Here's a popular favorite on the topic of reading drawn from The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Book.
Because three New Yorker staff members vote on the three finalists before they're submitted for popular polling, it's their take on humor that rises to the top. I've seen many a published cartoon in the magazine itself I would have moved post haste to the reject pile. But contest contributors are dogged: more than 1 million captions have been submitted since the feature began in 2005.
Workplace tropes show up frequently, as do dog cartoons. Here's one that combines both.
The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs.)
Many of the finalists interviewed turn out to be professional scribes of some sort. One such was playwright and screenwriter Peter Fox, who captioned the dog cartoon below "He's a stray, but I think I'll keep him." With the winning caption ("Don't laugh. He's made partner"), it no doubt adorns many a law office.
What makes a superior caption? Shorter and sweet say the experts, and having perused this anthology I concur that the pithiness factor reigns supreme. Take the sample below:Compare John Maynard's winning caption with the increasingly wordy second and third place finalists: "Our conflict-resolution seminar ended a bit early today." / "Just remember to keep away from Fletcher's wife, and Davidson's daughter, and Harris's iPod." Like many of the interviewees, Maynard says that the caption came to him all at once. After being harassed by a caller who said the idea was his and he should have won and by disgruntled acquaintances who had submitted fruitlessly multiple times, Maynard decided that his neophyte plunge was enough and never entered again.