Disturbing, bizarre, and sometimes funny- there’s no ignoring strange books! They break the traditional mold and leave a lasting impression on your mind long after you’ve finished the whole book.
So if you’re ready to take on a new adventure that is odd but interesting, here’s a list of 9 books that won’t disappoint!
This novel by American writer William S. Burroughs was originally published in 1959. According to the author, the chapters can be read in any order as the book is constructed as a series of loosely connected vignettes.
The book is a non-linear narrative without a clear plot. Readers follow the narration of a junkie who takes on different aliases as he travels from the US to Mexico, Tangier, and the Interzone. Vignettes are drawn from Burroughs’ own experiences in these places and this novel is considered to be his seminal work. Being extremely controversial in subject matter and obscenity, the book was banned in Boston and Los Angeles.
Also known as ‘The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death’, this 1969 book written by Kurt Vonnegut is an anti-war novel infused with science fiction. Recognized as the author’s most influential work, this book documents an American soldier’s experiences in World War II, and postwar and early years.
The central event affecting the protagonist is the bombing of Dresden. The book also refers to the Battle of the Bulge, the Vietnam War, and civil rights protests of the 1960s. This novel has been banned from literature classes at times, and has also faced attempted censorship due to its obscene content. Note that although there are references to Nazi extermination camps, Slaughterhouse-Five isn’t for you if you’re looking for holocaust books.
Hopscotch, also called Rayuela, is a stream-of-consciousness novel by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar. It was first published in Spanish in 1963 and in English in 1966. Often referred to as a counter-novel, this book has been written in an episodic, snapshot manner, and employs a mix of narrative techniques.
The book’s 155 chapters can be read in two ways- either progressively or according to a ‘Table of Instructions’ set by the author. Readers can also choose their own unique path. The last 99 chapters are expendable ones serving to give more information about characters or fill in gaps in the storyline.
House of Leaves
This debut novel by American author Mark Z. Danielewski was published in 2000 and has been translated into a number of languages. The novel’s unconventional format and structure, and peculiar page layout and style make it a prime example of ergodic literature.
What’s interesting is that some pages in this book contain just a few words or lines of text that are arranged in strange ways, mirroring the events in the book. This creates a claustrophobic and agoraphobic effect. This novel is also unusual in that it has multiple narrators.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a part novel, part picture book that has been written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. This American historical fiction novel has 284 pictures, all of which are as important to the book as the words.
The story has been split into two parts followed by an epilogue. The true story of Georges Méliès, the French pioneer filmmaker, his films, and notably, his collection of wind-up mechanical figures called Automata, are this novel’s primary inspiration.
The Roaches Have No King
Authored by Daniel Evan Weiss, this novel is about a colony of cockroaches that lives in harmony with the human couple who share their apartment. All is well as the roaches feed off the food that the tempestuous woman hurls around the house. One fine day, as a compulsively tidy successor takes her place, the roach colony is threatened to starvation.
The novel is sure to make you laugh out loud and it’s certainly weird to see humans from this perspective as the roaches eventually come up with a plan to rid themselves of the new girlfriend!
The Raw Shark Texts
Released in 2007, The Raw Shark Texts (a play on Rorschach Tests) is author Steven Hall’s debut novel. This metafiction novel tells the story of an amnesiac with cultural references, linguistic jokes, and concrete poetry.
Throughout the book, the use of varying typographical sizes and structures to create images serves to highlight the combination of objective reality and its portrayal. The novel has 36 core chapters with another 36 ‘lost’ ones which have been found periodically, hidden online or in the real world.
A Clockwork Orange
This dystopian novel authored by English writer Anthony Burgess was published in 1962. The novel is set in a near-future English society and features a culture of extreme youth violence.
The protagonist, Alex, is a teenager and he recounts his experiences and many violent exploits in the novel. The brutal invented slang used by the protagonist and his gang members renders their social pathology brilliantly.
The Atrocity Exhibition
Originally published in the UK in 1970, The Atrocity Exhibition is a collection of linked, condensed novels authored by J. G. Ballard. The book is split into sections in the style of William S. Burroughs, with no clear beginning or end. Also, the protagonist’s name, role, and visions of the world keep on changing through the story.
The book has managed to maintain controversy by constantly associating the Kennedy assassination with a sporting event and partly pornographic content.
Now that you know about these odd and interesting books, you know exactly what you should be curling up with. We hope you enjoy reading the books on this list!