Stunned by Four Weird Books: Weirdathon Round Up
I joined a book challenge in March called #weirdathon. The premise was that throughout the month you read weird books. I loved the idea that weird could be whatever you deemed it to be. I ended up reading four books that were weird, sure, but also each was quite stunning.
1) The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
This book is definitely weird. It’s about a man’s teeth. And Marilyn Monroe’s teeth. There are clowns who blink. And lots of other odd things. But when I got to the end and read the afterword, it all clicked. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you’re looking for something utterly original, this is it.
2) What is Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Oyeyemi’s short story collection released last month and definitely has its fair share of weird – puppets that are alive, swamps that contain dead but also alive people, and a popstar whose curse comes from the invocation of a goddess. Through every story the concept of a key is central and the characters reappear in different roles. The writing was so beautiful and the stories so imaginative that I’m adding Oyeyemi’s novels to my to-read list.
3) Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson
Another short story collection (as well as some essays on writing and child rearing), Jackson was a queen of weird. She was also a master of telling stories of the mundane and making them fantastic. You’ll laugh, cringe, and fly through this collection that was created and edited by two of her children posthumously.
At some point I realized I had read only women authors for weirdathon and decided I’d make that a “thing.” I asked for recommendations and picked up Ausubel thanks to the recommendation of Julianne from Outlandish Lit (the #weirdathon creator).
4) No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
Again, a weird story – a village on an island in the middle of a river in Romania decides in 1939 it wants to begin again after a stranger washes up on its shores alive and telling stories of the atrocities that are happening to Jewish people like them elsewhere in Europe. So they create a new world and write their own book of Genesis. I just finished this book, but I can tell I’ll have a book hangover from it. Amid stories of tragedy, hope and promise are ever present. Storytelling and faith are central to the villagers’ survival, and Ausubel shines as a storyteller.
What weird books would you recommend?