Nonsense Novels by Stephen Leacock: He flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions
Stephen Leacock was a silly Canadian man who lived from 1869-1944. At some point in his life, he decided to write a book making fun of all the other books. The forward to the modern day edition of Nonsense Novels is written by Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket of Series of Unfortunate Events fame, which absolutely makes sense when you read lines like:
I saw before me a fine sailor-like man of from thirty to sixty, clean-shaven, except for an enormous pair of whiskers, a heavy beard, and a thick moustache
That is pure Lemony Snicket right there. Or pure Lemony Snicket-written-by-Daniel-Handler-inspired-by-Canadian-humorist-Stephen-Leacock.
Nonsense Novels covers most if not all genres of novel. Each "novel" is v. short. It goes from detective novels to seafaring novels to Lorna Doone On the Moors-type novels (I've never read Lorna Doone, but I'm making some guesses that she stands on moors) to a sci-fi sort of ender that I loved the most by far (except for some blatant old fashioned sexism near the end, but that's probably to be expected) and THAT is called The Man in Asbestos. It's about a man who decides to fall asleep and Rip Van Winkle himself into the future, only guess what, the future blows. But WHY does it blow. That's why I've provided the above link for you.
Leacock's funny, but not like...hilarious funny. It's one of those "oh, he was probably the Daniel Handler of his day, but I do not live in that day." So on that note, I probably enjoyed Handler's introduction more than 90% of the actual book, but there are still some gems, like this about a wedding ringless girl with a baby:
And why had Caroline no wedding-ring? Ah, reader, can you not guess. Well, you can't. It wasn't what you think at all; so there.
And Leacock's parody of a Russian novel:
On the way home I passed an onion.
It lay upon the road.
Someone had stepped upon its stem and crushed it. How it must have suffered. I placed it in my bosom. All night it lay beside my pillow.
I think I picked it up at random when I was at the library. Those are some of my favorite types of books. This takes like an hour to read, and it's v. cheap, or you can find it for free online, so either get it as a stocking stuffer for someone who likes genre parodies, OR read it yourself online. EITHER OPTION IS GOOD.