Odd is subjective. Let me tell you what makes a book odd for me, because my criteria covers a lot of ground, and will likely cover even more ground as the number of entries increases.
- Is the cover bizarre, lurid or otherwise interesting? If so, that can be enough for me to consider the book odd enough to pick up and read. The content may prove to be normal but more often than not, a bizarre cover = an odd book.
- Is the title provocative, weird, insane or otherwise off-center? That can also be enough for me to consider the book odd enough to read.
- Is the content odd? Is the book about the discovery of Lemuria? Is cannibalism or necrophilia a plot element? Is the content so horrific by even modern standards of horror that the average person would find it gut-wrenching? Does the book enumerate conspiracy theories? Does the book rely on intervention from people from other dimensions to outline their plan for the human race. How about experimental prose? Disturbing photos? Nostalgia, science, or therapeutic norms in the past that by today’s customs seem… off-putting? Is Carlton Mellick III in any way involved? How about Peter Sotos? Jim Keith? If any of the answers are yes, then I will likely consider the book odd.
My goal here is to discuss odd books, not to mock them, but there comes a time when a book is so egregious that mocking it dismissively is the only way to discuss it. Hopefully this will seldom happen, as I can find at least the value of amusement in even the worst odd books I find out there.
You may also notice some de facto odd authors curiously absent from my blog. Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, William Gibson, Kathy Acker, Angela Carter and others of literary standing will likely never be discussed here. Their absence is due to several reasons. First, they are too easy – lots of academics have explored and written extensively about these authors and their books. Second, I find some of these outre authors tiresome – some, not all, but I will admit that I have tried to read Naked Lunch more times than I have started a diet and I have yet to finish it. These authors are odd, but by a completely arbitrary metric on my end, I likely will not consider any of these books in my odd analysis.
I read incessantly. Sometimes I read mainstream books or best sellers, but more often than not, it is an odd book you will find on my bedside table. Nothing pleases me more than when someone gives me information about a book they think I will like. If you want to share, comment freely or send an e-mail to me at ireadoddbooks at gmail.com.