Best Reads in 2014: Part 2

This is the second of my favorite reads in 2014. View part 1part 3, part 4part 5, and my review of Gilead for the rest. 

One More Thing by B.J. Novak

 BJ Novak is the writer/producer/director/actor most known for his role as Ryan on The Office. This book, his first, is a collection of 64 short stories (he also has a hilarious children’s book out right now). If you are thinking, “My goodness, what an awful lot of stories for such a little book”, you are entirely right.

This book is a little bit all over the place. One reviewer compared it to a bag of trail mix. Most of what’s in it is great, but in every handful there’s something not suited to your taste. Some of the stories are no more than two lines or a haiku. Some of them feel like they could have been nixed after Novak initially wrote the idea down, and others felt like an improv session that never really got to the point. But most of these stories are strong and compelling.  There are stories that are so funny it’s awkward to read them in public. Others were unexpectedly contemplative. Most of the stories are short enough to make this book a good choice for reading in spurts, or on a vacation where you know you’ll be interrupted often. Some of my favorites are:

  • J.C. AUDETAT, TRANSLATOR OF DON QUIXOTE
  • SOPHIA
  • THE REMATCH

I listened to this on audiobook, and I highly recommend that as an experience. Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson, Julianne Moore, Carey Mulligan, Jenna Fischer, Jason Schwartzmann, Lena Dunham, and Katy Perry all step in to do guest appearances on different stories. Perfect for a long road trip (be warned, it’s not necessarily kid friendly) or to listen to while wrapping presents or doing chores.

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