One more thing Stories and other stories

B. J. Novak, 1979-

Book - 2014

"B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction. A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes--only to discover how claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins--turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with... options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We also meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook. Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just. down. Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might just make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader"--

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1st Floor FICTION/Novak, B. J. Checked In
Subjects
Published
New York : Knopf 2014.
Language
English
Physical Description
176 pages
ISBN
9780385351836
0385351836
Main Author
B. J. Novak, 1979- (-)
  • The rematch
  • Dark matter
  • No one goes to heaven to see Dan Fogelberg
  • Romance, chapter one
  • Julie and the warlord
  • The something by John Grisham
  • The girl who gave great advice
  • All you have to do
  • 'Rithmetic
  • The ambulance driver
  • Walking on eggshells (or: when I loved Tony Robbins)
  • The impatient billionaire and the mirror for Earth
  • Missed connection: grocery spill at 21st and 6th 2:30 pm on Wednesday
  • I never want to walk on the moon
  • Sophia
  • The Comedy Central roast of Nelson Mandela
  • They kept driving faster and outran the rain
  • The man who invented the calendar
  • The ghost of Mark Twain
  • The beautiful girl in the bookstore
  • MONSTER: the roller coaster
  • Kellogg's (or: the last wholesome fantasy of the middle-school boy)
  • The man who posted pictures of everything he ate
  • Closure
  • Kindness among cakes
  • Quantum nonlocality and the death of Elvis Presley
  • If I had a nickel
  • A good problem to have
  • Johnny Depp, fate, and the double-decker Hollywood tour bus
  • Being young was her thing
  • Angel Echeverria, comediante superpopular
  • The market was down
  • The vague restaurant critic
  • One of these days, we have to do something about Willie
  • Wikipedia Brown and the case of the missing bicycle
  • Regret is just perfectionism plus time
  • Chris Hansen at the Justin Bieber concert
  • Great writers steal
  • Confucius at home
  • War
  • If you love something
  • Just an idea
  • Heyyyyy, rabbits
  • The best thing in the world awards
  • Bingo
  • Marie's stupid boyfriend
  • Pick a lane
  • "Everyone was singing the same song": the Duke of Earl recalls his trip to America in June of 1962
  • The pleasure of being right
  • Strange news
  • Never fall in love
  • The world's biggest rip-off
  • The walk to school on the day after Labor Day
  • Kate Moss
  • Welcome to Camp Fantastic for gifted teens
  • There is a fine line between why and why not
  • The man who told us about inflatable women
  • A new Hitler
  • Constructive criticism
  • The bravest thing I ever did
  • Rome
  • The literalist's love poem
  • J. C. Audetat, translator of Don Quixote
  • Discussion questions.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Novak's high-concept, hilarious, and disarmingly commiserative fiction debut stems from his stand-up performances and his Emmy Award–winning work on the comedy series, The Office, as writer, actor, director, and executive producer. Accordingly, his more concise stories come across as brainy comedy bits, while his sustained tales covertly encompass deep emotional and psychological dimensions. An adept zeitgeist miner, Novak excels at topsy-turvy improvisations on a dizzying array of subjects, from Aesop's fables to tabloid Elvis to our oracular enthrallment to the stock market. A master of cringe, Novak imagines a blind date with a warlord, a Comedy Central TV roast of Nelson Mandela, and a mortifying misunderstanding between mega-best-selling novelist John Grisham and his new editor. Writing with zing and humor in the spirit of Woody Allen and Steve Martin, Novak also ventures into the realm of George Saunders and David Foster Wallace. A boy wins a breakfast-cereal contest and discovers a shocking family secret. A sex robot falls in love. A man reveals the heartbreak behind the universally dreaded math problem about the two trains leaving the stations at different times. Baseline clever and fresh, at best spectacularly perceptive, and always commanding, Novak's ingeniously ambushing stories of longing, fear, pretension, and confusion reveal the quintessential absurdities and transcendent beauty of our catch-as-catch-can lives. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Novak's television fame is an instant lure, one that will be pitched far and wide as Novak appears on major talk shows and travels to 20 cities in concert with an immense print and online ad campaign. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

He's been seen on The Office, won a Screen Actors Award for Inglourious Basterds, and will appear shortly in Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks. But Novak also aspires to write, and his publisher compares him to George Saunders. Terse, Woody Allen-esque takes on the absurdities of modern life; with a 150,000-copy first printing. [Page 48]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

What if real-life investigative reporter Chris Hansen (To Catch a Predator) went to a Justin Bieber concert? What if Nelson Mandela were the subject of a celebrity roast on Comedy Central? What if robots learn to love but their owners just want to keep it casual? What if the tortoise and the hare had a rematch? Writer and actor Novak (The Office; Inglourious Basterds) answers all these questions and more in his funny, engaging debut collection. Selections range from snippets of conversation to one-page modern fables to more fully realized selections, such as the touching "One of These Days." Novak is at his most adroit when examining the impact of mobile devices and social networking on our lives. We place plaintive and rambling "Missed Connections" ads when one-night stands go wrong and demand extreme forms of "Closure" when longer relationships fail. VERDICT Novak is a fresh, welcome voice in humor with wide-ranging potential. Die-hard Office fans may be attracted because of his connection, but contemporary humor aficionados and fans of David Sedaris, Woody Allen, Steve Martin, and Mindy Kaling, Novak's costar and friend, are most likely to pick this one up and should enjoy it. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/13.]—Jennifer B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll. Northeast [Page 105]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Novak's debut contains a buckshot 64 fun and funny short stories crammed into a single volume. Part Etgar Keret, part McSweeney's, these tidy tales from the alum of TV's The Office depart from the "how I became famous" comedian's biography for a decidedly more literary turn. The collection's opening story, "The Rematch," is a clever sequel to a classic in which the hare pressures the tortoise into a rematch in an attempt to get past the most shameful defeat of his life. In another standout, "Sophia," a young man custom-orders a sex doll, but is disappointed when he discovers that it possesses artificial intelligence (the first of its kind) and the capacity to feel love. The bulk of Novak's stories are comedic, and more than a few are surprisingly tender. "A Good Problem to Have" features a confused senior citizen pushing into an elementary school classroom to explain how he invented the two-trains-leave-the-station math problem but never got credit for it. If the collection feels uneven at times, like a series of playful asides (a handful of the entries don't reach beyond a few slight lines), perhaps that's because Novak seems to have worked harder on the more substantial stories, which have the pleasing feel of being written by an author in complete control of his craft. First printing of 150,000 announced. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A debut collection by a writer for the television series "The Office" includes the title story, in which a boy's lucrative sweepstakes win proves more harm than good for his family.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A debut collection by a writer for the Emmy Award-winning series The Office includes the title story, in which a boy's lucrative sweepstakes win proves more harm than good for his family.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction.A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes—only to discover that claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins—turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook.  Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just . . . down. Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element just that might make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction.

A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes—only to discover that claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins—turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook.  Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just . . . down.

Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element just that might make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.