Books, Current Events, Lists, Reviews

Unusual Books + Celebrating Authors of the Week

Unusual books… that is what my post title says. And well, it might feel misleading as you see the books within it but not really.. First, two of the books have the word ‘unusual’ in their title! And second, aren’t all books unusual in their own way? Like each person is unique in their own way…

Unusual, for me, is like an intriguing concept that invites us to step away from the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary. It is a world of possibilities, where the unexpected and unique and cool wait for us, and invite us to explore our imaginations, to question the status quo, and to discover the hidden gems that lie within and beyond the surface of the everyday.

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Unusual Books (Aren’t All Books Unusual in Their Own Way?)

Unusually Grand ideas

Unusually Grand Ideas: Poems by James Davis May (Poetry/Love & Loss | LSU Press | February 22, 2023)

Description: James Davis May’s poems describe mental illness with nuance, giving a full account of the darkness but also the flashes of hope, love, and even humor that lead toward healing.

My Quick Thoughts: Powerful, insightful, and beautiful poems within this current read of poetry.

The Unusual Penguin

The Unusual Penguin by Madeleine MacRae and illustrated by Anna Fernandez (Children’s Fiction/Self-Esteem | 4 – 10 years, and up | Weeva, Inc. |March 6, 2023)

Description: This book is a sweet smart narrative for every child and adult who has felt different or strange or who just simply is not like the other people around them.

My Quick Thoughts: Tender, tugging at heartstrings, honest, and so very inspiring too. See everyone for who they are (and yourselves too). The message – ‘Be You’ – is powerfully and poignantly portrayed through the sweet rhyming text and adorable illustrations in this book.

Upside Down

Upside Down by written and illustrated by Katarina Macurova (Children’s Fiction | 3 – 6 years | Albatros Media | November 22, 2022)

Description: A picture book with a cute teddy bear in the main role showing us that sometimes the truth is hidden deep down and you need to be patient to get it revealed.

My Quick Thoughts: Oh my! So very sweet! Both the artwork and the narrative are simply delightful and sure to keep you smiling as you read this one..

Celebrating Authors of the Week: Books and Unusual Somethings

This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday over at ThatArtsyReaderGirl is books we did not finish. I can’t recall books I DNF simply because I just couldn’t get myself to read them anymore. But I do have many books I had to stop because of lack of time (and the loan expired on it) so I will get back to them and finish them for sure later. So this week, I wanted to do something different, and decided to celebrate some of the authors who have birthdays this week. How am I doing that? With a book and something extra (facts/quotes/etc) for each of them.

Aldous Huxley (July 26)

Huxley completed his first novel (unpublished) at age 17 – and he typed it during a period when he was totally blind!! He couldn’t even read what he had typed (by touch)… (source)

‘There are quiet places also in the mind’, he said meditatively. ‘But we build bandstands and factories on them. Deliberately — to put a stop to the quietness. … – Aldous Huxley (Antic Hay, 1923)

I have only read his most popular book – Brave New World. And want to read more. Which one do you recommend if you have read any?

Alexandre Dumas (July 24)  

He had ghostwriters!!

His The Three Musketeers was perhaps one of my first swashbuckling adventure read, and one I recall enjoying a lot as a young girl. Now maybe I should try to read it again, and also want to check out one of the many comic versions of the book (simply because!), like this one from Marvel comics.

(and there is more to discover about the book and Dumas in my post here)

Ann Brashares (July 30)

Have you read/watched Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Here are my thoughts on the book.

Loved this excerpt from her commencement speech at her daughter’s school. Click on the tweet to read it better.

Beatrix Potter (July 28)

Beatrix Potter was definitely ahead of her times and Peter Rabbit almost feels like her gift to the world! You can discover a unique side to this beloved author in this beautiful picture book biography, Beatrix Potter, Scientist.

Today, we see various merchandise for popular movies and books fill the shelves with regularity. This shows that Potter was an innovator and entrepreneur! She recognized the power of merchandising, and in 1903, she made her own Peter Rabbit doll! Potter also registered it at the Patent Office.

Bharati Mukherjee (July 27)

I have only read Mukherjee’s Jasmine and recall it as a tough read – one that gets to you…

“Watch me re-position the stars.” – Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine. (Isn’t this quote kind of empowering? Say it loud like an affirmation…)

Emily Bronte (July 30)

When did I read Wuthering Heights? I really don’t recall actually, but I did read many of the classics during my pre-teen and teen years, so must have been around the same time. It is only more recently that I read her poems.

“She burned too bright for this world.” ― Emily BronteWuthering Heights

George Bernard Shaw (July 26)

Whenever I see his name, I immediately think of Audrey Hepburn! Why? For the movie My Fair Lady was based on Shaw’s Pygmalion after all.

While Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, he only received it the following year, in 1926! The reason (excerpted from the Nobel Prize website): During the selection process in 1925, the Nobel Committee for Literature decided that none of the year’s nominations met the criteria as outlined in the will of Alfred Nobel. According to the Nobel Foundation’s statutes, the Nobel Prize can in such a case be reserved until the following year, and this statute was then applied.

Madeline Miller (July 24)

An author I have been meaning to read for too long now..

So a question for you, dear readers! Which of her books would you recommend I pick first? Circe? Galatea? or The Song of Achilles?

This quote below seems to embody hope and light and joy in the face of darkness of all sorts:

“In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

Natalie Babbitt (July 28)

I loved both the book and movie adaptation of Tuck Everlasting. The book is full of so many life lessons (from so many lifetimes!):

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”― Natalie BabbittTuck Everlasting

And I am currently enjoying Babbitt’s The Devil’s Storybooks: Twenty Delightfully Wicked Stories (with delightful illustrations by her; for 8 – 12 years, and up).

Raymond Chandler (July 23)

I am not sure if I have read any of Raymond Chandler’s books though I might have read a short story or two at some point in time. However, I did watch (and totally enjoy) Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (have you watched it?). The connection to Chandler? He co-wrote the screenplay for this book. The wikipedia page for Chandler proved to be an interesting read in itself for me.

And on my next visit to LA, I am going to take The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles with me for a literary tour of the city!!

Related Reads About Unusual Things

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of the listed books? If 👍🏻, your thoughts on them? If not, which ones would you pick first? And as always, I welcome recommendations for similar books. What books would be on your Mid Year Freak Out Tag? Would I find any unusual books there?

Hands over a typewriter and pintitle on the paper within the typewriter says - Celebrating Authors of the Week: Books and Unusual Somethings

3 thoughts on “Unusual Books + Celebrating Authors of the Week

  1. What a fun post! I especially appreciate the inclusion of Ann Brashares, as a lifelong fan of the Sisterhood books (and films), and I certainly had no idea she’d done a commencement speech. Bookmarking your linked post about it for when I have more brainpower; I’m excited to read additional thoughts.

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