9 Weird Books For Literary Freaks

by Josh Hanagarne on April 7, 2011

principia discordia by Robert Anton WilsonI see you, lurking in the basement, your skin turning more and more pale from lack of sunlight. Your fingers crissed and crossed with papercuts that speak volumes of your dark literary desires.

We belong to each other. We smell like old books. We are walking libraries. Sometimes we read for so long that we forget to eat, but are able to catch spiders and rats when we must.

I too spend an inordinate time dwelling deep within the pages. I know your addiction. And since nobody else gets us, and because we are always craving newer, more deviant entertainments and delights, I have prepared for you a list of 10 weird books that will satisfy your unspeakable bookish urges.

1. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

No point in trying to sum this book up. It’s really, really weird. The non-linear product of a mind that was typically in the process of being addled by various vices. It’s also very good and the wordplay is brilliant. I’m also a fan of Burroughs’ spoken word stuff.

2. Principia Discordia: Or How I Found The Goddess and What I Did To Her When I Found Her by Malaclypse The Younger

This is a pamphlet-length book that resists tidy summaries as well. Robert Anton Wilson was a wonderful writer that often reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut in his politics and world weariness.

3. Children of The Matrix: How an Interdimensional Race Has Controlled The World For Thousands of Years–And Still Does by David Icke

I had a coworker who would not leave me alone until I read one of Icke’s books. I read this one. I’m not any closer to being convinced that our world is being controlled by bloodthirsty reptilians, at least not in the literal sense. But I cannot deny that this is a strange, strange book.

4. The Mullet: Hairstyle of The Gods

The history of the world’s most-maligned haircut. With lots of pictures.

5. The Tiny Giants Trilogy by Erik Quisling

I’ve talked about The Angry Clam before, but I don’t know if I mentioned that it is part of a trilogy. The trilogy also contains Grant’s Tomb and Adventures of Glen in My Stone Garden. If the existential madness of the clam doesn’t grab you, maybe the housefly or earthworm of the other stories will do it. Also: I have signed copies of these–thanks Erik!

6. The Monk by Matthew Lewis

One of the very first gothic horror novels, if not the first. Lust! Demons! Satan! Monkish madness!!! A very long book, but well worth the read, particularly if you’re a fan of gothic literary history.

7. Just about everything by Franz Kafka

If you have not yet read In The Penal Colony, The Metamorphosis, The Trial, or any of his other short works, just trust me. And go read them.

8. The Little King December by Alex Hacke

A tiny red king, three inches high, investigates some of life’s biggest questions in this lovely little book which was illustrated by Michael Sowa, who is also one of my favorite artists.

9. The Epileptic Bicycle by Edward Gorey

Nothing about this book makes any sense, in the best possible way. As with most of Gorey’s works, it’s best to read this one aloud just to hear how the words sound when they’re put together.

And that, faithful deviants, is that.

Please fill in the blanks. I’m sure that we could cobble together a list several hundred oddities long.

Josh

PS: Please join the Book Club. It’s not always this odd, but it’s always fun.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather April 7, 2011 at 10:38 am

Another Gorey that’s my favorite–The Haunted Tea-Cosey. “THAT WILL BE ENOUGH OF THAT!”

I’d also vote for lots of Daniel Pinkwater’s stuff, especially “Young Adult Novel.” Short and really, REALLY funny!
I also like his classic children’s story, “Wempyres,” which may be out of print now, unfortunately. “So long, Sonny-boy! We’ll see you in the funny papers!”

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Heather April 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

Ooooo, just thought of another one! “Divine Right’s Trip.”

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Tony April 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

For physically weird, Tree of Codes is pretty high up there for cutting one book out of another one. Seeing as you mentioned Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminatus! Trilogy should certainly be on the list for storyline and mad jump cuts. The Atrocity Exhibition… heck, most things by Ballard.

For proper odd though, I have to go with the Codex Seraphinianus.. I would love to own a copy.

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fluxustulip April 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I met David Icke and he’s one trippy dude. He really believes his schtick, has the wildest eyes I’ve ever encountered, and makes no sense whatsoever. His books are more coherent.
Jon Ronson, the man who wrote “Men Who Stare At Goats”, wrote a response to Icke (and others who espouse the same ideas) called “Them: Adventures with Extremists”. It’s a quick read. And will get rid of any lingering bad feelings created by reading Icke or those like him. Another along the same line is “Behold A Pale Horse” by Cooper. Crazy stuff. I love Robert Anton Wilson. A lot of people think “Hitchhiker’s Guide” is weird and unreadable but they may have some sort of undiagnosed brain problem.
More to add to the list: “Finnegan’s Wake”, all the Proust, and my favorite book of all time even though I have yet to read the entire thing “Life: A User’s Manual” by Perec.

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Josh Hanagarne April 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

Where did you meet Icke?

I’ve never heard of Behold A Pale Horse or the Perec book, thank you. Very exciting. Do you have a favorite Wilson book?

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fluxustulip April 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I worked at the BodhiTree Bookstore in West Hollywood…you get to meet a lot of unique individuals there.
There is an interesting site that teaches classes on RAW’s philo/writings called http://www.maybelogic.com . I don’t know how active it is right now.
My favorite-?-RAW…hmmm…I can’t choose. I like parts of each of them. My uncle left the “Cosmic Trigger” behind when he moved when I was 10 and that’s the first one I read. Scared the heck out of me but made me laugh and think. So, I’ll go with that.

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Josh Hanagarne April 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Cosmic Trigger 2 was the first one I read.

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