Saturday Of Book Reviewing – BJ Novak’s One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

Now, while this book was super entertaining, I don’t really have much to add to that. It was fun. Light. But it wasn’t really a piece that I would revisit; it didn’t offer any intense moral lessons or revealing new facts about life or the world or thought. I enjoyed it’s skewing of expectations and surprising inversions of old tales. However, this would be a very short review if that’s all I had to say.
So instead of going my traditional reviewing route and inserting interesting excerpts, instead I am going to answer the questionnaire at the end of the book. Here goes!

1. Did you think the book was funny? Why or why not?
Yes, but probably not as funny as the writer thought it was going to be. About halfway through, I started expecting humor in the stead of substance.
2. Did you flip through the book and read the shortest stories first? The author does that, too.
Nope. That’s definitely cheating, and, to my mind, speaks to a lack of patience and character in the reader.
3. What is quantum nonlocality? Be concise.
Blah blah blah
4. Do you think discussion questions can be unfairly leading sometimes? Why?
Absolutely yes. With a carefully chosen turn of phrase, you can plant ideas in the mind of your reader, occasionally so subtly they won’t even notice where you’ve led them.
5. Who are we supposed to be discussing these questions with?
Random strangers and long time friends.
6. Do you normally have discussions in response to a question that was posed by a person not participating in the discussion? Why or why not?
` I possess vague memories of sitting in English Literature class, answering questions posed by the author of our textbook, who was most decidedly not participating in said discussion. That being admitted, no, I do not normally, because there is no teacher present in my day to day life to force me to do so.
7. Do you think “why not” is ultimately a better question than “why”?
8. Why or why not?
Because the burden of proof falls on the person pushing forth a theory; why asks for reasoning, why not asks for an absence of such.

Right. So there are my answers. Would I recommend One More Thing? Absolutely, you know, as long as the goal is a quick, clever read to pass the time.

Jessie Gutierrez

DISCLAIMER: Part of me feels I am perhaps holding Novak’s work to an unreachable standard; after all, Kurt Vonnegut wrote many brilliant short stories, and it is his words by which I grade all others. Still! Lessening standards just so we can reach them more easily is sad and terrible, and I will do no such thing!

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