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B.J. Novak Reads Excerpts of New Book at Sold-Out Brattle Theatre Event

By Jennifer S Shi
By Forrest K. Lewis, Crimson Staff Writer

Less than a week after the release of his debut book, “One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories,” Harvard College alumnus and actor B. J. Novak ’01 read excerpts from his compilation of 63 fictional narratives to a sold-out Brattle Theatre audience Monday evening.

During the reading, Novak, a Newton, Mass. native, often referred satirically to “a school in Harvard Square,” referencing his alma mater, where he was an active member of the Hasty Pudding Club as well as the Harvard Lampoon, a semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine.

Novak prefaced his reading with an anecdote about ordering “The Mindy Kaling” from Mass. Ave. burger joint Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers, a dish named after his co-star in the hit television series, “The Office.”

“[The employee] said, ‘Great. Let me just read that back to you: you want to eat Mindy Kaling,’” Novak narrated. “I said, ‘I’ll make the jokes here pal.’”

The story, including Novak’s ultimate discovery that Bartley’s named their special of the day in his honor, prompted laughter from the audience.

Novak read seven short stories to the audience, ranging from brief fantasy tales to an extended story about attending concerts in heaven. Following the reading, Novak hosted a question-and-answer session, offering some inside scoops about the book as well as information about “The Office.”

In addition to the book reading, Novak also conducted a book signing earlier in the afternoon at the Harvard Book Store. This second event was arranged after tickets for the reading sold out much quicker than anticipated.

“[The reading] sold out in just a few days and luckily [Novak] had time on his schedule to add on this lunchtime signing,” Alex W. Meriwether, Harvard Book Store marketing manager, said.

Over 150 people showed up during the one-hour book signing slot, compelling some fans to leave the store due to the long wait.

“As much of a fan as I am of B.J. Novak, I just personally can’t justify waiting in such a long line to have a book signed,” Matthew M. Casso ’17 said.

Meriwether said that he hasn’t seen a daytime book signing as popular as Novak’s since the store hosted a signing for Shaquille O’Neal, who published his autobiography, "Shaq Uncut: My Story," in 2011.

—Staff writer Forrest K. Lewis can be reached at forrest.lewis@thecrimson.com.

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