Ever since the episode of The Office when BJ Novak, playing temp-turned-executive Ryan Howard, said these words: “I'm not saying I had a meteoric rise. But I did,” I've been a fan of the smarmy bastard. Now that The Office has run its course, Novak has released a collection of short stories, a new outlet for his sly wit.
Some of the stories are very short, only a few lines. They cover a wide range of topics, including Elvis sightings, the first robot capable of feeling emotion, a boy who wins $100,000 in a box of corn flakes, and one hilarious story in which a book by John Grisham is accidentally published with his working title The Something. And if you've ever wondered what would have happened if the tortoise and the hare had a rematch, BJ Novak can tell you, and his interpretation of events is logical and satisfying.
Novak's humor is pretty dry, so if that's not your thing, this book might not be for you. He may be spouting jokes, but he keeps such a straight face, you might end up squinting at the page to see if he's serious. If you enjoyed The Office and its occasionally cringeworthy awkward moments, you'll probably be on board with Novak's brand of humor.
I've said before that short stories can be a nice break if you're used to reading longer works, and this book in particular is good for that because of the lightness of tone. I had fun spending a little time in Novak's kooky world, soaking up his wry observations about life and the people who live it. And why carrot cake has the best frosting.