Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Top Ten on Tuesday: All Books Are Unique
This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme from The Broke and The Bookish is to identify the most unique books you've read. This was a tough list for me to get a grip on. All books are unique, aren't they? Of course a given book may share similarities with other books, but in the end, no two books are alike. I know this isn't the interpretation the prompt is intends to elicit, but I thought it was an interesting thought to consider.
So, here are books that I think qualify as more idiosyncratic than most, that are different by virtue of representing reality, or constructing reality, from an oblique angle.
1) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Books can be infiltrated by people? Jane Eyre without its iconic ending? A slapstick literary mystery set in an alternate world with a very different science. This oddball book rates as my best airport find ever. I tired of the series after the first few, but this this first outing for Thursday Next is still a funny, smart, and distinctly strange book.
2) Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
A horny, history obsessed sixteen-year old boy deals with life in a decaying small town while trying to work through his conflicted feelings about being attracted to his girlfriend and his best friend at the same time. Okay, a pretty classic set up for standard realistic YA novel. Then the book veers onto another course channeling The Twilight Zone and B-grade 1950s Science Fiction movies as Austin and Robbie become warriors in an apocalyptic battle with bio-engineered six foot tall invincible grasshopper soldiers. Not for everyone, but if you are willing to hold on for the ride, it's a hoot and very moving.
3) The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman
A book that defies summary--the link above will take you to the Goodreads description, but trust me, it doesn't do Beauman's second novel justice. A wild, genre defying, inventive ride filled with oddball characters. You need to read it more than once to begin to make sense of it all, but if you only read it once, you'll still have a great time.
4) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night A Traveller, but Mitchell's astonishing skill in mimicking multiple genres stunned me. However, what makes this a great book, not just smart literary posturing, is Mitchell's characters who manage to find kernels of beauty, generosity, and determination to do the right thing a world that often works against them.
5) Room by Emma Donoghue
6) Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson
7) Time and Again by Jack Finney
8) A Wild Sheep Chase by Harukai Murakami
9) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
10) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
What are your 'unique' reads?