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on 11 June 2014
I confess that when I bought One More Thing: Stories and other stories, my expectations were low. I braced myself for a comedian's memoir, not unlike the tens of recent precedents. I foresaw a series of anecdotal tales with varying levels of humour and, if I was lucky, a little pith. I knew Novak only from The Office and, regardless of others' plaudits, I never rated his acting. All of which is to say: I was expecting a car crash.

My expectations were confounded. I thoroughly enjoyed this wide-ranging collection of short stories, which deftly covers every aspect of the human condition. Some stories are a couple of sentences; some are considerably longer. Some are funny; others thoughtful; others genuinely moving. Others miss the mark, but this latter category is by far the smallest. He litters the text with some mildly irritating "discussion questions", which have a tendency to point to the obvious or become indulgently self-aware, but they're easily skipped.

While the stories are clever, however, Novak's ear is excellent. At his best, he crafts lines that live long in the memory, and captures characters and dialogue with the deftness of a literary great. I could write about his use of language all day long, but I'll restrain myself to a handful of examples.

While spinning one corporate yarn, Novak uses the pitch-perfect phrase

"more than 140,000 distinct units of social media approval"

This phrase could have been uttered in any one of tens of meetings I've endured over the past twelve months. It captures so perfectly that self-affirming desire of so many corporate shills to name things in ways which are understood by everyone but familiar to no-one.

Novak is also possessed of a poetic ability to use adjectives in a metaphorical, rather than literal, way. This seems to have become rarer in recent years, for reasons that I don't fully understand. But Novak has a teacher "nodding without moving their head", and some "bold, capital numbers" to name but two examples.

I feel obliged to single out some individual stories for comment. If I Had a Nickel was, perhaps, the only story which was far longer than its point required. Closure felt tricksy, rather than clever, and didn't make much of a point. Beyond that, most of the stories are pretty good. Some are brilliant.

Recently, I've given poor reviews (in both senses of that phrase) to books by Paul Carr and Dave Cicirelli which cover much the same ground as Novak's One of these days, we have to do something about Willie. And yet, Novak communicates more and gives more pause for thought about the same topics in a short story than either of those two managed in their respective books combined.

The Man Who Invented the Calendar is one of his "Just So" style stories, which I had previously read in the New Yorker without ever mentally attributing to Novak. Indeed, it is one of the weaker of these stories in the book, but I suspect reading it will provide some indication as to whether one might like the book as a whole.

For my money, this book is great. It is a bold and captivating literary debut, and the most thoughtful and enjoyable book I've read in some months. Novak is a bona fide literary talent, and I'll hunt out his next work.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 6 February 2014
“One More Thing” by B.J. Novak is a collection of stories for a new generation, a debut work written by man who is still more known as actor and producer of comedy series "The Office", but after this collection will certainly expand the circle of people who will be familiar with his work.

Inside, reader can find around seventy short stories, some of them more like anecdotes told in sentence or two, while some others go up to fifteen or so pages, without some common theme that characterizes the entire collection instead ranging from SF and love stories to the interesting satire and contemplation of youth.

Novak manages to surprise the reader while his stories are written in different styles and narration - sometimes being over-romantic, sometimes simply playful and silly – providing unexpected actions from his characters and behaviors that could not be foreseen. His writing certainly will not appeal to fans of classic stories, but it seems that this fact does not bother him too much because his stories are intended for the new generation, accustomed to obtaining quick and concise information.

And although I cannot say that I liked all the stories in collection, far from it, even that all of them are funny, few of them such as "Kellogg's" are truly excellent and will remain in the memory of the reader after closing the last page.

Novak has a talent for humor, and in which direction it will continue to take him in terms of writing, it remains to be seen. But what is certain is that with “One More Thing”, his first collection of stories, B.J. Novak made a good entry into the literary waters therefore making his collection recommended for reading.
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on 22 April 2014
I didn't really know what to expect from B.J. Novak as an author of short stories but these absolutely floored me. I couldn't get enough of them and enjoyed reading each, mulling it over and diving into the next one. Recommended for those who enjoy alternating between deep thoughts and quick giggles.
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on 4 June 2016
I started off by finding this book of witticisms in short, shorter and even shorter stories amusing but about two thirds of the way in, I was losing the will to live. That's when I took another book on holiday with me, loved it and then returned to this to finish it just as I returned to work, equally saddened. Some are jokes with a punchline that is amusing, some are ironic witticisms on modern life, some are intellectual criticism of book reviewers, but overall I wasn't that taken with BJ, my dirty mind didn't even find the granny giving BJs that amusing. I never get rid of any book but if this was one fell off the back of a moving van, I'd not cry.
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on 11 December 2015
AUDIOBOOK review - I came to this without any knowledge of the author and left looking impatiently for the next book from Mr Novak. Funny, shocking and beautifully performed (by some well known people) this audiobook is never far from my cd player. Brilliant work... now where's the next one!
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on 20 February 2015
This book of short stories includes a huge range - from funny to classic, from one-liners to longer page turners. As a result there's probably some stories you won't enjoy, but equally there's guaranteed to be some you will! Definitely recommend this book.
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on 29 October 2015
I bought this largely on the Amazon reviews - big mistake. The content is tedious, rambling and plainly self-indulgent. This, I assure you, is of zero artistic merit .... and not even mildly amusing. It is self-indulgent drivel.
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on 22 April 2016
After the joyous experience of reading The Book with No Pictures to my child, I ordered this book of short stories with eagerness. I was not disappointed.

The stories are witty, but also have depth and poignancy.
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on 29 April 2016
The best book of short stories I've ever read. Every time you think you know how a short story can be, he does something else. Fascinating and inspiring.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 February 2014
You may well want to listen to this alone or with someone who loves you very much because you're going to frequently laugh out loud. B.J. Novak, known to many of us as the writer/actor/director of the hit TV comedy The Office has given us a hilarious debut with One More Thing. It's a pastiche of what we experience as humans - love, hope, fear, acceptance, ambition and more. Novak is obviously one blessed with an outre imagination and the ability to surprise. The 63 stories and vignettes are short, sometimes a bit longer and all infused with insight and rare humor. I mean where else will you find that wearing a red T-shirt all the time just might help someone find love?

These pieces cover a vast range of places and themes. To do justice to each in addition to his own entertaining narration we're treated to readings by Lena Dunham, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling, Julianne Moore, Carey Mulligan, B. J. Novak, Katy Perry, Jason Schwartzman, Emma Thompson and Rainn Wilson. Each performance is a praiseworthy original.

Enjoy this rousing yet spot-on sensitive collection then share it with your friends - they'll thank you for it.

- Gail Cooke
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