BJ Novak is better known as Ryan “the Temp” Howard in the popular sitcom “The Office”. This talented scriptwriter and actor penned 63 vignettes (64 if we include the Discussion Questions), collected and released them as his debut to the literary world.
Novak’s writing is fluid and fun, but it can also be satirical and irreverent at times. The best part is its poignancy, though. There is depth and truth even when the story is ridiculously funny. His observations are keen and interesting.
“I think it’s better to not know certain things. It gives the world an extra bit of mystery, which is important to us as human beings.”
“Regret is just perfectionism plus time.”
My only concern is that these slice-of-life stories are slices too many. I mean 64 stories… Come on! I took a couple of breathers and read books beside before finally finishing the whole book. So, my advice is to get on with the longer ones first, which are largely more cohesive anyways, before polishing the rest off.
And before I sign off, I goaded myself into answering the Discussion Questions:
- Did you think the book was funny? Why or why not?
Yes, it was funny. Not hilariously funny at most, but quietly humorous.
- Did you flip through the book and read the shortest stories first? The author does that, too.
No, I did not. I should have read the long ones first, though.
- What is quantum nonlocality? Be concise.
It suggests that parts of the universe, despite the vast distance, are potentially connected in an intimate and instantaneous way. (I think that one just made my brain bleed.)
- Do you think discussion questions can be unfairly leading sometimes? Why?
Yes, it can. Well, sometimes it felt like being led to the stock and getting the prize for whomever made the questions.
- Who are we suppose to be discussing these questions with?
With whoever read the book too, I believe.
- 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?
That is highly unusual, we have yet to experience it, but it seems impolite to ignore a good and relevant question. On the other hand, if it happens and the question is irrelevant, I have no problem deleting the question altogether.
- Do you think “why not?” is ultimately a better question than “why”?
- Why or why not?
Since it poses the same argument.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Here are excerpts from the book: