If all those political ads have you in a misanthropic mood, here are books to affirm your grumpiness.
The Book of Bastards: 101 Worst Scoundrels and Scandals From the World of Politics and Power (Adams Media) by Brian Thornton is a historian's exuberantly nasty survey of bad behavior by everyone from the Puritans to John Edwards and Karl Rove.
The Darwin Awards: Countdown to Extinction (Dutton) by Wendy Northcutt is a hilarious survey of those "who help natural selection by taking a swan dive into the shallow end of the gene pool" — like treating a snakebite with a Taser.
People Who Deserve It: Socially Responsible Reasons to Punch Someone in the Face (Perigee) by Casey Rand and Tim Gordon is a cheerfully vulgar catalog of people (Passive-Aggressive Emoticon User), things (baggage fees) and historic figures (Nathan Bedford Forrest) who could use a pop in the chops.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor