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The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes    by McSweeney's order for
McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes
by McSweeney's
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2008 (2008)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

When Mountain Man Dance Moves: The McSweeney's Book of Lists hit book shelves with the cover of a triumphant, ethereal, blue, rearing unicorn, readers curiously started reading and then found themselves bursting with laughter, buying the book, and entertaining friends with it. The editors of McSweeney's return with The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes; and if the title doesn't capture your interest, maybe the cover of a plucked headless chicken - with a smoking cigarette in one flabby wing, while smoke effuses from its cylindrical hole of a neck - will.

With an introduction from John Hodgman about the cash cow industry of satire, McSweeney's aims its new book at the intellectual crowd as jokes and humor are procured at the expense of classic works and authors revered in collegiate halls. The first piece, The Recruitment of Harry Potter, is from the viewpoint of a quidditch coach looking to recruit Harry Potter to the team. It warns to stay away from talk about He Who Must Not Be Named and anything involving family. From this we go to George Samsa, currently dealing with his life as a cockroach, having his disability claim denied by Social Security for very specific reasons.

McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes runs the gamut of literature, leaving no book unopened or unmocked. There are short pieces, such as Possible Titles For Future Sue Grafton Novels After She Runs Out of Letters, including: "/" Is for Slash and "Ctrl+X" Is for Cut; and there are longer pieces like Submission Guidelines For Our Refrigerator Door. Then there are plain weird and unusual pieces like Thirteen Writing Prompts, including 'Write a story that ends with the following sentence: Debra brushed the sand from her blouse, took a last, wistful look at the now putrefying horse, and stepped into the hot-air balloon,' and 'Your main character finds a box of scorched human hair. Whose is it? How did it get there?'

Whether it's Jane Eyre Runs for President or Jean-Paul Sartre, 911 Operator, or Klingon Fairy Tales, readers will be laughing out loud and rolling on the floor - or if you prefer LOLing and ROFLing - for hours. And for all those people forced to read long and boring classics, or listen to their teachers verbally worshiping dead writers, McSweeney's Joke of Book Jokes is a restorative tonic, the book you've been waiting for that will make those hours and hours of late night reading of lengthy, overwritten prose worth it, because you'll get all the jokes!

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