Books, Lists, Writing

13 Unique Books You Will Want Right Now

So I went on a quest recently, on a quest for uniqueness in the world of books. And I found 13 unique books you will want right now!! I know I do! Some I knew from earlier but had never gotten around to reading them, others are new discoveries for me as well; and I have since added all of them to my get-it-for-myself or read-it-soon lists…

Stephen King said that “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” And these books are even more so!! Some of these books are unique or weird because of their writing style; others because of how they look; and still others, well, you just have to see for yourself….

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So, without further ado, here is the list of the

13 Unique Books You Will Want Right Now

Hopscotch

Title: Hopscotch
Author: Julio Cortázar
Illustrator: Kerascoet
Length: 576 pages (!)
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Pantheon

Goodreads ||  Book Depository || Target ||
Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

Expendable chapters, various narrative techniques, and an author’s note suggesting how to hopscotch your way across Hopscotch. He provides various options on how to read the book; chapters 1 – 56 and skip the rest, or chapters 1 – 155 (yes!!); or navigate using the series provided; or maybe, be unique and make your own pattern of reading.

The unconventional reading makes this book unique indeed; for those who tend to skip pages, or go back and forth, this one will seem cool!!

Wish me luck as I have begun attempting to read this one….

Uniqueness Factor: Writing

This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions

Title: This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions
Author and Artist: Kelli Anderson
Length: 5 pages (yes, just 5!)
Genre: Crafts & Hobbies
Publisher: Chronicle Books; Pop Edition
Age Range: All ages

Goodreads || Book Depository ||
Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

I have loved popup books for a looooonng time; I recall having one tiny 3 * 4 inch sized popup when I was a tot. It had a nursery rhyme on each page – Humpty Dumpty, Twinkle Twinkle and the like! As far as I recall (or I am guessing), someone gifted it when my brother was born.

This book is a popup for all ages; and one adults will delight in!! All of five pages long, it includes six tools we can actually use…(My gift for myself this Christmas!)

Uniqueness Factor: The physical book

The Miniature Book of Miniature Golf

Title: The Miniature Book of Miniature Golf
Author and Artist: Mike Vago
Length: 18 pages
Genre: Sports
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Age Range: 8 years and up

Goodreads ||  Book Depository ||
Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

While I am not a golfer, I do enjoy getting those tiny table-top games every once in a while. They make perfect white-elephant gifts too, don’t you think? You know, the tiny baseball, billiard or bowling games you can set up anywhere and play!

This book is exactly that. You can play a game of golf as you turn the pages of the book. And I have a couple of avid golfers among friends and family who will enjoy this book, so I know what to gift them next.

And if you are looking for something like this for younger audiences, Train by the same author will delight little ones for sure!

Uniqueness Factor: The physical book

Ella Minnow Pea

Title: Ella Minnow Pea
Author: Mark Dunn
Length: 208 pages
Genre: Epistolary Fiction
Publisher: Anchor

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Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

Imagine a world where letters of the alphabet start disappearing; and you can’t use them anymore. Like the whole novel Gadsby written without the letter E (and I used that letter 12, well 17 times in this sentence)! That is what this unique sounding novel is all about.

This is set in the fictional world of Nollop named after Nevil Nollop, who coined the famous pangram ‘the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.’

When letter tiles start falling for no reason from Nollop’s statue, the council decides to start banning the use of the fallen letters, with defiance leading to drastic consequences. Ella Minnow Pea, a girl living on this island, strives to fight against this absurd totalitarianism and fight for the freedom of expression.

And to add to the reader’s delight, those letters also start disappearing from the novel itself! I know I am reading this, and soon..

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

Title: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
Author: Italo Calvino, William Weaver (Translator)
Length: 260 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: HMH Books

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Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

A cool experimental writing style that is all about the reader. If I enjoy this book half as much as I enjoyed its Goodreads reviews, that will be more than enough for me.

From the book’s description online: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another.

Cloud Atlas

Title: Cloud Atlas
Author: David Mitchell
Length: 509 pages
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (August 17, 2004)

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Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

I recall hearing about this for the first time when the movie based on this was released. While I think I saw the movie, I am not too sure now. So I can safely try to read this book, as if for the first time.

Likened to the Matryoshka Russian dolls placed one inside the other some times, this book takes the reader on a series of interlocked tales across time and space, and heading back to the beginning. As I started reading this (also, along with Hopscotch and other reads already on), I wondered why I did not read this earlier. The first page has me hooked…

Classic Fairytale Pop-up Books

Title: Classic Fairytale Pop-up Books – Various
Author: Various
Illustrator: Robert Sabuda
Length: 12 pages
Genre: Classics/Novelty/Popup Books
Publisher: Little Simon
Age Range: 4- 8 years and up!!

Goodreads || Book Depository || Target || Barnes and Noble || Uncommon Goods

I first noticed these books on one of my favorite places to find unique gifts on the web, on the Uncommon Goods website. And I am always awed by Robert Sabuda’s work. One of the first books I read (had bought as a gift for a dino-fan) was his Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs : The Definitive Pop-Up. And this collection of books is based on popular fairy tales, including Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Alphabetical Africa

Title: Alphabetical Africa
Author: Walter Abish
Illustrator: Kerascoet
Length: 168 pages
Genre:
Publisher: New Directions Publishing

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Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

I first read about this book sometime last year when I was working on a writing assignment for a class; and I was fascinated with the concept and its format. I was awed by the author’s attempt to write purely in alliteration throughout the book. In short, 52 chapters each devoted to one letter, with all the words in each chapter beginning with only the featured letter. The first 26 chapters take the reader from A to Z and then in reverse.

The Eyre Affair

Title: The Eyre Affair
Author: Jasper Fforde
Length: 400 pages
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group
Age Range: 12 and up

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Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

Another unique book that a book lover will devour. The protagonist of this book – Thursday Next – is a literary detective; she enters literary worlds to solve, and in this case, to stop a literary crime from happening. The premise sounds fascinating enough for me to add this to my next set of reading.

Long Way Down

Title: Long Way Down
Author: Jason Reynolds
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Teen & YA Fiction
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Age Range: 12 years and up

Goodreads ||  Book Depository || Target ||
Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

Jason Reynolds, a novel in verse, multiple-award-winner: these are just some of the reasons to pick up this book. And then the fact that it is all about just sixty seconds. That long way down lasts all of sixty seconds…

House of Leaves 

Title: House of Leaves 
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Length: 736 pages
Genre: Fiction/Horror
Publisher: Transworld Publishers

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Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

This book is on virtually every list of weird books, and I recall seeing it a few years back. The only reason I have not yet added it to my TBR is the genre of the book; one I rarely read. So while the formatting/writing style intrigue me, the genre and the size keep me away, for now.

Flip Book Fan: A Breezy Little Book

Title: Flip Book Fan: A Breezy Little Book
Author and Artist: Gui Borchert
Length: 112 pages
Genre: Novelty Books
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Age Range: All ages

Goodreads ||  Book Depository ||  IndieBound

I recall spending endless summer hours making flip books to simply enjoy them; and yes, for cooling down during those hot Indian summers. This takes both those uses for a flip book literally, and oh so creatively!! A fun book to have and to gift. Like the GoodReads description says at the start: Literally the coolest book ever.

And if you want to make your own flip books, check out these kits, or these blank flipbooks, or simply use scrap paper at home!!

S.

Title: S.
Author: J.J. Abrams, Doug Dorst
Length: 456 pages
Genre: Action and Adventure
Publisher: Mulholland Books

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Barnes and Noble || IndieBound

Not sure what I can say about this book that hasn’t been said already. Needless to say, the concept and the formatting of this book make it a must-read indeed! Don’t forget to read the footnotes and the margins in this book! And I look forward to getting this one in the mail (complete with 22 inserts including notes, letters, and more). (The marginalized notes of a book within a book also reminded me of my recent read – The Library of Lost Things)

As Abrams himself says in an interview in The New Yorker, “It’s intended to be a celebration of the analog, of the physical object.”

From the book’s description: S. , conceived by filmmaker J. J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst, is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand. It is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.

And one bonus (though I had many more!)

My Miniature Library

Title: My Miniature Library
Author: Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini (Idea)
Publishers: Laurence King Publishing
Genre: Novelty Books
Age-Range: 7 – 11 years and up!

Goodreads || Book Depository ||
Barnes and Noble || IndieBound
|| Uncommon Goods

While I had hoped to buy it for myself and review this it eons ago, I never did. I bought it as a gift for a niece and will do so for myself soon. I do love miniature books, simply because!! So, here is to adding another item to my holiday wishlist for myself…

h/t: Buzzfeed, Barnes&Noble, BookRiot

And if you still want more, here you go

More lists of books that are cool, unique, weird, and so on

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of these books? Your thoughts on them? And do you have any recommendations for unusual books? I would love to add them to the list..Also, what do you think makes a book unique?

10 thoughts on “13 Unique Books You Will Want Right Now

  1. I haven’t read any of these books. But each one looks like great fun. Also, I might consider writing and illustrating a weird book of my own! It has to feature a few groundhogs eating their way through their world and maybe a few other unique critters.

  2. I am putting together my sons and my reading list for the year and I can’t wait to sit down and look through this list of books you shared with me. As I might have new books to add to our list.

  3. Great list of books. Lia loves watching the stars and moon, the pop-up Planetarium book sounds perfect. Also I’ve been thinking of Hopscotch lately but don’t remember how to play it! I’ll have to check that book out so Lia and I can Hopscotch!

    1. 🙂 While I know that book is not for Lia, I am sure you will find a way to make it a fun activity for the both of you.. And I wish I can come over there and teach you and Lia so we can hopscotch together..
      And I know I am going to look for and get that popup book for myself

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