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formergothardite

Strange Books

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Depressed
formergothardite

What is one of the strangest books you have ever read?

Mine is House of Leaves. It is the story of a house that is bigger on the inside, but not in a fun TARDIS way, more of a it will drive you insane way. It is written like a report complete with footnotes and one set of footnotes is actually another story. Some pages only have one or two words. There are pages of just random names and address. Some pages everything is written upside down and some pages the words go around the page so you have to turn the book to read it. 

It is a really weird book and it must have taken the author an crazy amount of time to write it. 

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Depressed
formergothardite

It depends. It isn't my favorite book and I wouldn't read it again, but it wasn't one of those books I had to force myself to complete.  I ended up skipping most of the second story that is in the footnotes because I thought it was dull. I found the main plot interesting, but difficult to follow sometimes with how the book is written. Having the plot interrupted with two pages of names was frustrating. 

Spoiler

Warning, this might spoil a bit of the book.

But there are no answers at the end of the book. One of my sisters hates books that leave you with absolutely no answers, so I told her not to read this. So if you will be aggravated at getting to the end of a huge book and being as confused as when you started, don't read this book. 

 

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Hashtag Blessed

Lol ok fun anecdote about House of Leaves: I have bought two copies of that book and they both mysteriously disappeared! One then the other just up and vanished.  I've never lost any other book in my life. After the second one disappeared I just gave up, so I've only read about half of it.

The strangest book I've read lately was probably Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick. It is nothing like the tv series. I enjoyed it but I think that's because I really enjoy character studies. 

Spoiler

It too contains ZERO answers. So if you hate open ended books or character studies, don't bother. 

 

ETA: I realize my anecdote is really only funny if you know that the book is all about things mysteriously appearing/disappearing. 

Edited by Hashtag Blessed

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GreyhoundFan

"As I Lay Dying" by Faulkner. I can handle strange, but that one just made my head spin. I despised it so much that I've not been able to bring myself to read anything else by Faulkner.

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Depressed
formergothardite

I've picked up Man in a High Castle several times at the library and considered reading it, but never have. When I am in the mood for a weird book I will get it. 

A strange children's book is Up From Jericho Tel by E. L. Konigsburg. It is the story of two kids who spend their spare time finding dead animals and burying them. One day they are burying an animal and fall into an underground cave where a dead actress and her dead dog live. She sends them out to search for a necklace she lost and to constantly buy her cigarettes. I'm not sure if there was a deep meaning to this book that went over my head, but it is nothing like her other books. 

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Ignorance Bread

I just finished reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. From the descriptions, I thought it was going to be a whimsical journey, but there ended up being a lot of icky sex stuff and some torture mixed in with the whimsy.

It was one of those open interpretation type stories. I thought I had it figured out, but I Googled around and no one else came to the same conclusions as I did.

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Hufflepuffpride
On 11/15/2017 at 2:49 PM, formergothardite said:

I've picked up Man in a High Castle several times at the library and considered reading it, but never have. When I am in the mood for a weird book I will get it. 

A strange children's book is Up From Jericho Tel by E. L. Konigsburg. It is the story of two kids who spend their spare time finding dead animals and burying them. One day they are burying an animal and fall into an underground cave where a dead actress and her dead dog live. She sends them out to search for a necklace she lost and to constantly buy her cigarettes. I'm not sure if there was a deep meaning to this book that went over my head, but it is nothing like her other books. 

That is the weirdest plot I have ever heard of, I have so many questions but can't seem to articulate them because I am so weirded out by the whole premise. 

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Depressed
formergothardite
19 hours ago, Hufflepuffpride said:

That is the weirdest plot I have ever heard of, I have so many questions but can't seem to articulate them because I am so weirded out by the whole premise. 

The author wrote books two books that won the Newberry award and are not this weird. People on Goodreads seem to like it and say it is quirky. I found it just strange like perhaps she was going for a mix of realism and fantasy and it just didn't work(at least for me). 

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L1o2u3

The Vegetarian by Han Kang was very weird. I read that one for university, but it seemed to me like all the men in there were rapists or violent. And the protagonist was also strange, starting with the fact that she calls herself a vegetarian, but is actually vegan. I know it is not to be taken literally, but as an allegory and it has won many prizes, but I didn't like it. 

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CTRLZero
On 11/15/2017 at 5:02 PM, Ignorance Bread said:

I just finished reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. From the descriptions, I thought it was going to be a whimsical journey, but there ended up being a lot of icky sex stuff and some torture mixed in with the whimsy.

I read a couple of his books, including 1Q84, and think the ick factor might be a common theme. 

On the topic of strangeness, I am currently reading "American Elsewhere" by Robert Jackson Bennett.  It's a little disjointed, which is to be expected in the alternate universe genre, but at about the 60% mark, I had a laugh-out-loud moment and wondered how the author is going to proceed from this point.

So far, I can recommend the novel, which includes a mysterious town in the middle of nowhere and what is causing the townspeople to be so "off." 

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Depressed
formergothardite
20 hours ago, CTRLZero said:

So far, I can recommend the novel, which includes a mysterious town in the middle of nowhere and what is causing the townspeople to be so "off." 

This sounds like something I would like and the library has it! 

Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasseberg is a book whose ending left me confused. It is a story about a cult as seen through the eyes of a child and I thought it was going in one direction but the last page took it in a whole other direction. 

Edited by formergothardite

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L1o2u3

I read a few books by Murakami a few years ago (1Q84, Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, South of the Border, West of the Sun and After Dark) and I liked them back then even though they were weird. Not sure if I would like them now though. 

The Man in the High Castle was really good imho :) 

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CTRLZero
On 11/25/2017 at 5:43 AM, formergothardite said:

This sounds like something I would like and the library has it! 

I finished "American Elsewhere" and really enjoyed it through the end.  If anyone else reads it, and wants to discuss some of the themes, I've put my favorite quotes and a question I'd like to discuss under the spoiler, so I don't ruin anything for others.
 

Spoiler

 

#1 - reminds me of that adoring fundie gaze:

"The lemonade is quite watered down, for the ice has all melted.  This is because Mrs. Elm has been standing at the garage door, smiling as she watches her husband work, for four straight days."

#2 - the laugh-out-loud moment (you have to read the build-up to get it):

"So... this is all some kind of... fucking teenage rebellion?"

#3 - a long explanation, but by Gene Kelly, so, hey:  Chapter 43 and following.  No particular quote, just tickled by Gene Kelly creature-splaining things.

My question:  Chapter 68 - "she thinks it's just minutes after the child was originally stolen..."  I need a refresher on what happened to the baby, but here it appears that Mona in a previous timeline(?) made the decision to take the child and, oh, my head is exploding.  So if anyone ever reads this book, do let me know what you think happened here.

 

 

I think the overall theme of this strange novel is boiled down to "the pursuit of happiness" and the problems created when you try to mold yourself to others expectations of happiness.  Some of the discussions seemed to touch on today's turmoil with the current political administration, etc.  It even reminded me of some of the fundie families we follow here, and what happens when their belief systems start to change.  But all is touched on lightly and keeps moving right along.

On another topic, I see another novel by the author of "The Martian" is out.  "Artemis" by Andy Weir.  I look forward to reading that if it ever goes on sale.

 

 

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Depressed
formergothardite
6 hours ago, CTRLZero said:

I finished "American Elsewhere" and really enjoyed it through the end.  If anyone else reads it, and wants to discuss some of the themes, I've put my favorite quotes and a question I'd like to discuss under the spoiler, so I don't ruin anything for others.

I'm planning on getting it next time I'm at the library, so as soon as I read it we can discuss. 

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AnywhereButHere

House of Leaves is on my list to read. Of course my library doesn't have it, so I've been waffling on whether I want to actually buy it. Do I, or is it one of those books where owning it will like haunt my house or something? I keep hearing weird things about it... :pb_razz:

I want to see if American Elsewhere is in my library. That sounds like something I'd really like.

I just finished Welcome to Nightvale. The first page or so are quirky but overall "normal", then all of a sudden, you're watching someone start their car (as always) by chanting, grinding the gears and whacking the dashboard with a carrot. Or something like that. It's like the author fainted from heatstroke in the desert then wrote down the ensuing dream of a small town in the middle of nowhere. It has a girl who has stayed 19 for years just because she doesn't feel the need to change, the library is a terrifying place no one wants to go to, a note that won't leave the recipient's hand. It's like small town life in an Escher print.

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Depressed
formergothardite
22 hours ago, AnywhereButHere said:

Do I, or is it one of those books where owning it will like haunt my house or something? I keep hearing weird things about it... :pb_razz:

It might haunt you! :lol: It is a book I'm glad I read, but I would never read it again. Buy it used off Thriftbooks and then donate it so it can haunt Goodwill!

22 hours ago, AnywhereButHere said:

I want to see if American Elsewhere is in my library. That sounds like something I'd really like.

I just got it from the library and I am hoping to start it next week. I'm going to start a discussion thread on it if you ever get it. The intro to it sounded fascinating. 

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CTRLZero
On 12/1/2017 at 9:34 AM, AnywhereButHere said:

House of Leaves is on my list to read. Of course my library doesn't have it, so I've been waffling on whether I want to actually buy it. Do I, or is it one of those books where owning it will like haunt my house or something? I keep hearing weird things about it... :pb_razz:

I want to see if American Elsewhere is in my library. That sounds like something I'd really like.

I was hoping House of Leaves was on Kindle, isn't everything on Amazon Kindle?!?  That's already kind of spooky... 

American Elsewhere is, in my opinion, a fun book to discuss because there are so many things going on besides the straight plotline.  @formergothardite  has started a thread on the novel.  I hope you can join us at some point.

 

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Depressed
formergothardite
1 hour ago, CTRLZero said:

I was hoping House of Leaves was on Kindle, isn't everything on Amazon Kindle?!?  That's already kind of spooky...

It would be pretty impossible to read it on a Kindle. The book is written in such a bizarre way that it really has to be read in a real book format because at some points you are just turning the book all different angles to read it. The amount of time the author invested in writing this must have been amazing. There are so many tiny details including all these drawings in the back of the book that go along with the story.  

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CTRLZero
1 minute ago, formergothardite said:

It would be pretty impossible to read it on a Kindle.

Thanks for letting me know.  My Kindle is useless when it comes to things like maps and some illustrations.  I'll get a print edition.  Thanks, again!

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CTRLZero
On 11/12/2017 at 9:27 AM, formergothardite said:

It depends. It isn't my favorite book and I wouldn't read it again, but it wasn't one of those books I had to force myself to complete.  I ended up skipping most of the second story that is in the footnotes because I thought it was dull. I found the main plot interesting, but difficult to follow sometimes with how the book is written. Having the plot interrupted with two pages of names was frustrating. 

  Reveal hidden contents

Warning, this might spoil a bit of the book.

But there are no answers at the end of the book. One of my sisters hates books that leave you with absolutely no answers, so I told her not to read this. So if you will be aggravated at getting to the end of a huge book and being as confused as when you started, don't read this book. 

 

Thank you for this forewarning on House of Leaves.  I just received it in the mail and, though I'm not ready to launch into reading it quite yet, I did read the introduction.  The author sets up the story quite intriguingly, and I liked the random(?) touches in my full-color edition.  For example, in my book, the word "house" is always printed in blue. 

Since this may turn out to be a complicated book, I decided to jot down a few notes as I plow through.  I just know this book will be good, because on the last page of the introduction is this: 

You might try scribbling in a journal, on a napkin, maybe even in the margins of this book.  [Ha, ha!  I was scribbling in the margins!  How did he know?!?]

I'll start reading it in a couple of days (finishing up on another book before I start).  If I don't disappear (I read that in a comment above), I'll report back.

:smile:

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CTRLZero

I finished House of Leaves last night and it was definitely a contender for strangest book I have ever read.  My arms got a workout from turning the book around to read the text at every angle.  By the time I finished, I was questioning my own sanity.  (Kidding!  I think...)

A few observations.  I couldn't figure out if the mad ramblings in the footnotes were to make us doubt the veracity of the Navidson report (i.e., unreliable narrator or outright lies). 

And I probably missed something (or a lot of somethings!), but how did Navidson happen to have a copy of House of Leaves while he was riding around in the cold and dark (where he is using the matches).  As mentioned in the beginning of the book, there are many riddles without answers, but that one caught me off guard.  Fortunately, I watch a lot of Star Trek, so I know better than to question the time-space continuum!

Oh, and Jamestown?  Had to go hmmmm at that. 

Thanks again for bringing this book to my attention.  What a maze of a book!

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Depressed
formergothardite
On 1/6/2018 at 12:23 PM, CTRLZero said:

My arms got a workout from turning the book around to read the text at every angle. 

Yes, it does make you turn the book around and around! It is such a weird book and so much of it doesn't make sense. Was it all the ramblings of a crazy old man? What killed the old man in the end(it seemed like there were hints of a monster)? Was there something after the younger guy? So much of it doesn't make a lot of sense!

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onekidanddone
On 11/15/2017 at 12:45 PM, GreyhoundFan said:

"As I Lay Dying" by Faulkner. I can handle strange, but that one just made my head spin. I despised it so much that I've not been able to bring myself to read anything else by Faulkner.

I had to read that in college and it did a number on me. I was already in a dark place emotionally and that book didn't help. Like you, I can't see myself reading Faulkner ever again.

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