|Spoken Word CD||CD NOVAK, B. J.||Audiovisual Collection|
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.nbsp; 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. WITH SPECIAL APPEARANCES by Lena Dunham, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling, Julianne Moore, Carey Mulligan, Katy Perry, Jason Schwartzman, Emma Thompson, and Rainn Wilson
*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.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publisher's Weekly Review
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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
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 (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.