From The Beacon: Books offer awesomely odd reading

Book recommendations and more from the Beaufort County Public Library

January 30, 2011 

When you've been reading piles of similar books, it's hard to break out of that routine and try something new. You might start a book in a new genre or from a new author just to put it right back down again.

On the other hand, you might not feel like reading the "usual suspects" at all. If this sounds like you, here are some pleasantly odd books that can help you break your reader's block:

  • "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon: Fifteen-year-old Christopher is very good at math and remembering things but is not at all good with people. When his neighbor's poodle is killed, he takes a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite heroes) to solve the mystery of the dead dog. His social worker, Siobhan, encourages him to write about his investigation, and the result, with Christopher's unique voice and quirky illustrations, is this story.

  • "Feed" by M.T. Anderson: In this book, most people have chips in their heads that feed them the latest must-have information (including the latest fashion statement -- hideous skin lesions). But there's one odd girl who knows what it's like to live without the feed, and young Titus is intrigued by her. Thought-provoking and hilarious, "Feed" combines star-crossed love with high-tech society. And if you like "Feed," check out Anderson's vampire novel, "Thirsty," in which a young man turning into a vampire struggles to remain human.

  • "Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings" by Christopher Moore: During a research trip to study the songs of humpback whales, Nathan Quinn, a marine biologist, spots an oddity: The words "Bite me" scrawled across a whale's tail. His quest to find out how the words got there leads Nathan and his eccentric team to discover answers to other unsolved mysteries along the way.

  • "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde: In an alternate 1985, classic literature has a place of honor in British pop culture, and the world's third most-wanted criminal is stealing characters out of Britain's beloved books. Special operative and literary detective Thursday Next pursues the villain in and out of the pages of classics to set everything right. "The Eyre Affair" is a treat for readers who love classic literature, satire, mystery, romance, fantasy or science fiction. The sixth book in the Thursday Next series, "One of Our Thursdays Is Missing," will be released in March.

  • "Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas" by Tom Robbins: Mediocre Seattle stockbroker Gwen Mati is having the weirdest weekend ever. She, actually, you (Robbins uses the second-person point of view) can barely afford the payments on your Porsche. Your boyfriend's monkey and your best friend have both disappeared. While looking for them, you meet an arrogant yet charming stranger who presents an opportunity to drop everything and run away to Timbuktu. You will read this book for the whirlwind plot, brilliant wordplay and absurd sense of humor.

    Laura Henry is a reference librarian who loves to help unique people find unique books. You can find her at the Beaufort Branch of the Beaufort County Public Library, at 311 Scott St., Beaufort.

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