One More Thing

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One More Thing (Photo: Random House)I was really excited to learn that BJ Novak (you know, Ryan from The Office) was coming out with a book of short stories. He was a writer and co-executive producer of that show for years and he’s really, really talented. Also, did you see him in Saving Mr. Banks over the Christmas break as one of the young Disney songwriters working on Mary Poppins? Brilliant.

Also, Novak made a really silly trailer for this book with his pal Mindy Kaling (I listened to her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? back in November), which is really worth checking out.

So when One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories came out a few weeks ago, I instantly ordered it and put it on my to-read list for the February break. I’m so glad I did, because it’s genuinely my favourite thing I’ve read so far this year. There’s a really comprehensive New York Times review of the book here, but the book is basically made up of 64 vignettes, or short stories. They range in length from two lines to several pages, which makes it a quick, fun read.

Some are funny, some are touching, some are silly and some are quite thoughtful. All of them are very, very clever. My favourites were “Everyone Was Singing The Same Song”: The Duke of Earl Recalls His Trip to America in June of 1962 (in which the actual Duke of Earl doesn’t understand why everyone seems to be humming the same song when he introduces himself), and A Good Problem to Have, in which Novak imagines the frustrations of the man who invented the style of math problems in which two trains pass each other while travelling at different speeds in opposite directions.

I’m not normally drawn to short stories, but I’m so glad I bought this one. I have a feeling I’m going to be lending it to a lot of people.

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Merry Christmas!

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When I returned to my hometown of Calgary just over a year ago (after nearly ten years away in Toronto, then England and finally Australia), I wasn’t sure what 2013 would bring. But fortunately, I’ve had the warmest welcome a girl could ask for. I’ve had the chance to reconnect with some old friends, make new ones, pursue some personal and professional goals and spend some much-needed time with my family. I couldn’t have done all of this anywhere else, and 2013 turned out to be one of the best years ever. There really is no place like home.

There will be many more books to blog about in the days ahead, but today I wanted to share Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi’s rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Calgary. Our fabulous mayor is just one of many reasons that this city is such a great place to live (and isn’t it awesome that he reads?).

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your holiday season is happy, peaceful and spent in the company of friends and family.