Monday, June 6, 2011

Ten Quirky Books

Today's blog post combines two previously posted book lists for lovers of off-beat fiction.

Forever Odd by Dean Koontz, from the bestselling series about Odd Thomas who communicates with dead people. Dean Koontz is a mega-bestselling author whose style is easy to read and entertaining.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, the first in the bestselling Thursday Next series about a literary detective in a kind of futuristic/alternative U.K. where fictional characters run loose, puns are rampant and the author's imagination is really, really wild.This is sci-fi/fantasy/alternative history.

The Spare Room by Helen Garner, a friend with end stage cancer moves in and becomes the most annoying house guest imaginable. She won't leave, but what can you say in that situation? This must be the worst house guest situation ever.

Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton, middle-aged mid-Western housewife encourages an affair between her husband and local celebrity so she will have material for the book she plans to write. They do say "write what you know".

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst. A professor of linguistics tries to teach his dog, the only witness to his wife's death, to talk so he can understand whether his wife committed suicide or died accidentally.. The professor starts by taking  the dog’s water bowl away while trying to teach him to say  “water.” When he hears the dog lapping from the toilet bowl it is not exactly the Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan moment he was going for. A sad premise, but told with humor.

Swim to Me by Betsy Carter: 17 year old becomes a mermaid performer at the swimming show at Weeki Wachee Springs, FL. A coming-of-age story in a unique setting. This little book is a staff favorite.

Paper Wings by Marly Swick: growing up in the early 1960's in Madison, Wisconsin. Another coming-of-age tale.

Local Girls by Alice Hoffman: connected short stories. You can safely say that all of Alice Hoffman’s books tend to have a quirky feel which comes partially from her close observation of nature which she portrays as having a kind of creepy, predatory lushness. When humans interact with wild animals and wild vegetation in her books, strange things occur. 

The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms by J.P. Donleavy: embroiders the urban legend about the stranger who signs a funeral guest book only to find out she inherits the deceased's estate. A very dark, weird book.

Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead: in this satire of marketing excesses, a small town hires a name consultant to reshape its image. This consultant is having an identity crisis as bad, if not worse, than the town’s.

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