Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Top Seven Most Unique Books I've Ever Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish where we share our top ten bookish related things!

I love this week's topic because sometimes a book can really be a big breath of fresh air. A lot of the times, especially when reading within the same genre, you can come across books that remind you directly of another book, or they follow the same sort of story arc, or the characters fit into the same stereotypes. Here are some of the most unique books I can remember reading in terms of storytelling devices, characterization, or world building. I couldn't come up with ten that I could remember, so here are my top seven

1) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess : This is one of my favorite books of all time. Burgess created a whole glossary of slang for his main character, Alex, and his droogs to use, and it is all over his narration. I enjoyed reading about the wild youth, and means the government goes through to reform them into upstanding citizens. Violent and hilarious. Please don't let the tricky language get to you, this book is worth the work. 

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak : It's not often that you read a book told from the perspective of Death, who is a real personified character. It's also not often that you feel empathy and understanding towards Death. Not only did we feel for his character, but we understand his ways, and he tells the story of Liesel so beautifully. 

3) Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo : Another one of my most favorite books ever, and Dalton Trumbo was also kind of a badass. This book is told by Joe, a soldier who has served in the first World War and wakes up in a hospital bed. It takes some time, but he starts to realize the full extent of the damage that has been done to his body. There's stream of conscious, there's flashbacks and dreams to his old life with his family and girlfriend. It's heartbreaking and triumphant and amazing. 

4) Body by Harry Crews : This story of a bodybuilder and her hillbilly family coming to watch her compete in a competition is over-the-top, rambunctious, hilarious, and just generally crazy. I love the absurdity in Crews' stories, and this was my first experience with him, and it was definitely memorable. 

5) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby : The story behind just the writing of this book is fascinating. Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine. He then suffered a stroke and slipped into a coma. When he woke up, he discovered that he now suffered from 'locked-in' syndrome. His thoughts were intact, but he was physically paralyze with the exception of limited movement in his head and face. He wrote this book over the course of ten-months, by blinking his left eye and having an assistant transcribe his words. A beautiful account of what it's like to suffer from being locked into your own body and the will to survive. 

6) Geek Love by Katherine Dunn : Another favorite of mine! Olympia is born into a family of sideshow freaks. When her mother was pregnant with her and her siblings, she experimented with different drugs to create shocking physical defects in her children. This is the story of the beginning of her family, and their traveling show. There's sibling rivalry, cults, and freak shows. What's not to love? Also, can we talk for a second about how EXCITING it is that next season of American Horror Story is circus themed? 

7) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner : This book was a struggle for me to get through, but it proved to be worth it in the end. When Addie Bundren passes away, her husband and children make a difficult journey to carry her body and coffin to her desired resting place. Told in alternating points of view from her children, husband, and those involved, we get a huge perspective on this journey. Thinking about the final line still gives me chills. 

All of these are well worth the read! Some are challenging to read, and some of them are challenging to deal with, but each one is super unique in their storytelling methods. 

What books are on your list? 


  1. I watched The Diving Bell and The Butterfly and enjoyed it, so naturally the book is something I want to tackle one day.

    1. I've heard really amazing things about the movie, but I have yet to see it! It's a pretty quick read, but taxing on your mind :)

  2. I haven't read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly but I've seen it on a few lists today. I did read Geek Love and found it fascinating. Great list!

    1. Geek Love is one of my most favorite books ever! Super fascinating and I read the entire thing on one (very) long bus trip. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. I've always despised Faulkner but As I Lay Dying is one that has always tempted me. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Body and Geek Love sound really interesting and definitely unique! Great list and definitely some I haven't come across before.

  4. I loved The Book Thief as well! I haven't read As I Lay Dying, but I read the Sound in the Fury by Faulkner in school and it was incredibly intense and difficult to get through. I can definitely imagine how any of his writings qualify as unique and hard to get through. Great list!