Top Ten Tuesday: Strangest Books I've Read

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is a genre freebie. Since times are quite strange right now–certainly the strangest times that I’ve ever lived through–I’m going to share the ten strangest books I’ve ever read. This doesn’t mean that these books are bad, just a bit… bizarre. I’ve included their little blurbs from Goodreads so you have some context. In no particular order, they are:

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Suffused with rich satire, chaotic brilliance, verbal turbulence and wild humor, The Crying of Lot 49 opens as Oedipa Maas discovers that she has been made executrix of a former lover’s estate. The performance of her duties sets her on a strange trail of detection, in which bizarre characters crowd in to help or confuse her. But gradually, death, drugs, madness and marriage combine to leave Oedipa in isolation on the threshold of revelation, awaiting the Crying of Lot 49.

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. One night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost film by silent comedian Hector Mann. His interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929.

When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmer’s mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico inviting him to meet Hector. Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.

Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth

Sabbath’s Theater is a comic creation of epic proportions, and Mickey Sabbath is its gargantuan hero. At sixty-four Sabbath is still defiantly antagonistic and exceedingly libidinous; sex is an obsession and a principle, an instrument of perpetual misrule in his daily existence. But after the death of his long-time mistress – an erotic free spirit whose great taste for the impermissible matches his own – Sabbath embarks on a turbulent journey into his past. Bereft and grieving, tormented by the ghosts of those who loved and hated him, he contrives a succession of farcical disasters that take him to the brink of madness and extinction.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

How to be Both by Ali Smith

Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else. A true original, she is a one-of-a-kind literary sensation. Her novels consistently attract serious acclaim and discussion—and have won her a dedicated readership who are drawn again and again to the warmth, humanity and humor of her voice.

How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real—and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando ‘The longest and most charming love letter in literature’, playfully constructs the figure of Orlando as the fictional embodiment of Woolf’s close friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West. Spanning three centuries, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth’s England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first love as England under James I lies locked in the embrace of the Great Frost. At the midpoint of the novel, Orlando, now an ambassador in Constantinople, awakes to find that he is now a woman, and the novel indulges in farce and irony to consider the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the novel ends in 1928, a year consonant with full suffrage for women. Orlando, now a wife and mother, stands poised at the brink of a future that holds new hope and promise for women.

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

Nightwood is not only a classic of modernist literature, but was also acknowledged by T. S. Eliot as one of the great novels of the 20th century. Eliot admired Djuna Barnes’ rich, evocative language. Barnes told a friend that Nightwood was written with her own blood ‘while it was still running.’ That flowing wound was the breakup of an eight-year relationship with the love of her life.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley’s tour de force, Brave New World is a darkly satiric vision of a “utopian” future—where humans are genetically bred and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order. A powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations, it remains remarkably relevant to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying entertainment.

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

The story of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who came to Jefferson in the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness. He was a man, Faulkner said, “who wanted sons and the sons destroyed him.”

What’s the strangest book you’ve ever read? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Hope you’re all doing well! ❤



23 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Strangest Books I've Read”

  1. I love Good Omens but you’re right, it is a rather strange book. I think the strangest book I’ve ever read is The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh I’ll have to check that one out! And I agree–Good Omens was great! I still have to watch the tv series…


  2. The strangest book I’ve read is probably The Ghosts of Heaven. It was good, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to check that one out. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you do, read it from front to back. That will have the biggest impact. It says you can read it any way, but that way was WOW.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The strangest book I’ve read was “Galapagos” by Kurt Vonnegut. Interesting at times, but really weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh yeah he sure has some strange books!! I’ll have to check that one out!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t actually read any of these, but you’ve made me very curious haah! I definitely plan on reading Brave New World!

    My post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brave New World is so good! Hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Brave New World was such a good, and yes strange read. I feel like I need to re-read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! I could use a reread too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Brave New World is definitely very bizarreeeee

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely!! The entire time I was reading I was like 🙃🙃🙃


  7. What an inspired theme. Even though I’ve not read most of these books I know they are indeed a little odd. Midnights Children would be on one my list

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to check that one out!


  8. Great list! Good Omens and Brave New World are books I’ve been meaning to tackle but haven’t actually got around to yet (or have been putting off because i’m not sure they’re so much my jam)! Haven’t heard of many of the others 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely feel that!! I hope you enjoy them whenever you get around to reading them 🙂


  9. Love your choice this week! I haven’t read any of these but I’ve heard of most of them. One of the strangest books I’ve ever read was The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh I’ll have to check that one out! Thank you!!


  10. My friend told me to read Good Omens before we watched a few episodes of the show. I’ve been holding off because I didn’t know if I wanted to read something that strange haha. The show is great! Not sure about the book. I’m still willing to give it a try though!


  11. wow, I haven’t read any of thoses either — though I kinda like the cover of Brave new world.

    I think the wierdest I ever read was this sample from my library, of this erotica spin off of the beauty and the beast. It was… something XD I had heard a few people talk of spinoff fairytale stories and erm, not sure I liked that.. ahah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow haha, that does sound like a strange book!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. […] 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. […]


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