We can all agree that 2017 was a strange year. So fittingly, many wonderfully weird books also came out this year. Before I begin, when I say these books are weird, I mean it lovingly. I delight in the odd and revel in the random. Weird is probably the biggest compliment I can give a book.
I've found that "weird" things often have an intense truth to them that I connect to in an intimate way. I love it when a book surprises me into a laugh. Or when a read breaks so many of the rules of the universe, that I completely forget what the rules even are. And I especially love it when a book showcases how weird real life truly is.
Weird for me means any book that is thinking outside the box. The books that are impossible to describe to a friend. I love a book that takes readers beyond the limits of convention. On this list, you'll find books with wacky plots and odd antics. You'll find books that play with language, and use visual art in fantastically original ways. And some of these books, I can't really put my finger on what makes them so weird. They just are.
Each of these reads is a testament to the powers of imagination and creativity. They'll tickle your curiosity, and introduce you to new corners of your mind. They'll make you feel like you're in a dream, and they'll have you questioning the very fabric of reality. Here are my 13 weirdest reads of 2017:
'Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too' by Johnny Sun
Not only does Johnny Sun's graphic novel use a version of English all its own, but it tells the heartwarming story of a little alien (or, aliebn) whose adventures on Earth will tug at your heartstrings. U'll lobve this book so mouch.
'The Prey of Gods' by Nicky Drayden
Set in a futuristic South Africa, this urban fantasy/sci-fi thriller is filled with the bizarre — demigods and robots and interspecies coupling. You need to read it, but be aware that it's a wild ride.
'literally show me a healthy person' by Darcie Wilder
'I, Parrot' by Deb Olin Unferth and Elizabeth Haidle
Any time a book's jacket copy has the phrase, "more parrots than she knows what to do with," I'm here for it. (Note: I've only seen that phrase on a book once.) In this graphic novel, a woman goes to some pretty extreme lengths to regain custody of her son.
'Fever Dream' by Samanta Schweblin
This swirling novel — the first published in English by rising Argentine star Samantha Schweblin — reads like a nightmare. It's unsettling, disorienting, and absolutely brilliant.
'Fen: Stories' by Daisy Johnson
This collection of loosely-related short stories sparks a dark, atmospheric world, filled with transformations. The rules here are fluid. For instance, a teenager starves herself into the shape of an eel, and a house falls in love with a girl. NPR calls it "one hell of an experience."
'A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause' by Shawn Wen
If someone told me that there would be a book that brings to life the performance of a mime, I would think they were telling an odd, intellectual joke. But indeed, this exceptional, lyrical book is centered around the French mime, Marcel Marceau. Get ready to be reeled in.
'Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow' by Yuval Noah Harari
This is nonfiction, but it really sounds like science fiction. Harari lays out three scenarios for humanity's future: first, humans are completely expendable; second, some humans upgrade themselves; and third, everyone joins in the hive mind. What?
'My Favorite Thing Is Monsters' by Emil Ferriss
Set in '60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing is Monsters is the fictional diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes as she tries to solve the murder of her upstairs neighbor. It's filled with B-horror film imagery that will absolutely stun you.
'Worlds from the Word's End' by Joanna Walsh
Joanna Walsh's experimental fiction is at its best in this fantastic collection. The best part is that wordplay and reading itself are common themes. In one story, a bookshelf comes to life and judges your unread books. In another, the phrase "actions speak louder than words" comes literally true. Each story has its own undeniable zest.
'The Last Neanderthal' by Claire Cameron
A book written from the point of a Neanderthal is certainly not something you see everyday. This novel switches points-of-view between a girl living 40,000 years ago and a modern historian studying her today. And it is riveting.
'Mrs. Caliban' by Rachel Ingalls
Like David Lynch meets Beauty and the Beast meets The Shape of Water, this unmistakable novel tells the story of a woman who falls for a 6'7" aquatic monster. You know, as you do. Originally published in 1982, this book was re-released this year.
'Shadowbahn' by Steve Erickson
You might get a little lost in this dizzying novel, and that's okay. The Twin Towers mysteriously reappear in South Dakota. And then, to make things even more mysterious, they begin to sing.