Offbeat Books: A Top Ten Tuesday List

April 8, 2014 Top Ten Tuesday 39

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

You know what I love about Tuesdays? Making lists with the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish! This week we’ve been tasked with making a list of some of the most unique books we’ve read. This should be fun!


1. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell: Dude. This is about a family that runs their own amusement park centered on wrestling alligators. Oh yeah. A rival amusement park that is designed to simulate Hell features prominently. Offbeat? Quirky? Unique? I think so! (my review)

2. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: I have to admit that this book wasn’t really my cup of tea, but it’s got quirk in spades. A family so intent on creating a family of oddities that they experiment with radioactive isotopes during gestation? Complete craziness, I tell you! (my review)

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: The most wondrous ride through a magical circus that has ever been! I love the crap out of this book, it’s gorgeous and lovely, whimsical and poignant. (my review)


4. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: How sweet was this book? Don isn’t your typical leading man, but the love story was just a delight. Rosie and Don and cocktail mixing FTW! (my review)

5. Room by Emma Donoghue: I thought this book was innovative. Telling the story of a kidnapping and subsequent captivity at the hands of a madman through the eyes of a child? Fascinating perspective. (my review)

6. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster: I didn’t read this as a kid, but I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t. So much wordplay and fun and learning! It’s imagination taken to the next level!

7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: How much more imaginative can you get than creating an entire alternate universe in London’s subway tunnels? Gaiman mingles mythology and legend in the craziest ways. Weird and fabulous. (my review)


8. Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking by Scott Navicky: Oooooh this book! It’s tough to describe this one, but it sure is a crazy ride. I’m not just saying that because I was blurbed in the paperback… But I was BLURBED in the paperback!!! (my review)

9. Flight by Sherman Alexie: This book takes teen angst to a whole new dimension… Like literally, because the protagonist gets all time-travely and metaphysical. (my review)

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: I really loved this book! Getting inside the head of Christopher who suffered on the Autism spectrum was fascinating. (my review)


What about you, Bookworms? What are some of your favorite weird, unique, quirky, crazy reads? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

39 Responses to “Offbeat Books: A Top Ten Tuesday List”

  1. Melinda

    You have a great list here, although I know most of the books purely by reviews I’ve read. Some of them are even on the TBR!

  2. bybee

    This isn’t a favorite, but it is quirky: Diverdiso (not sure of spelling) by Michael Ondatjaae. (not sure of that spelling, either.) Anyway, the plot seems to be going in one direction, then suddenly, we start following a minor character, then that character leads into a new minor character. Puzzling stuff.

  3. Nish

    The only book I’ve read from your list is Neverwhere and that is a pretty unusual book.

    And have you changed the look of your blog? Something looks different.

    • Words For Worms

      I did make a few tweaks to the blog layout- I used a different theme and cleaned up the sidebar a little. I thought it was looking a bit cluttered.

  4. Jennine G.

    Well, now I’ve made a connection that makes me feel bad. I didn’t like Curious Dog or Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close (and read them years apart so never connected them before). They have that similar autistic first person narrator. Hmmm…should probably read more books like that and reread those two.

    • Words For Worms

      I haven’t read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but just because you read two books with autistic narrators you didn’t like, you shouldn’t feel bad. Did you read The Rosie Project? Don, though it isn’t specifically stated, pretty clearly suffers from Aspberger’s, but it’s a whole different feel.

  5. Ashley F

    Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series is my go-to whimsy. I mean she’s a book detective!!! If you haven’t read that series OMG. I mean she has a pet cloned Dodo. And did I mention BOOK DETECTIVE. It’s like book nerd Nirvana.

    How have we never discussed this series before!!!

      • Ashley F

        You will LOVE THEM. Trust me. It was a series I had totally forgotten for a while and then I found out he was still writing other books that I NEED TO READ.

  6. Charleen

    Probably the most unique book I’ve ever read is one called Everything Matters! (yes, with the exclamation point) by Ron Currie, Jr. Unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy it… but it was definitely interesting. One of two books I’ve read that make significant use of second-person, and that part of it was actually done really well.

  7. Megan M.

    So much good stuff on this list! I’ve really got to read The Night Circus.

    I second the Thursday Next books. They are wildly inventive!

  8. Rory

    Is it weird that it’s one of my life goals to be blurbed?

    Swamplandia – very unique. I still have Geek Love in my pile based your recommendation as a “Rory book”.

    • Words For Worms

      Totally admirable life goal! It caught me completely by surprise but now I feel a bit like a rock star :). I stand by Geek Love being a “Rory book.” It just is.

  9. Trish

    The Curious Incident of the Dog is one that I really want to re-read. And Room is on my shelf. I’ve had to skip every single description of it today because I don’t want to know more than I already know! LOL. Fun list.

  10. Megan

    Okay – the most offbeat, thoroughly enjoyable book I have ever read is “Gullible’s Travels” by Cash Peters. (NOT to be confused with “Gulliver’s Travels.”)

    Gullible’s Travels is narrated by Cash Peter, who is a travel journalist for NPR and has to cover such strange attractions as the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, The Kansas Museum of Barbed Wire, The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices.

    I was laughing until I was crying with this book. It is all true. The places are true. He simply documents his travels. Only Cash Peters could make visiting the Biggest Ball of Twine a wonderful chapter.

  11. Liesel Hill

    Great list! Haven’t read many of those, but I’ll have to check a few of them out. I’m seeing that Room book on several lists. Hmmm… Happy Tuesday! 😀
    My TTT

    • Words For Worms

      Karen Russell is a tough one for me. I did enjoy Swamplandia!, but with some reservations. I tried a book of her short stories and DNF’d. If you like magical realism and a whole lot of quirk, you might love her. Leah from Books Speak Volumes claims Karen Russell is her spirit animal LOL.

  12. Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    I love how eclectic your picks were. I agree with a lot of them, and Room really was unique for me, too. I also thought Push by Sapphire was unique and so was The Flame Alphabet. Good list, though!

  13. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Aw, The Phantom Tollbooth! That’s an excellent entry for this list — not one that would have occurred to me, but it’s definitely unique. I did read it as a kid, and loved it. I’ve always been sad there weren’t more Norton Juster books for me to read.

    • Words For Worms

      Whimsy is hard to define. I think I’m going to stop making any attempt and just thrust The Phantom Tollbooth into the hands of unsuspecting children studying vocabulary lessons.

Talk to me, Bookworms!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.