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Strangest books you've read

Greg Charles

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2968

The premise of one book I read was that spayed female house cats were running a brothel for un-neutered toms. It was played as drama/adventure sort of like Watership Down, but with cats ... horny cats. I believe it was even called Cathouse (ugh), but I wouldn't swear to that.

Of course, there's also the story of Gregor Samsa, but I liked that one.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24199

Well, there was The Tsar's Dwarf, which is basically about a lice-ridden, dwarf-loathing dwarf prostitute.

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Joe Ess

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 9189

House of Leaves

The format and structure of the novel is unconventional, with unusual page layout and style, making it ergodic literature. It contains copious footnotes, many of which contain footnotes themselves, and some of which reference books that do not exist.[1] Some pages contain only a few words or lines of text, arranged in strange ways to mirror the events in the story, often creating both an agoraphobic and a claustrophobic effect. The novel is also distinctive for its multiple narrators, who interact with each other throughout the story in disorienting and elaborate ways.

I got lost and never finished it.

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Greg Charles

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2968

Wow, even the description is pretty bizarre. Ergodic literature? Also, how can an arrangement of words create claustrophobia and agoraphobia?
Joe Ess

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 9189

Greg Charles wrote:Also, how can an arrangement of words create claustrophobia and agoraphobia?

One of the settings in the book is an enormous labyrinth under a house so large that in some rooms the characters cannot see the opposite walls with their lights. I could see how that would be simultaneously claustrophobic (tiny lit area) and agoraphobic (enormous space).
Interesting fact: the author's sister is the singer Poe. Her album Haunted is about House of Leaves. There's a version of the single Hey Pretty on which Danielewski reads a scene from the book (video on YouTube probably not safe for work).
Paul Clapham

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 19973

For a more conventional version of strange: the Gormenghast series.
Mandar Khire
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 11, 2007
Posts: 557

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions...
Very strange but interesting book ever i read..

Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10825

My parents always thought my school report card as strange. Technically its not a book, but (for them) it was certainly an interesting read.

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chris webster

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 2289

Greg Charles wrote:Of course, there's also the story of Gregor Samsa, but I liked that one.

Me too - pretty much anything by Kafka is likely to qualify as strange. German seems to lend itself to strange and dark literature. I got about halfway through G√ľnter Grass's "The Tin Drum" in German as a student, but got side-tracked by beer and vacations, so I never finished it (I watched the film to try and catch up easily, but the film doesn't cover the whole book). But that is definitely a very strange book.
Rohini Sahuji

Joined: Jul 06, 2007
Posts: 28

I think if we put all the posts of this forum in a book
that indeed will be one of the Strangest Book!!!

marc weber

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Joe Ess wrote:House of Leaves

House of Leaves is my favorite book! I'm planning to read it again this winter.

But strangest? Probably The Atrocity Exhibition by J. G. Ballard.

"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer
Steve Fahlbusch

Joined: Sep 18, 2000
Posts: 602

The Illuminatus! Trilogy

From wiki

The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a series of three novels written by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson first published in 1975.[1] The trilogy is a satirical, postmodern, science fiction-influenced adventure story; a drug-, sex-, and magic-laden trek through a number of conspiracy theories, both historical and imaginary, related to the authors' version of the Illuminati. The narrative often switches between third and first person perspectives and jumps around in time. It is thematically dense, covering topics like counterculture, numerology, and Discordianism.

The trilogy comprises The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan. They were first published as three separate volumes starting in September 1975. In 1984 they were published as an omnibus edition, and are now more commonly reprinted in the latter form.

In 1986 the trilogy won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, designed to honor classic libertarian fiction.[2]

Illuminatus! has been adapted for the stage, and has influenced several modern writers, musicians, and games-makers. The popularity of the word "fnord" and the 23 enigma can both be attributed to the trilogy. It remains a seminal work of conspiracy fiction, predating by years such novels as Foucault's Pendulum and The Da Vinci Code.

Wendy Gibbons

Joined: Oct 21, 2008
Posts: 1107

i read oranges aren't the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson and loved it, so i tried another one of her books (no idea which one) it was about people living in houses with all the furniture supported from the ceiling with string, and that was one of the least weird bits, i gave up after 3 chapters just not getting any of the symbolism (i presumed)
Rishi Shah
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 05, 2012
Posts: 43

The Man Book by Otto DeFay
Joe Ess

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 9189

Steve Fahlbusch wrote:The Illuminatus! Trilogy

That's a whole heap of crazy in those books! I really enjoyed them.
Richard Tookey

Joined: Aug 27, 2012
Posts: 1166

"Has Hawking Erred" by Gerhard Krause.

The reference in the title is to Hawkins' "A Brief History Of Time" but seems only to get publicity since most of the Krause book is concerned with trying to show that the Einstein curved space concept and all it's consequences are rubbish. The most worrying feature of the book is an introduction by Professor Jan Boeyens who is the Dean of The Faculty of Science at Witwatersrand University! Though Boeyens does not explicitly endorse the content of the book the very fact that he has written the introduction and does not refute the content is strange.

Tim McGuire
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 30, 2003
Posts: 820

For real strangeness, read non-fiction

These two books told stories that seem to far-fetched for fiction:

The March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman ( This book takes three historical periods (American Revolution, Protestant Reformation, and Vietnam era) and shows how those in power (the british throne, the catholic church, and the USA) spectacularly screwed things up.


The Big Short ( This is a very recent book about the real-estate bubble and bust. It was a strange story in many ways at once including the personalities involved, the imaginative financial dealings, and the pure dysfunction on display.

I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Strangest books you've read
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