Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Most Unique Books I've Read

Most Unique Books I've Read

Photo Credit: sumthinblue.com
Regarding the Fountain "...tells the entire story through notes, memos, letters, and other documents."

This is Not a Book 
Much like Keri Smith's earlier book, Wreck This Journal, this is a book that requires a reader/writer to fill it. Take a look at the author's website...if you have the secret code.

Encyclopedia of Ordinary Life
An autobiography told as entries to an encyclopedia. Here are some excerpts

The Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman "Celebrated illustrator Maira Kalman traveled to Washington, D.C., launching a year-long investigation of American democracy and its workings. The result is an artist’s idiosyncratic vision of history and contemporary politics."

The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers "...demands that a reader make connections between such diversities as the genetic code and musical notation, Flemish art and biological nomenclature, the logic of computer systems and the Dewey decimal classification, cartography and chemistry." For a glimpse of how complex this novel is, take a look at this video interpretation of the book commissioned by the University of Illinois.

ABC3D by Marion Bataille
Here's the whole book in an authorized video. Trust me, it won't keep you from buying a real copy.

The Interrogative Mood is a "...book fashioned solely as a series of questions beginning with his limpid first: Are your emotions pure? and ending with his prickly last: Are you leaving now? Would you? Would you mind?" The author, Padgett Powell, reads from his book here.

The Tattooed Map "Somewhere in Northern Africa, an intrepid traveler awakens with a mysterious mark on her hand that soon develops into a detailed, macabre map spreading across her skin. As Lydia's private journal entries unfold complete with fold-out maps, photographs, drawings, and handwritten notes the reader becomes as drawn into the conundrum of the tattooed map as Lydia herself."

Press Here by Herve Tullet 
A book trailer for Press Here is here.

Anagrams The main character "...hides from us, from herself behind imaginary identities, relationships, and scenarios in which elements of character and action are transposed like the letters of those anagrams she scribbles on napkins. Her fantasies are offered as straight narrative along with a stream of wisecracks...."

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami "In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat.  Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo."

Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence is "...told through a series of removable letters and postcards between the two main characters...."

Tales from Outer Suburbia "Fifteen short texts, each accompanied by Tan's signature black-and-white and full-color artwork, take the mundane world and transform it into a place of magical wonders."

Monster at the End of the Book is a beloved Golden book in which "...lovable, furry old Grover begs the reader not to turn the page . . . for a monster is at the end of the book! But, of course, the monster is none other than Grover himself."

People by Peter Spier is a compendium of "...minutely detailed and exquisite paintings of human beings on all four continents."

Material World is an experiment; "...sixteen of the world’s foremost photographers traveled to thirty nations around the globe to live for a week with families that were statistically average for that nation. At the end of each visit, photographer and family collaborated on a remarkable portrait of the family members outside their home, surrounded by all of their possessions."

Photo Credit: fivebirdsonparade.com
Life-Size Zoo "Acclaimed wildlife photographer Toyofumi Fukuda visited Japan's premier zoos to capture remarkably vivid and detailed close-up photographs of 21 animals, from pandas and meerkats to giraffes, rhinos, and elephants...."

Ella Minnow Pea The subtitle of the hardback version of this book tells all: "a progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable." From Amazon: "Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island’s Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. As the letters progressively drop from the statue they also disappear from the novel."

Ten Thousand Stories "Every page is divided into four turnable mini-pages that mix and match to create 10,000 different story combinations, each with its own quirky watercolor illustration." The husband-and-wife/author-and-illustrator talk about their book here.

Building Stories is "...a huge box containing 14 differently sized, formatted, and bound pieces: books, pamphlets, broadsheets, scraps, and even a unfoldable board that would be at home in a Monopoly box."

A Void by Georges Perec "A Void is a metaphysical whodunit, a story chock-full of plots and subplots, of trails in pursuit of trails, all of which afford Perec occasion to display his virtuosity as a verbal magician, acrobat, and sad-eyed clown. It is also an outrageous verbal stunt: a 300-page novel that never once employs the letter E."

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.


  1. I haven't heard of any of these books! They look very unique and different. Thanks for stopping by my TTT!

    Under The Mountain

  2. My favorite category of reads. Though sometimes a gimmick can just plain feel like a gimmick.

  3. Life-Size Zoo looks so cute. And thanks for going old-school with Grover.

    My TTT

  4. Grover has to be one of the first wacky books.

  5. Regarding the Fountain looks really good!

  6. Great list! A lot of these look really fun to read :D

    My TTT

  7. I haven't read most of the books on your list except for The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, which I don't remember much of. Time for a reread!

  8. Wow! What a collection! I had no idea that there were so many unusual books. Love this list. I'll come back to it when I need a gift for someone I don't know well -- any of these should be a delight to any one.

  9. This is a truly prodigious list of very unique books! You've done significant exploration in this area. I am sort of intrigued by the books that have a lot of other formats in which they tell the story - like scraps of paper, postcards etc.... Which of the books you have read like this any that you've read like this have been the most worthwhile?

  10. Wow, your whole list is really unique and fun! I haven't seen any of these before!!! The real life zoo one is awesome :D

  11. I always take something away from Maira Kalman, I think.

  12. Great list, I love where you went with it!
    Thanks for stopping by my TTT post
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  13. What a great twist! Most of these are new to me and they look like so much fun. So many generations have adored the Grover book. It was my husband's favorite and my kids loved it, as well. You have me thinking about all the unique books I've read. :)


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