We live in strange times, so discussing about the strangest books I’ve ever read seems to fit in the picture 🙂 This topic was inspired by Holly from Nut Free Nerd, who wrote about her top 10 strangest books earlier this year.
The 10 books I selected are strange from different point of views. I mention them based on the degree of strangeness – first the really weird-freaky books, then the strange-but-interesting books. All links lead to detailed reviews on this blog, if you want to read more about a specific book.
This is a very very strange book. On one hand, the story of a family on a nine-day journey to bury the dead mother (who was carried during the journey) is bizarre to say the least. On the other hand, the streams of consciousness make reading more challenging. It was my first encounter with this narrative style, and it certainly made the whole story a lot more difficult to digest.
Another very strange story. There is a group of shipwrecked people who become the only surviving humans on Earth. Over time, people evolve into furry animals resembling sea lions. Oh, and there is also a ghost that narrates the story. The dark dystopia is written as a social satire, but it was way too weird for my reading preferences.
In terms of tricks and unreliable narrators, “The Magus” is a good reference. There is an eccentric rich and old man on a Greek island, and an English teacher who gets involved in psychological games. And parties where everybody wore animal masks, if I remember correctly. Quite spooky!
The odd aspect of this story is the fictional world where the action takes place. Castalia is a province in Europe inhabited only by intellectuals. Castalians, the most elitist layer of the society, have only 2 missions: to run schools for boys and to play and develop the Glass Bead Game.
The books offers an interesting metaphor for the future, and the story itself is quite interesting. Once you get used to the idea that the Glass Bead Game is THE thing in Castalia, all is good 🙂
Oh, the classic “Crime and Punishment”! I added it on the list because even after 4 years I still remember how difficult it was to read it – the sadness of the story and the psychological tumult were influencing a lot my mood while reading. I read other sad stories, but this one really had an impact on me!
I consider “Mrs Dalloway” a strange book because it was my second encounter with streams of consciousness (first one was “As I Lay Dying”). The most weird part is that the narrator “jumps” abruptly from one character’s thoughts to another’s – sometimes even in the same paragraph. It is an interesting story though, now I would like to try other books by Virginia Woolf (I have “To the Lighthouse” waiting for me on the shelf).
This is the most recent read of the list, and it is bizzare from multiple points of view – we have a social experiment that promises stability in exchange for freedom, and also weird topics such as Elvis sex robots and headless chickens.
However, the book is very readable and it provides an interesting story. It’s a book I would recommend if you’re interested in social experiments gone wrong.
Reading “The Diary of a Young Girl” is a strange experience because it feels a lot like fiction! While reading the book I had to remind myself from time to time that what I was reading was actually the reality of Anne and her family.
This is a book I recommend reading, it’s a touching story that shows a different type of “lockdown” – Anne’s family was hiding from German soldiers during WWII.
This dystopian story is one of my favourite books. However, it is quite sad and austere. The strange aspect is related to the inescapable fate of the main characters – I remember a persistent feeling of emptiness after I finished reading the book. Strange and thought-provoking!
I think Murakami is a master of weird happenings, but it is a type of strangeness that I enjoy a lot – “1Q84” is actually one of my favourite books of all time! Parallel worlds, two moons on the sky – impossible, still all make sense in the story. You just have to be open to the Murakamian universe and the strangeness turns into magic.
Do you enjoy reading weird books or you prefer to stick to the classic / safe options? What are the strangest books you’ve ever read?
‘Till next time … happy reading!
PS: I’d like to show you one more strange book, though it is not usual type of reading material – the 360° Mount Fuji book I received as a souvenir from Japan ❤