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Welcome to The Once Lost Wanderer. The name is derived from two poems: Amazing Grace by reformed slave trader John Newton, and All That is Gold Does Not Glitter by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Top Ten Most Unusual Books I've Read - Top Ten Tuesday (April 11, 2017)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

April 11: Top Ten Most Unusual Books I’ve Read

First, I apologize to the hosts at The Broke and the Bookish for changing the name of this topic. I tried to let “most unique” slide – but I just couldn’t.

“Unique” should NEVER have a qualifier. Nothing is: more unique, most unique, slightly unique, very unique, etc. Something is either unique or it is not.

Sorry, it’s me – it isn’t you. In the literal sense, every book is unique. So, I’m listing the Ten Most Unusual Books I’ve read – with #1 being the most unusual.

Beloved – took a theme that has been told before, the horrors and injustice of slavery, and told it in a very unusual way.



Invisible Man – I’m sure there are others, but this is the only book I’ve read where the main character is never named. He is – the invisible man.


A Clockwork Orange – If only for the challenging dialogue, the argot, of the main characters used throughout the novel.


Slaughterhouse Five – a mixture of Sci-Fi, magical realism, and historical war fiction.



One Hundred Years of Solitude – All I can think of to say is it is unusual.


The Call of the Wild – written from the point of view of an animal.



The Trial – This is so bizarre, there is a fair amount of disagreement as to the meaning. Personally, I think it is an allegory.


Ulysses – I don’t give much love to this novel that many call “The Greatest Novel” of all time. I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t think I ever will, probably, mostly because James Joyce is WAAAY over my head. But it is certainly complex, brilliant, and indeed unusual.


I, Claudius – Marvelous bit of historical fiction, written as if it is the autobiography of Claudius Caesar.


Pale Fire – The winner of the MOST unusual novel I’ve read. I thought it was a mistake when I began. I thought it was not a novel at all, but a poem. But no, that’s just the metafiction. I can’t really say I loved this story, but I admire the “novel” approach.




14 comments:

  1. This is a great list. I have read quite a few of them. I probably should re-read The Trial and The Invisible Man because I think with age and experience I will perceive them differently than I did 20-30 years ago.

    BTW: Rebecca is also one of those well-known books where the narrator is never named. It is funny how that is something that readers (myself included) rarely pick up on until it is pointed out to them.

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    1. Yes, I think both The Trial and Invisible Man are books I'll need to reread someday.

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  2. I completely forgot about the "Call of the Wild" when making my list!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback. I'll check your list.

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  3. Agree for Beloved, that's one haunting novel!
    The Trial - agree too. Lord of the Flies is also an allegory, but the moral value is clear. While this one... hmmm...
    Call of the Wild - Black Beauty is written from the horse's POV too. There're not many of that kind book though, so in a way, maybe it's a bit unusual.
    I, Claudius - don't agree. It's a great novel, but I think there are other historical fictions written as autobiography too.

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    1. Thanks Fanda. I'm sure you're right about historical fiction...but since this is unusual books I'VE read, and I haven't read others like it, it's still unusual for ME. :)

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  4. Excellent list of unusual books. It's not just you, btw :)

    Now...I haven't read most on your list, but I agree that Beloved was unusual (as well as interesting, powerful, and memorable).

    I read 100 Years of Solitude roughly 40 years ago, so needless to say, it isn't fresh in my mind, but it made me fall in love with magical realism.

    I don't need to like animal stories all the much, but I loved Call of the Wild--read it twice in fact. If you ever get the chance, I recommend a visit to the remains of Jack London's Wolf House in northern CA. It's amazing.

    I loved I, Claudius. I tried watching the mini-series from the 70's after reading it, but just couldn't get past the datedness of it. Excellent book, though.

    I've officially given up trying to read Ulysses. All I ever think about when reading is what else I could be reading, and that life is too short to devote that much time to something that inaccessible.

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    1. I'm glad to have read Ulysses, but I certainly didn't enjoy it at the time. Thanks Jane.

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  5. I love your thoughts on the word unique and that it can't have a qualifier. I hadn't given it any thought but you're so right! Great list! I had to read Portrait of the Artist by Joyce in high school and I haven't recovered. I feel like I should read Ulysses but I haven't been able to make myself. Call of the Wild is definitely unusual and unique. I don't think anyone's voice is quite like London's.

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    1. I had a teacher in college that made us write a short story from POV of an animal...and we had to draw animals from a hat. I had to write from a snake's POV...got an A. Another time we had to write from the POV of our opposite gender...got a C. I loved that Prof though and her challenging assignments.

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  6. Great list there. I agree on Beloved and Call of the Wild.
    I, Claudius is a book I've wanted to read since I first heard of it.

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    1. I, Claudius is definitely a good read.

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  7. I, Claudius and Beloved have both been in my to-read pile for far too long.

    Thumbs up for the 'unique' rant too!

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