Top Ten Stories And Other Stories From B.J. Novak's One More Thing
The first book generally hilarious B.J. Novak, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is filled with narratives that astound readers with audible laughter and sensitive thoughts about human existence. And maybe you were asking yourself whether you should read this book? Or maybe you are wondering what stories to start with? Maybe you have a very busy schedule and you can only read ten. Well, you are in luck, here are the ten most entertaining short stories from One More Thing (as decided by me, my word is law):
10. Julie and the Warlord
Coming in at #10, this story is a great introduction to the realm of B.J. Novak fiction. It's got silliness, stereotypes, and two characters you can (sort of) root for. Basically, Julie is on a blind date with a Warlord. And if Julie is anything like me, she has to take what she can get. Underneath it all, Novak proves that people are just people.
Favorite quote: "'Then what kind of lord are you, anyways, eh?' she asked with an old-timey 'what's the big idea' accent. God, she was a bit tipsy, wasn't she?"
9. Dark Matter
As one of the first stories, this particularly struck me because of B.J. Novak's ability to pose a serious question, add in quirky characters for the ride, and tie the whole thing up with a "nothing really matters" bow but manage to tell a compelling and hilarious narrative. There are just some things in this world that shouldn't have answers, I suppose.
Favorite quote: "I felt a little bad because in my impression I gave the scientist a lisp, which he didn't have in real life, but that's the part that made my friends laugh the hardest, so, who knows."
8. The Walk to School on the Day After Labor Day
Ahh! The first truly short story to enter the list! What I like most about this book is the one-pagers. They are a quick comedy fix, and you can totally recycle them for parties and pretend like you made it up yourself (I definitely haven't done this, verrrrrry good idea though).
This one-pager hits the nail on the head for all us true blue haterz out there...
Favorite quote (only quote): "I was sad that summer was over. But I was happy that it was over for my enemies, too."
7. Missed Connection: Grocery spill at 21st and the 6th 2:30 pm on Wednesday
This brilliant satire of a chance meeting is everything to me. It might be because I read a lot of missed connection ads growing up, or it might be because I have written a lot of missed connection ads as a grown up (either/or).
Favorite quote: "I slept on my back which you said was pretentious and I said, 'what do you mean? That's just how I sleep! How can it be pretentious?' and you said, 'like you think you're a beautiful angel or something'..."
This story took me on a roller coaster ride (a MONSTER one, perhaps?). This was the first non-comedy, not-even-a-little-bit-dramedy piece I read from One More Thing. It was poignant and thoughtful and clever, and it was the missing piece in this collection of stories. I didn't know that I needed to read this story until I read it. I know I am being vague and possibly overhyping, but the truth is that "Sophia" is a story for the new age that we all might relate to one day.
Favorite quote: "'Yes!' she said. 'That's what I was trying to say before! There's always going to be one more thing. Because that's what infinite feels like. And the difference between love and everything else is that it's infinite...or it feels like it is, anyway...'"
5. Chris Hansen at the Justin Bieber Concert
I think the funniest thing about this story is that everyone knows the Chris Hansen, they might not know why they know...but they do. But no one ever really thinks about Chris Hansen, not long enough to write a story about a slice of his life. But this is story carries a joke where the humor stems from truth. And that's another reason why this story is funny.
Favorite quote: "'I have to stare straight ahead, right at Justin Bieber, never taking my eyes off him, not even for a second. And when people see me at a Justin Bieber concert, staring holes into Justin Bieber, you know what they think? They think, Ahhhhh, it all makes sense now. And I don't even care--I don't have an ego about stuff like that.'"
4. Kellogg's (or: The Last Wholesome Fantasy of the Middle School Boy
Now, I love me some coming-of-age narratives. Can't help it! I'm only human! A human who has taken one too many American Lit classes in college! This particular narrative is fresh, funny, and just a little cheesy. Novak's writing style takes many different forms throughout this book, but always has the same soul. This facet of his writing is unafraid to be immature and unpretentious despite presenting (yet again) sophisticated trains of thought.
Favorite quote: "It wasn't okay at all, and looking back, I think that question represented the birth--forced under high pressure at the age when a moment like this is bound to be born anyway--of my first pulse of truly sophisticated manipulation."
3. The Comedy Central Roast of Nelson Mandela
"The following is a transcript of excerpts from the unaired 2012 special, The Comedy Central Roast of Nelson Mandela. There is currently no broadcast date for this special."
...do you need any more convincing?
2. The Man Who Invented the Calendar
You gotta love a good origin story. Things start falling into place so nicely, and so many accepted parts of life are explained. And everyone is familiar with the Gregorian calendar, so it's funny to everyone, promise. You'll laugh because it's soooooooo truuuuuuue. You'll laugh because it's definitely not true. Basically, you'll laugh at it all (at least a good couple chuckles), so have I convinced you to read it yet?
Favorite quote: "February 28th--I hate this month. I just can't take one more day of it. this month will just have to be shorter than the rest, and if people don't like it, they can go fuck themselves."
1. The Bravest Thing I Ever Did
Yet another flawless one-pager coming in at the top of this list!
I don't think I have been so surprised by a joke in years. I mean, I remember when I watched my first Demetri Martin special, but nothing compares to this story. I'm sure the humor will wear off. I'll read it one too many times. I'll grow out of my joking sensibilities and forget all about this one page of literary amusement. But for today, I will be laughing at this joke incessantly soooooo you know where to find me.
You don't get a quote from this story. Sorry guys. But that's how important it is to me that you get the highest amount of enjoyment out of this story. That's how much I care.