Books that make you genuinely laugh

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Senefen
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Senefen » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:04 am UTC

The Red Dwarf books, Douglas Adams (shock horror, I know), Bridget Jones' Diary, Bill Bryson - especially A short history of nearly everything. Harry Potter a couple of times.

Actually I think they last thing that had me burst out laughing was a fanfic (a good one, bad ones make me cringe rather than laugh :p)
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby zomgmouse » Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:04 am UTC

Sandry wrote:
zomgmouse wrote:Anything by: Douglas Adams, P.G. Wodehouse, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie. Also the Red Dwarf books.
Some things by: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., James Thurber.

James Thurber, yes! I need to read more by him, because he is awesome. And ditto Stephen Fry, really. What did you find particularly funny amongst their works? (I totally need some recommends.)


I read a collection of Thurber's short stories, which were all pretty good.
Stephen Fry: I'd recommend to start with The Liar, see where you go from there.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby kinigget » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:41 pm UTC

If we're still talking about thurber, I would say that the best story I have read by him is "the night the bed fell on my father". there's another one in the same vein but I don't remember what it was called, I do remember that it involved a ghost though.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby ivoryebb » Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:58 pm UTC

charliepanayi wrote:Catch-22 made me laugh a few times. And some of Bill Bryson's books as well - I rememeber being reduced to fits of laughter by Neither Here Nor There.



I just read the chapter the chapter on Rome. Neither Here nor There is pretty good, but I still like Walk in the Woods better.

"I walked through the gardens of the Villa Borghese, up and down the Spanish Steps, windwo-shopped along the Via dei Condotti, admired the Colosseum and Forum, crossed the river by the Isola Tiberina to ramp the hilly streets of Trastevere, and wandered up to the lofty heights of Monte Gianicolo, where the views across the city were sensational and where young couples were entwined in steamy embraces on the narrow ledges. The Italians appear to have devised a way of having sex without taking their clothes off, and they were going at it hammer and tongs up there. I had an ice cream and watched to see how many of the lovers tumbled over the edge to be dashed on the rocks below, but none did, thank goodness. The must wear suction cups on their backs."

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby greycloud » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:27 pm UTC

ivoryebb wrote:
charliepanayi wrote:Catch-22 made me laugh a few times. And some of Bill Bryson's books as well - I rememeber being reduced to fits of laughter by Neither Here Nor There.



I just read the chapter the chapter on Rome. Neither Here nor There is pretty good, but I still like Walk in the Woods better.

"I walked through the gardens of the Villa Borghese, up and down the Spanish Steps, windwo-shopped along the Via dei Condotti, admired the Colosseum and Forum, crossed the river by the Isola Tiberina to ramp the hilly streets of Trastevere, and wandered up to the lofty heights of Monte Gianicolo, where the views across the city were sensational and where young couples were entwined in steamy embraces on the narrow ledges. The Italians appear to have devised a way of having sex without taking their clothes off, and they were going at it hammer and tongs up there. I had an ice cream and watched to see how many of the lovers tumbled over the edge to be dashed on the rocks below, but none did, thank goodness. The must wear suction cups on their backs."


That actually made me laugh :D

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Re: Books that make you genuinely....

Postby berk » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:05 pm UTC

The P.G. Wodehouse books make me laugh, though I haven't explored his work outside of the Jeeves & Wooster books. The J&W mini-series is also great if you don't mind how British it is, if you have Netflix or something I recommend you get a DVD from one of the seasons. None of my friends find it funny (which I don't get, because it isn't exactly intellectual humor) but my parents enjoy it.

I'm reading P. J. O'Rourke's Holidays in Hell at the moment, and it has me laughing my ass off every night. His satirical guide to driving in 3rd world countries, as well as his description of Korea, were two particular chapters that had me in tears.

Ashi wrote:I don't know if I'm qualified to answer, because tests can make me burst out laughing (when no humor was intended), but I've had a few I remember:
-Harry Potter, certain books
-A Tale of Two Cities
That, they never could lay their heads upon their pillows; that, they never could tolerate the idea of their wives laying their heads upon their pillows; that, they never could endure the notion of their children laying their heads upon their pillows; in short, that there never more could be, for them or theirs, any laying of heads upon pillows at all, unless the prisoner's head was taken off.

-Some nonfiction books, including Zero, A Briefer History of Time, and Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe.


Heh, I do that as well. My hypothesis is that I've done so many SATs that I can actually understand what the ETS guys are thinking when they write the question, which sometimes results in some unintended comedy. I can't think of any examples at the moment, but I can tell you that I get some strange looks when I am wiping tears from my eyes halfway through the second critical reading section.

Also, nervous giggles contribute, I'm sure. :wink:


PS: First post, hi XKCD!

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby semicharmed » Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:43 am UTC

To echo: Gaimen, Prachett, Gaimen & Prachett. Douglas Adams. I don't necessarily laugh more from books than things in the real world, but I have a pretty weird sense of humor... I do really like reading something, then doing a double-take, rereading, and then bursting out in the giggles. John Iriving, occasionally. I do enjoy raiding the YA section at the bookstore, I've read the Princess Diaries (the first two are priceless. Much funnier when I was 15, but still funny now), and the Eoin Colfer books (some amazing bits in there... sight gags of the written word would be the best way to describe it). And I also realllly, really enjoyed the Series of Unfortunate Events,
Back on the adult end, Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle had some amazing, laugh out loud funny moments. Quite a few, actually.
And oh, 'cause I'm weird, I'll occasionally have to read pieces of journal articles out loud, while giggling, when doing thesis-research.
Most things can be made to sound really dirty. Mesenchymal. Also: anytime I see the word filopodia written ever. Mad giggle.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby stevenf » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Laurence Durrell's trilogy of fictional short stories from his experiences as a diplomat in the Balkans after WW2.

Esprit de Corps, Sauve Quit peut and Stiff Upper Lip - beautiful use of English, faintly Wodehousian, ludicrous stereotypes...

Give 'em a go.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby cephalopod9 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:14 am UTC

Ah! How did I forget Shel Silverstein? Where the Sidewalk Ends, Lafcadio the Lion Who Shot Back, Runny Babbet, etc.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby mewshi » Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:00 am UTC

bennyprofane wrote:Gravity's Rainbow is really funny, in a slapstick, sort of situational way.

Don Quixote, Haruki Murakami in some of his novels, a few things by Franz Kafka, and most plays by Beckett and Albee. Oh, and of course, Douglas Adams.


Yes! I was *exactly* thinking of Gravity's Rainbow! "Never before had death been told so plainly to fuck off." I love that line!

Also, The Crying of Lot 49 (also by Pynchon) is hilarious.

Thomas Pynchon wrote:"Why would he do a thing like that," Roseman puzzled, after reading the letter.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Senefen » Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:04 am UTC

I got a couple of Jeremy Clarkson's books for christmas.
I cried laughing with his fox article.

A fox has been eating his chickens so he bought a pair of shoddy night vision goggles and stayed up all night with his gun, drinking at watching for the fox. Evidently foxes look a lot like patio chairs when drunk and wearing night vision goggles....
The next night he was banned from drinking. It didn't help, and evidently the chicken named David Beckham looks a lot like a fox through night vision goggles...
His kids: " You F****** idiot! You've shot David Beckham!"
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby teamcorndog » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:08 am UTC

"The Nanny Diaries" cracked me up because I could relate to it. Anyone who's tried to make a living by watching rich people's wacky messed-up kids would get a kick out of it. (and then cry at the end like a sucker)

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby fersrs » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:41 am UTC

I just read Yes Man, and my face turned red from trying not to laugh at it in public. Everything is twice as hilarious when you consider that the book is nonfiction.
All the really funny books seem to be by British authors.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Narsil » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:15 pm UTC

mewshi wrote:Yes! I was *exactly* thinking of Gravity's Rainbow! "Never before had death been told so plainly to fuck off." I love that line!


Ooh, you remember the wine jelly scene? That was the funnyest thing I had read that year.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby jonid7 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:06 am UTC

"The Book of Jones" by Ralph Steadman about Hunter S. Thompson's cat. Quirky writing with great artwork.

"No one belongs here more than you, Stories by Miranda July." I may have laughed in several places that I shouldn't have, but still.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby b.i.o » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:42 am UTC

Charles Stross - Halting State

I laughed more reading this book than I did any other in recent memory. So many brilliant little turns of phrase.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby podbaydoor » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:44 am UTC

Lamb, or, The gospel according to Biff by Christopher Moore

Anything by Mark Twain, especially Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby mdyrud » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:58 am UTC

I agree on the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court call. I laughed like no other while reading Catch-22. Even though it's not exactly a book, A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift is probably the funniest thing I have ever read.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Sandry » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:28 pm UTC

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby tin » Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:07 pm UTC

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole made me laugh a lot. The main character, Ignatius J. Reilly, is such a disgusting person and full of this hilarious seething disdain for the people around him.

Hunter S. Thompson's, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas got a good few giggles too, especially the descriptions of all those drug addled highs.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Okita » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:18 pm UTC

I'm going to throw in another shout of praise for Jasper Fforde because he is awesome and a ridiculously good writer whose brain works most likely in 10 dimensions. Seriously.

ALso, "That Darn Squid God" by Nick Pollota makes proper fun of Cthulhu, the Victorian Age, and uh well pretty much everything else. It's set sometime post-Blitz (sort of) but also contains references to Star Trek of all things.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Turambar » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:02 pm UTC

Anything at all by Aristophanes. If you're not familiar, he was probably the greatest comic playwright of all time (at least the greatest whose works survive), and I have read all 11 of his plays and laughed my ass off at every single one. Surprisingly scatalogical for classical literature :)
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Esquilax » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:27 am UTC

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians and it's sequel, by Brandon Sanderson, are both just hilarious.
I also found The Lies of Locke Lamora quite amusing.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Joskanathan » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:19 am UTC

Catch-22 is hilarious. Slaughterhouse-Five makes me laugh as well.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby wisnij » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:00 pm UTC

The Cryptonomicon!

"Certain first-year-physics conservation-of-momentum issues dictated that I be showered with former pig bowel contents in order to enhance shareholder value."


Beck summons the medic again, and the medic gives him the rest of the syringe. Shaftoe's never felt better. What a fucking deal! He's getting morphine out of the Germans in exchange for telling them German military secrets.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Velict » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:06 am UTC

Am I the only person here who found Pride and Prejudice genuinely funny? Once you get past the archaic language and style, the book has an incredible sense of irony, sarcasm, subtle humor that just isn't found much in more modern literature.

I agree with Catch-22 and basically everything ever written by Douglas Adams as being hilarious, though.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby urbazewski » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:16 am UTC

Two very funny books that people are less likely to have already read:

War with the Newts written in 1936 by Czech writer Karel Čapek (who invented the word robot: the Czech word for worker spelled backwards.) Still funny 50 years later, which is much harder than being funny in your own time.

The romantic I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith's first novel that published in 1948, is still hilarious. The voice of the narrator is brilliant. Dodie Smith is also the author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby jeffk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:57 pm UTC

Velict wrote:Am I the only person here who found Pride and Prejudice genuinely funny? Once you get past the archaic language and style, the book has an incredible sense of irony, sarcasm, subtle humor that just isn't found much in more modern literature.

I admit I needed a readers guide to explain details that readers in Austen's day already knew, but if the first sentence doesn't peg your sarcasm meter, you're simply not paying attention.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Spinoza » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:42 am UTC

All of Dave Barry.

Dave on one of my favourite books:
brotherskaramazov-db.jpg
Dave Barry - Brothers K
brotherskaramazov-db.jpg (72.61 KiB) Viewed 6062 times


:mrgreen:

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Stripped Science » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

Any book by Joseph Heller, Terry Pratchet or Douglas Adams
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby mystic_aura » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:53 pm UTC

Probably Human wrote:As has been mentioned many, many times, anything by Douglas Adams or Bill Bryson. A few things by Eoin Colfer used to make me laugh, but not anymore. Also, I laugh harder every time I read the Twilight series *hides in a corner and hopes the Twilight fans don't try to suck my blood*


LOL
Twilight cracks me up. Especially when a certain character is being extraordinarily pathetic, or drinking blood from a cup. [ joins you in your corner]
I actually used to hold Artemis Fowl in quite a high regard. But a few months back, I read some again, and lets just say I laughed at the 'electric spark that hit Artemis' cranium' :wink:
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby PhatPhungus » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:58 am UTC

Terry Pratchett, Shakespeare (once I actually understood it), Hucleberry Finn, and currently, Angela's Ashes which is simultaneously hilarious and very, very depressing. I recommend it.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Chuff » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:22 am UTC

Sto Helit wrote:Anything by Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.
They are all British authors, so the humor is a bit dry, but I love them.

I didn't know other people even read Tom Holt.


But yes, all British authors for me. Holt, Pratchett, DNA, Jasper Fforde, some Shakespeare.

On the note of Jasper Fforde, I haven't noticed any mention of it on this board. You're all fans of reading, so you would all love his books! They are so incredibly packed with literary allusion, it's astounding. The first book is called The Eyre Affair, for crying out loud!
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby tsevenhuysen » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:03 am UTC

Pratchett doesn't make me laugh out loud; Douglas Adams does.

One that I haven't seen mentioned is Jonathan Swift. His satire is, in my mind, possibly the greatest content ever written in the English language. Gulliver's Travels is one of my favourite novels ever, and A Modest Proposal is phenomenally brilliant.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Orange Crush » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:23 am UTC

It's rather hard to make me laugh from stuff in text, but two books have made me break out laughing repeatedly, even after reading parts several times over: Dave Barry's Greatest Hits and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

I wanted to do a humorous interpretation for the latter in debate, and I read directly from the former on Friday for a humorous interpretation that I was going as a sacrificial lamb in.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Kangaroo » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:10 pm UTC

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and many of the Discworld novels.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Various Varieties » Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:17 am UTC

Everyone's already mentioned Pratchett and Adams in this thread. Me too.

Considering what forum this is, I'm surprised no-one (well, except Turambar's sig) has mentioned Richard P Feynman in this thread! Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! in particular.

I'll also mention Sue Townsend. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged Thirteen and Three Quarters was one of my favourite books when I was that age - the next few in the series were great as well. The Queen and I was good too (if a bit dated by the time I read it), and even Number Ten had its moments.

Stand-up comedian Harry Hill wrote a novel a few years ago called Flight From Deathrow. It's nonsense, but very funny nonsense. For example, the bit where the narrator wonders whether angels who've just arrived in Heaven get teased by the older angels for only having small wings (chapter title: "Please Don't Stare At My Wing Buds"). One of its most memorable passages concerns a proposal for a TV programme called Dale Make Me Normal Again!, a reality TV show in which Dale Winton grooms down-and-outs into the pop group "Tramps". Considering the sort of reality TV shows that were made in the years after the book was written, it's no longer that far-fetched!

I've intended to read PG Wodehouse ever since Douglas Adams raved about him in the essays republished in The Salmon of Doubt. Still haven't got round to it, though.

TheAmazingTD wrote:Well, all of Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books make me laugh. I haven't read the other stories of Discworld yet, because I'm rereading Wintersmith first, then I'm going to try Witches abroad which has been recommended to me.
Interesting to hear you've started with those; it's not often you hear of someone getting into the Discworld novels via the Witches books. I think the Witches stories are great, but (on the Internet, at least) they seem to get mentioned least often - possibly because the maiden, the mother and the other one practicing Headology isn't quite as immediate as, say, Vimes vs werewolves.

(Belated reply, I know...)

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby Chuff » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:23 am UTC

Various Varieties wrote:
TheAmazingTD wrote:Well, all of Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books make me laugh. I haven't read the other stories of Discworld yet, because I'm rereading Wintersmith first, then I'm going to try Witches abroad which has been recommended to me.
Interesting to hear you've started with those; it's not often you hear of someone getting into the Discworld novels via the Witches books. I think the Witches stories are great, but (on the Internet, at least) they seem to get mentioned least often - possibly because the maiden, the mother and the other one practicing Headology isn't quite as immediate as, say, Vimes vs werewolves.

(Belated reply, I know...)
I was the same, actually. My first Pratchett was Wee Free Men, because it was the only youth one at the time, and for some reason I wanted to read it first. I'm not really sure why, I've always read "adult" books, but it makes sense for people who found Pratchett as young adults.

I actually really like the witches books. Headology is great.
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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby cArebEarStare » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:04 am UTC

I laughed out loud at parts of the Harry Potter series, particularly Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart had me cracking up when I was 12, and still gets a chuckle when I read it again every once in a while.

David Sedaris has to be the funniest non-British author ever. He is hilarious in print, but nothing compares to when he reads on "This American Life" or any NPR show. My mom and I often buckle down in fits of laughter on the kitchen floor in front of the radio.

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Re: Books that make you genuinely laugh

Postby LoganCale » Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:12 pm UTC

I concur with many of the aforementioned authors, but, in particular: anything by Christopher Moore, namely Lamb, Fluke, or A Dirty Job. And all the rest.

Christopher Moore, The Stupidest Angel wrote:The dead book dealer was wringing out his tweed jacket and shaking his head at every comment. “Suddenly we are all gluttons, are we? Well, I have always enjoyed Danish modern furniture for its functional yet elegant design, so once we have consumed the brains of these revelers, I feel compelled to seek out one of these furniture boutiques I have heard so much about from newlyweds in the chapel. First we feast, then IKEA.”
“IKEA,” chanted the dead. “First we feast, then IKEA. First we feast, then IKEA.”
“Can I eat the constable’s wife’s brain?” asked Arthur Tannbeau. “She sounds like she’ll be spicy—”
“Get everyone out of the ground, then we eat,” said the new guy, who was used to telling people what to do.
“Who died and made you boss?” asked Bess Leander.
“All of you,” answered Dale Pearson.
“The man has a point,” said Marty in the Morning.
“I think while you boys finish up here, I’ll have a stroll around the parking lot. Oh my, I don’t seem to be walking very well,” said Esther, dragging one foot behind her and plowing a furrow in the mud as she moved. “But IKEA does sound like a delightful after-supper adventure.”
No one knows why, but second only to eating the brains of the living, the dead love affordable prefab furniture.


Also, there are numerous humorous moments in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and Baroque Cycle, which are just generally awesome to begin with.

Neal Stephenson, The System of the World, Volume III of The Baroque Cycle wrote:Father Édouard de Gex’s nose was a magnificent piece of bone architecture surmounting nostrils big enough to swallow wine-corks. He put them to good use now, literally sniffing at the Jews. He threw back and cast off his long robe to reveal the black cassock of a Jesuit, complete with swingeing crucifix, rosary, and other regalia. The Jews—who had supposed, until now, that the business with the pulley was part of routine Monument maintenance—now could not choose between astonishment and fear; We came up to take in the view, they seemed to say, and never expected the Spanish Inquisition.


Neal Stephenson, The System of the World, Volume III of The Baroque Cycle wrote:Isaac, though better equipped than Daniel or any other man alive to understand Relativity, shewed no interest in his pie—as if being in a state of movement with respect to the planet Earth rendered it somehow not a pie. But as far as Daniel was concerned, a pie in a moving frame of reference was no less a pie than one that was sitting still: position and velocity, to him, might be perfectly interesting physical properties, but they had no bearing on, no relationship to those properties that were essential to pie-ness. All that mattered to Daniel were relationships between his, Daniel’s, physical state and that of the pie. If Daniel and pie were close together both in position and velocity, then pie-eating became a practical, and tempting, possibility. If pie were far asunder from Daniel or moving at a large relative velocity—e.g., being hurled at his face—then its pie-ness was somehow impaired, at least from the Daniel frame of reference. For the time being, however, these were purely scholastic hypotheticals. Pie was on his lap and very much a pie, no matter what Isaac might think of it.


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