I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading B.J. Novak's book of short stories, ONE MORE THING. Actually, I guess I did have certain expectations. I expected a typical collection of a dozen or so short stories. There are more than sixty short stories in ONE MORE THING, ranging from just a few words to about 20 pages long.
And I suppose I also had expectations about the kinds of stories that would be contained in the collection, or about the style of writing. The very first story, "The Rematch," took those expectations and shook them up. It's a sly story about a rematch between the tortoise and the hare. That's all I want to tell you about it.
There is a humorous slant to these stories, but they're not just funny. There's a perspective to them that's creative and unique. They're well written, clever and are exactly as long as they need to be. None of them run out of steam before they are done and, just as importantly, none of them feel like they're ended just to be done with them. (The shortest ones are hit and miss for me, but I don't really have an appreciation for micro-fiction as it is. Perhaps in time.)
I wouldn't say there's a common theme throughout the collection, although some of the stories do relate to each other in subtle, fun ways, and many of them end with a satisfying punch or punch line. I feel like many of these stories began with a musing (some of the musings you, yourself, may have had before, and some you'll wonder why it hadn't ever occurred to you) and were deconstructed in order to be presented in a fresh way.
As I continued reading, I was frequently wowed with the subsequent stories. And then I came to "Kellogg's," a story with a long subtitle about a boy who wins $100,000 from a box of cereal and goes to collect his prize. This is my favorite in this collection and, instantly and undeniably, one of my favorite short stories of all time.
Drop whatever expectations you may have. Just start reading and let yourself sink into short fiction heaven. Or would it be "rise into short fiction heaven?" Whichever.