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.


  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.

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

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

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

  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.

    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. :)

  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.

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

  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.

    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.

  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.

  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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