On the Nightstand

My objective criteria for this category is that the humor must be such that on first reading I began to laugh while enjoying a rising sense of someone’s imminent demise. For example, one that should be on the list but is ‘hor’s de categorie’ because it is too painfully funny is Put out More Flags, a novel in which the main character contributes to the war effort by helping place war orphans. He took the most uncouth wretches he could find, placed them in the homes of the wealthy for a week or so, then returned to collect an inevitable bribe from the snoots who had not anticipated little monsters who would treat their rare vases as a lavatory or secretly murder the family pets.

Without more, my list:

A Handful of Dust, Evelyn Waugh
The Debt to Pleasure, John Lanchester
Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord, Louis de Bernieres
A High Wind in Jamaica, Richard Hughes
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut
A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon

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