin-off of the Encyclopedia Brown of our childhood--was quite funny, as was a story about Stephen King suddenly recognizing one of his books was published with a stand-in (not permanent) title.

The book would be a good "time to kill" text--something to read snippets of while waiting for a doctor's appointment or wanting a 10-minute wind down before bed.

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