Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Unique Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to us by the Broke and the Bookish, asks us to list our Top Ten most unique books we've read.

This is an interesting question--because "unique" can mean such different things to each person.  Here's my list of unique books...

David Bainbridge
The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our Lives  
Bainbridge manages to talk about fairly complex topics in language the layman can understand and infuses his writing with humor. 

Ambrose Bierce
The Devil's Dictionary

This "reference" book offers up reinterpretations of various terms in the English language. He devotes a lot of entries to lampoons of cant and political doublespeak, as well as other aspects of human foolishness and frailty. 

Lawrence Block
Random Walk 

Guthrie decides to take a walk. He doesn't know how far he's going or where he's going. A journey of any length begins with a single step and Guthrie takes it, facing east. Wonderful things happen as he walks. He begins to draw people to him. The group grows and walks and heals. The random walk: It never ends, it just changes; it is not the destination which matters, but the journey.

Sammy Davis, Jr. [text by Burt Boyar]

"Sammy never went anywhere without a camera.  There was no bridge, historical landmark, or person who was safe from capture by his camera lens." His enormous photo collection includes everyone from presidents to movie stars to the man on the street.  He has Sinatra in his pajamas and Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial.  He recorded a warm day in uptown New York City with folks sitting on their porch steps and the beautiful view from his San Francisco suite. 

Jason T Eberl & Kevin S Decker, eds
Star Trek & Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant  

These essays use episodes and moments from Star Trek's various incarnations and feature films to explore philosophical issues ranging from the nature of communication between very disparate species to logical development of Vulcans to the ethical dilemmas found in Deep Space Nine.  The essays use one of the icons of fictional space exploration to explore the philosophies of the human race.

Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison is not for everyone. He's not for the squeamish. Or the prudish. You want your fiction all neat and tidy and full of rainbows and sunshine and happily-ever-afters. Ellison is not your man....Ellison, as he puts it, walks through our lives and runs them through his spectacular imagination and hands them back full of all the horrors and nightmares and mortal dreads we don't want to face. No, I'm not talking about zombies or things that go bump in the night.  

Gareth P. Jones
The Thornthwaite Inheritance
 Ovid and Lorelli Thornthwaite have been trying to do each other in for so long that they have forgotten who made the first try. Was it the working guillotine? Or was it the exploding iced lolly? It really doesn't matter...where other children have simple sibling rivalry, Ovid and Lorelli have machineries of death.

David L. Ulin
The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time  He argues that because of the overwhelming amount of information that streams through our consciousness thanks to the internet we do not have the time or the attention to devote to truly immersing ourselves in the story--the narrative. Whether that be a story we are reading, being told, or even living. The constant race to keep up with the latest email, FaceBook post, or Tweet prevents us from savoring the moment...

Charles Yu
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe Minor Universe 31 is a vast story-space on the outskirts of fiction, where paradox fluctuates like the stock market.....and every day people get into recreational time machines and try to the one thing they should never do: change the past. That's where Charles Yu, time travel technician--part counselor, part gadget repari man--steps in. He helps save people from themselves.

And one that I read pre-blogging and therefore don't have a review for:
Graham Rawle
Woman's World
(from GoodReads) Painstakingly assembled from 40,000 fragments of text snipped from women’s magazines, this strange and wonderful tale moves at the breakneck pace of a pulp thriller. A stunning visual tour de force, Woman’s World is also a powerful reflection on society’s definition of what it means to be a woman.


Marce said...

I remember hearing about the Devils Dictionary and thinking it was unique, haven't heard of the others.

Bev Hankins said...

Marce: They're all interesting in their own ways. Some are not necessarily the best books I ever read--but definitely unique.