Which is why I love bakeries. Peace descends the second I enter, the second I smell the intoxicating aroma of fresh bread, see apricot cookies with scalloped edges, chocolate dreams, cinnamon and raisin concoctions, flights of a baker’s imagination, and I know I am the luckiest person in the world. At that moment, in spite of statistical proof that this is not possible, I have it all. And not only that, I can have more. (Delia Ephron, The New York Times)

The finalists for the 2013 Thurber Prize for American Humor include Shalom Auslander for his darkly funny novel “Hope, A Tragedy.” But all is not grim: The other finalists are Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel for “Lunatics,” a madcap story of soccer dads, and Dan Zevin for his comic memoir of fatherhood, “Dan Gets a Minivan.”