Weirdest Books of 2014

Weirdest Books of 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Finally, what we've all been waiting for. The weirdest books I've read in 2014! And it did get pretty weird. Bonus: Half of them were published in 2014.

Check out my Best Books of 2014 and Best Backlist of 2014 posts, too!

  1. Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck. Actually the weirdest stories I've ever read. Surreal, Scandinavian tales that can become very, very dark. Many involve strange creatures (some that can be grown in a pot), women who are fed until they burst only to find a new tiny woman clinging to the old heart, men in love with machines, alternate dimensions, and so much more. Often disturbing, always whimsical and beautiful.
  2. Cock & Bull by Will Self. Let me make this clear, reading this book was a waste of time. It's a wildly self-indulgent attempt at satire that isn't original or profound in any way. The writing was overly pretentious and it felt like I was just watching him jerk off the whole time. But it was still one of the weirdest things I'd read this year. A woman grows a penis out of nowhere and a man grows a vagina behind his knee. It's very bizarre and there's weird rape stuff, and I just couldn't get into it. Credence to the idea that weird isn't always good.
  3. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. By this I really mean the entire Southern Reach Trilogy, but it's easier to just say Annihilation. Nothing makes sense in Area X. There's a border nobody can see. Fungus grows in the shape of words. There are strange creatures. Maybe people turn into animals? Doppelgangers? Psychosis? SO MUCH WEIRD.
  4. The Troop by Nick Cutter. Tapeworms. Giant, genetically modified tapeworms that really like to eat people from the inside out. What.
  5. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Carnies. High stakes dramatic relationships between carnies. A family trying to breed children with more deformities. Dwarves, conjoined twins, deformed limbs, tails, etc. Intense, borderline Grecian drama and power struggles.
  6. Equus by Peter Shaffer. BESTIALITY. A dude who worships horses and just likes to get naked with them sometimes. It's no big deal. Ok, it's a really big deal. A very weird, profound play.
  7. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride. Probably the weirdest format of book I've ever read. Or, if not format, writing style. It's all in this strange borderline stream of consciousness style, but it's written in like non-grammatical fragments to represent how people think. But it was so impossible to read most of the time that I just couldn't imagine that this is how anybody really thinks fundamentally. Very little punctuation. Didn't feel like I was reading English.
  8. Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball. Written almost entirely in collections of interviews. Some photographs. Write-ups of cases. And the story itself is bizarre, featuring murder of the elderly, a man who confesses to a crime he probably didn't do and then refuses to speak, contradicting stories about seduction and deals. It's slow and subtle, kind of creepy, and very interesting.
  9. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. Written backwards chronologically. I love experimental formats, and this one really worked. We got closer and closer to the main event that triggered the rest of it, and it was paced so well. The idea of a mail in role-playing game is pretty weird too. The book involves itself in an interesting, niche gaming culture.
  10. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. A collection of horror short stories that are often bafflingly surreal. A woman's heart exists outside of her body, carrots grow in the shapes of hands, a mysterious woman show's up in someone's hotel room with a bundle she won't open, and so on and so forth. They're very dark, covering murder and torture, as well as surprising. Finding out that all of the eleven dark tales were connected to one another was a delight.

What are the weirdest books you read this year? Here's to keeping it weird in the new year.


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