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Literature's 10 Most Unusual Books as Chosen by The Bookwitty Community.

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“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” -Jorge Luis Borges


If paradise is a library, it's one filled with all kinds of books, from the earliest mythology writings to the latest in fiction.

Some of these books evoke distant memories, while others make us question everything we've ever believed in.

When asked to choose the most unusual books they've ever read, the Bookwitty community provided a selection of novels that definitely aren't your usual reads.

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Murakami's novel is at once a classic quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is a bewitching and wildly inventive novel from a master stylist.

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Ready Player One

It's the year 2044, and the world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

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The Art of Racing in the Rain

A heart-warming and inspirational tale in which Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on the race track, one can successfully navigate the ordeals and travails one encounters in life. Enzo relates the story of his human family, sharing their tragedies and triumphs. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations as a dog, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family. The Art of Racing in the Rain is a testament to a man's life, given by his dog. But it is also a testament to the dog, himself. Though Enzo cannot speak, he understands everything that happens around him as he bears witness to his master's problems. His enforced muteness only refines his listening ability, and allows him to understand many of life's nuances that are lost on most humans. With humour, sharp observation, and a courageous heart, Enzo guides the reader to the bittersweet yet ultimately satisfying conclusion: there are no limitations to what we can achieve, if we truly know where we want to be.

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Geek Love

Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out-with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes-to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There';s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family';s most precious-and dangerous-asset. As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Life After Life

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again until you finally got it right? During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. What if the same baby were born and lived to tell the tale? What if there were second chances? And third chances? What if there were an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to? 

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The Bell Jar

This novel is not political nor historical in any narrow sense, but in looking at the madness of the world and the world of madness, it forces us to consider the great question posed by all truly realistic fiction: What is reality and how can it be confronted? 

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Viper Wine

Nominated for the Folio Prize Famed beauty Venetia Stanley is so extravagantly dazzling she has inspired Ben Jonson to poetry and Van Dyck to painting, provoking adoration and emulation from the masses. Stampedes follow her arrival in town. But as she approaches middle age, the attention turns to scrutiny. Her adoring husband Sir Kenelm Digby - philosopher, alchemist and time-traveller - wishes she would age naturally, but Venetia discovers a potent and addictive elixir of youth, Viper Wine. Set on the eve of the English Civil War, and based on a true story, this brilliant novel asks a very contemporary question: what is the cost of beauty? 'Dazzling' Observer 'Intoxicating' Independent on Sunday 'Wickedly funny' The Times

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Perfume

Patrick Suskind's "Perfume" is a classic novel of death and sensuality in Paris. 'In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent...' "An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution". ("Guardian"). "A fantastic tale of murder and twisted eroticism controlled by a disgusted loathing of humanity...Clever, stylish, absorbing and well worth reading". ("Literary Review"). "A meditation on the nature of death, desire and decay ...a remarkable debut". (Peter Ackroyd, "The New York Times Book Review"). "Unlike anything else one has read. A phenomenon...Everyone seems to want to get a whiff of this strange perfume, which will remain unique in contemporary literature". ("Figaro"). "An ingenious and totally absorbing fantasy". ("Daily Telegraph"). "Witty, stylish and ferociously absorbing". ("Observer"). Patrick Suskind was born near Munich, in 1949. He studied medieval and modern history at the University of Munich. His first play, "The Double Bass", was written in 1980 and became an international success. His first novel, "Perfume", became an internationally acclaimed bestseller. He is also the author of "The Pigeon" and "Mr. Summer's Story", and a coauthor of the enormously successful German television series "Kir Royal". Patrick Suskind lives and writes in Munich.

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A Clockwork Orange

A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

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The Hotel New Hampshire

 'The first of my father's illusions was that bears could survive the life lived by human beings, and the second was that human beings could survive a life led in hotels'. The protagonists of the novel are the members of the Berry Family, who we follow on their adventures in different hotels, from New England to Vienna, during the Nazi era.

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Marketing Intern at Bookwitty Montreal. Dj. Vinyl collector. Wine enthusiast.

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