I Am Beyoncé Always: a Reading List for Office Fanatics

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I absolutely love the show The Office. At any given time of year, it’s nearly guaranteed that I am rewatching the show! Because of this and the recent publication of The Office: the Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, I wanted to put together a little recommendation list for fellow Office aficianados- check it out below:


Want more behind-the-scenes information on The Office?

The Office: the Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s by Andy Greene

When did you last hang out with Jim, Pam, Dwight, Michael, and the rest of Dunder Mifflin? It might have been back in 2013, when the series finale aired . . . or it might have been last night, when you watched three episodes in a row. But either way, fifteen years after the show first aired, it’s more popular than ever, and fans have only one problem–what to watch, or read, next.

Fortunately, Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene has that answer. In his brand-new oral history, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Greene will take readers behind the scenes of their favorite moments and characters. Greene gives us the true inside story behind the entire show, from its origins on the BBC through its impressive nine-season run in America, with in-depth research and exclusive interviews. Fans will get the inside scoop on key episodes from “The Dundies” to “Threat Level Midnight” and “Goodbye, Michael,” including behind-the-scenes details like the battle to keep it on the air when NBC wanted to pull the plug after just six episodes and the failed attempt to bring in James Gandolfini as the new boss after Steve Carell left, spotlighting the incredible, genre-redefining show created by the family-like team, who together took a quirky British import with dicey prospects and turned it into a primetime giant with true historical and cultural significance.

Hilarious, heartwarming, and revelatory, The Office gives fans and pop culture buffs a front-row seat to the phenomenal sequence of events that launched The Office into wild popularity, changing the face of television and how we all see our office lives for decades to come.

Inside Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Fan’s Guide to The Office by Amy Lewis

With Inside Dunder Mifflin you can take the “What’s your management style?” quiz to find out if you’re a Michael Scott, a Robert California, or an Andy Bernard. Or find out who would win in a romance battle between Jim and Pam and Phyllis and Bob. Then get everything you need to know about crushing your enemies (who may or may not also be your best friends) from Dwight Schrute, dress for success with Andy Bernard, and take advice from Michael Scott’s Ultimate Guide to Business.

On a less fan fiction-y note, this brightly illustrated guide also includes season overviews, top episode dissections, cast profiles, and more.


Do you weirdly want to know more about true office culture?

Cubed: a Secret History of the Workplace by Nikil Saval

In the mid-nineteenth century clerks worked in small, dank spaces called “counting-houses.” These were all-male enclaves, where work was just paperwork. Most Americans considered clerks to be questionable dandies, who didn’t do “real work.” But the joke was on them: as the great historical shifts from agricultural to industrial economies took place, and then from industrial to information economies, the organization of the workplace evolved along with them—and the clerks took over. Offices became rationalized, designed for both greater efficiency in the accomplishments of clerical work and the enhancement of worker productivity. Women entered the office by the millions, and revolutionized the social world from within. Skyscrapers filled with office space came to tower over cities everywhere. Cubed opens our eyes to what is a truly “secret history” of changes so obvious and ubiquitous that we’ve hardly noticed them. From the wood-paneled executive suite to the advent of the cubicles where 60% of Americans now work (and 93% of them dislike it) to a not-too-distant future where we might work anywhere at any time (and perhaps all the time), Cubed excavates from popular books, movies, comic strips (Dilbert!), and a vast amount of management literature and business history, the reasons why our workplaces are the way they are—and how they might be better.

The Office and Philosophy: Scenes from the Unexamined Life, edited by J. Jeremy Wisnewski

Just when you thought paper couldn’t be more exciting, this book comes your way! This book–jammed full of paper–unites philosophy with one of the best shows ever: The Office. Addressing both the current American incarnation and the original British version, The Office and Philosophy brings these two wonders of civilization together for a frolic through the mundane yet curiously edifying worlds of Scranton’s Dunder-Mifflin and Slough’s Wernham-Hogg.

Is Michael Scott in denial about death? Are Pam and Jim ever going to figure things out? Is David Brent an essentialist? Surprisingly, The Office can teach us about the mind, Aristotle, and humiliation. Even more surprisingly, paper companies can allow us to better understand business ethics. Don’t believe it? Open this book, and behold its beautiful paper…

Join the philosophical fray as we explore the abstract world of philosophy through concrete scenes of the unexamined life in The Office. You may discover that Gareth Keenan is secretly a brilliant logician, that Dwight Schrute is better off deceiving himself, that David Brent is an example of hyperreality, and that Michael Scott is hopelessly lost (but you probably already knew that!).


Is your favorite episode “Dinner Party” (as it should be)?

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole’s tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge. (“Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss.”) But Ignatius’s quiet life of tyrannizing his mother and writing his endless comparative history screeches to a halt when he is almost arrested by the overeager Patrolman Mancuso–who mistakes him for a vagrant–and then involved in a car accident with his tipsy mother behind the wheel. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Ignatius is out pounding the pavement in search of a job.

Over the next several hundred pages, our hero stumbles from one adventure to the next. His stint as a hotdog vendor is less than successful, and he soon turns his employers at the Levy Pants Company on their heads. Ignatius’s path through the working world is populated by marvelous secondary characters: the stripper Darlene and her talented cockatoo; the septuagenarian secretary Miss Trixie, whose desperate attempts to retire are constantly, comically thwarted; gay blade Dorian Greene; sinister Miss Lee, proprietor of the Night of Joy nightclub; and Myrna Minkoff, the girl Ignatius loves to hate. The many subplots that weave through A Confederacy of Dunces are as complicated as anything you’ll find in a Dickens novel, and just as beautifully tied together in the end. But it is Ignatius–selfish, domineering, and deluded, tragic and comic and larger than life–who carries the story. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. His fragility cracks the shell of comic bluster, revealing a deep streak of melancholy beneath the antic humor.


Looking for a tale about a harried band of coworkers?

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

The characters in Then We Came to the End cope with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, secret romance, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. By day they compete for the best office furniture left behind and try to make sense of the mysterious pro-bono ad campaign that is their only remaining “work.”

Personal Days by Ed Park

In an unnamed New York-based company, the employees are getting restless as everything around them unravels. There’s Pru, the former grad student turned spreadsheet drone; Laars, the hysteric whose work anxiety stalks him in his tooth-grinding dreams; and Jack II, who distributes unwanted backrubs–aka “jackrubs”–to his co-workers.

On a Sunday, one of them is called at home. And the Firings begin.

Rich with Orwellian doublespeak, filled with sabotage and romance, this astonishing literary debut is at once a comic delight and a narrative tour de force. It’s a novel for anyone who has ever worked in an office and wondered: “Where does the time go? Where does the life go? And whose banana is in the fridge?”


Need a love story like Jim & Pam?

Unprofessional by J.D. Hawkins

I have the best job in the world. Date beautiful women and write about it.

But I want to take it to the next level: instead of writing about my experiences make it into an online reality show. But here is the catch. My boss wants me to share the show with a woman co-host. And he wants that woman to be my best friend and co-worker, Margo.

I’ll date beautiful women and she’ll date hot men. Sounds fair enough.

So now I have to watch her fake date hot men. I used to love going home with a different woman every night, but suddenly this isn’t as fun. Seeing Margo with anyone else is driving me crazy.

And the more time I spend with her working on the show, the less I want to keep our relationship in the friends’ zone. And the harder it is to stop myself from imagining her bent over the copier. Things are about to get unprofessional.

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes

What happens when a psychic tells Lucy that she’ll be getting married within the year? Her roommates panic! What is going to happen to their blissful existence of eating take-out, drinking too much wine, bringing men home, and never vacuuming?

Lucy reassures her friends that she’s far too busy arguing with her mother and taking care of her irresponsible father to get married. And then there’s the small matter of not even having a boyfriend.

But then Lucy meets gorgeous, unreliable Gus. Could he be the future Mr. Lucy Sullivan? Or could it be handsome Chuck? Or Daniel, the world’s biggest flirt? Or even cute Jed, the new guy at work?

Maybe her friends have something to worry about after all…

Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?


Not a big fan of Jim & Pam, but love a good office romance?

A Day at the Office by Matt Dunn

For most people, Valentine’s Day means flowers, chocolates, and candlelit dinners. But for five of Seek Software’s employees, it’s shaping up to be as much fun as a trip to the dentist.

Long-term singleton Sophie has a crush on colleague Nathan but worries he doesn’t even know her name. And is there really any point in her sending a card to the man who organises the annual office Anti-Valentine’s party?

Overweight, insecure, and still living with his mum, Calum’s desperate for a girlfriend. He’s recently met the woman of his dreams online but his exaggerated profile might mean tonight’s first date could also be their last.

Mark’s been besotted with Julie since she kissed him at the office Christmas party. While she doesn’t seem to remember a thing, today might be his best chance to remind her. If only he could work out how.

A Day at the Office is a wise, wonderfully moving, and laugh-out-loud novel about life, love, and relationships by bestselling novelist Matt Dunn.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now—reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers—not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained—and captivated—by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say…?

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.


Miss your favorite The Office actors?

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper

Meet Ellie, the best-intentioned redhead next door. You’ll laugh right alongside her as she shares tales of her childhood in St. Louis, whether directing and also starring in her family holiday pageant, washing her dad’s car with a Brillo pad, failing to become friends with a plump squirrel in her backyard, eating her feelings while watching PG-13 movies, or becoming a “sports monster” who ends up warming the bench of her Division 1 field hockey team in college.

You’ll learn how she found her comedic calling in the world of improv, became a wife, mother and New Yorker, and landed the role of a bridesmaid (while simultaneously being a bridesmaid) in Bridesmaids. You’ll get to know and love the comic, upbeat, perpetually polite actress playing Erin Hannon on The Office, and the exuberant, pink-pants-wearing star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

If you’ve ever been curious about what happens behind the scenes of your favorite shows, what it really takes to be a soul cycle “warrior,” how to recover if you accidentally fall on Doris Kearns Goodwin or tell Tina Fey on meeting her for the first time that she has “great hair—really strong and thick,” this is your chance to find out. But it’s also a laugh-out-loud primer on how to keep a positive outlook in a world gone mad and how not to give up on your dreams. 

The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy by Rainn Wilson

For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone’s favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, that eventually became a bestselling book of the same name. He also started a hilarious Twitter feed (sample tweet: “I’m not on Facebook” is the new “I don’t even own a TV”) that now has more than four million followers.
 
Now, he’s ready to tell his own story and explain how he came up with his incredibly unique sense of humor and perspective on life. He explains how he grew up “bone-numbingly nerdy before there was even a modicum of cool attached to the word.” The Bassoon King chronicles his journey from nerd to drama geek (“the highest rung on the vast, pimply ladder of high school losers”), his years of mild debauchery and struggles as a young actor in New York, his many adventures and insights about The Office, and finally, Wilson’s achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, reconnecting with the artistic and creative values of the Bahá’í faith he grew up in.


Want to introduce the younger generation to the majesty that is The Office?

Fun at the Office! by Mark Cloud

Young readers can enjoy Netflix’s most popular show at a G-rated level, and parents can soak in the nostalgia of Jim’s pranks and Kevin’s famous chili in this loving ode to one of television’s greatest sitcoms. Over 50 pages of fun, Fun at the Office! features some of the most iconic moments from the Scranton branch and lucky for you, Mark will soon be coming out with a follow-up book Goodnight Scranton.

The Office: a Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary by Robb Pearlman & Melanie Demmer (out September 2020)

Michael Scott is Line Leader at Dunder Mifflin Elementary! It’s a very big job, but Michael is sure he can live up to the “World’s Best Line Leader” title printed on his water bottle. There’s just one problem–Michael doesn’t know how to lead the line. Filled with colorful, detailed illustrations and brimming with Easter eggs and nods to iconic moments from the show, this hilarious reimagining features a pint-sized cast.

The story will introduce The Office to a whole new generation and will teach them that everyone needs to ask for help sometimes. Even Line Leaders.


Are you a fellow The Office fanatic, or you enjoy these picks? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Until next time…

One thought on “I Am Beyoncé Always: a Reading List for Office Fanatics

  1. Tej says:

    I LOVE The Office so much! I’ve probably watched it a few times already and it makes me laugh every single time I watch it 😂. Great article!

    Like

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