Friday, December 05, 2014

One More Thing: Stories and More Stories by B. J. Novak

B. J. Novak is a contemporary comedian who has been seen on television and in the movies. With his recent book One More Thing: Stories and More Stories, he shows us that comedians are storytellers. They spin stories to make listeners laugh. Novak likes to make us laugh, but in tradition of George Carlin and Dick Gregory, he challenges us to consider subjects that make us uncomfortable.

Novak is bound to offend some readers. I winced several times as I listened to the audiobook as Novak and a cast of actors and actresses read his mostly comic stories. I started to write that he is of the Say Anything School, but I do not believe that is true. Novak sounds spontaneous, but his words are very well chosen.

A part of me thinks Novak's vulgarity is unnecessary in some stories, but another part believes that he depicts a segment of contemporary society as it is. With offensive words, he creates an atmosphere in which his stories seem to have more authority than if he used sanitized language. At least, I imagine it is that way for some readers.

Uncertain whether you want to read One More Thing? Try the first story "The Rematch" which is about the hare wanting the tortoise to give him another chance to race. It is a clever piece that points out that stories never really end, that there is always something next. Novak shows a bit of what he will dish out in heavier doses in later stories.

Novak, B. J. One More Thing: Stories and More Stories. Knopf, 2014. 276p. ISBN 9780385351836.

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