Laughing in the Face of the Grim Reaper: 7 Funny Books About Death

Death: the final frontier, or as we like to call it, the ultimate punchline. It’s the one guest that RSVPs ‘yes’ to every party, eventually. But who says we can’t share a laugh with the old scythe-wielder?

Our collection of funny books about death is perfect for those who prefer their existential contemplations with a side of chuckles, or for anyone who’s ever thought, ‘I’d rather die laughing.’ Whether you’re looking to soften the somber mood, find comfort in the absurdity of the end, or simply want to gift a giggle to someone facing the inevitable, these books prove that humor doesn’t have an expiration date.

So, let’s turn the page on sorrow and crack the spine of books that look at the lighter side of leaving, the humor in the hereafter, and the jests in the journey to the great beyond. After all, laughter might not be the best medicine for everything, but it’s a fantastic palliative for the soul.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Mary Roach’s “Stiff” takes readers on a fascinating and surprisingly humorous journey through the world of the deceased. With a keen eye for the absurd, Roach explores the afterlife of the body in a way that is both informative and laugh-out-loud funny. This book is a perfect gift for the morbidly curious, those who find comfort in the mechanics of life (and death), or anyone in the medical field who can appreciate the lighter side of their macabre interests.

A Man Called Ove

“A Man Called Ove” is a heartwarming novel by Fredrik Backman that was first published in 2012 and adapted into a film in 2015. It tells the story of Ove, a curmudgeonly widower whose grumpy exterior hides a story of profound sadness and a heart of gold. As the narrative unfolds, readers are introduced to Ove’s past and the reasons behind his bitter outlook on life. However, when a boisterous young family moves in next door, they inadvertently challenge his solitary existence, leading to a series of comedic and touching events that change Ove’s life in unexpected ways.

The novel is a beautiful blend of humor and pathos, exploring themes of loss, love, and the unexpected friendships that can alter our lives forever. It’s a testament to the idea that the most unlikable people can sometimes be the ones who need companionship the most.

“A Man Called Ove” would make a thoughtful gift for anyone who enjoys stories that affirm life’s potential for second chances and the power of community. It’s a tale that reminds us that behind every stern face could be a story waiting to be told, and perhaps, a laugh waiting to be shared.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty, a mortician with a razor-sharp wit, delivers tales from the crematory that manage to be both enlightening and entertaining. “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is a candid look at death that demystifies the process and sprinkles in chuckles along the way. It’s an ideal gift for someone who appreciates a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to the topic of death, served with a side of dark humor.

The Potty Mouth at the Table by Laurie Notaro

Laurie Notaro’s “The Potty Mouth at the Table” includes a collection of essays that touch on various subjects, including the awkwardness of dealing with death in the modern age. Notaro’s humor is biting, irreverent, and often comes with a dose of heartfelt sincerity. This book would be a quirky gift for a friend who enjoys comedy that’s as blunt as it is endearing, or for anyone who’s ever had a family member overshare at the worst possible moment.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty makes another appearance on our list with “Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?” which answers the morbid, curious, and downright hilarious questions about death that only children would dare to ask. Doughty’s responses are as informative as they are entertaining, making this book a great gift for the perpetually curious or for parents who need to field their kids’ macabre inquiries with a sense of humor.

Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed by Laurie Kilmartin

Laurie Kilmartin’s “Dead People Suck” is a comedic yet poignant look at the author’s personal experience with the death of her father. Kilmartin, a stand-up comedian and writer for “Conan,” delivers a series of essays that are as much a tribute to her father as they are a guide for those dealing with grief. This book is a heartfelt gift for someone in mourning who could use a reminder that it’s okay to laugh through the tears.

All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John

“All My Friends Are Dead” is an illustrated dark comedy book that takes a lighthearted approach to the topic of death. Written by Avery Monsen and Jory John, it was published by Chronicle Books in 2010 and quickly became a viral sensation. The book features a series of anthropomorphic characters, including a dinosaur, a plant, and even a sock, who all lament about their friends being dead, each in their own unique and humorous way. One standout moment is a tree reflecting on life, only to be cut down and turned into an end table, a darkly comic twist that captures the book’s essence.

This book is a clever and amusing gift for anyone who enjoys a good laugh in the face of life’s more grim realities. It’s particularly well-suited for those who appreciate a bit of existential humor and can find the funny in the otherwise somber. With its succinct and witty take on mortality, “All My Friends Are Dead” provides a quick, entertaining read that’s sure to spark laughter and conversation.

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