Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: "One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories," B.J. Novak

Title: One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories
Author: B.J. Novak
Pages: hardcover, 276 pages
Publisher: Knopf
Released: February 4, 2014
Length: 6 hrs 48 mins
Publisher: Random House Audio
Release: February 4, 2014

I'll come back and write a proper review once I emerge from the depths of my ex-Comp-Lit-major delight, but for now:

Far more hits than misses, and so inventive and enchanting without straining or being hammy about it. This is some goddamn *writing* we have here. The whole way through I was fascinated not by how good this work is, but how great the next one will be, and the next, and the next... Who debuts so well? It's baffling and beautiful at once. He doesn't always hit, so I can't give five stars, but when he does? You are going to feel so rewarded. And feel you will -- Novak is unexpectedly provocative, and if you have a soul, you'll take a few solid breathers after some of these pieces.

I'm glad I got this as an audiobook, even though that is pretty much never my preferred format. These stories were meant to be performed and heard -- in fact, he quite literally read them in front of audiences for more than a year before publishing. Do yourself a favor and get the Novak-read/performed audio version, certainly in addition to the print if you can make it. The performances are outstanding and you'll really appreciate the tone of each story better.


Miscellany:
  • If you do wish to pick up both the print and audio versions, the lower-priced paperback goes on sale in mid-April (though with a much more commercial headshot cover, sadly). 
  • Random House Audio and/or Audible, why in the world did you think not including a table of contents was a good idea here?  I really have to listen to the first ten seconds or so of each chapter to find a story I want to hear again?  Monsters.

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