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Top 10 Bizarre Books

J A Young

Strange, quirky, surprising, disturbing – the following books may represent many of these traits, but they are all certainly bizarre and something quite out of the ordinary. Book lovers and enthusiasts of bizarre topics in general will find these selections both interesting and entertaining. If you’re looking for a conversation piece for your book table, these books really know how to call attention to themselves! As you would expect with books such as these, there are some rather witty reviews on Amazon. Links have been provided for your perusal.

10

How to Abandon Ship
Phil Richards and John J. Banigan

Richards

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Apparently, getting off a sinking ship is more complicated than you’d think! First published in 1938, this novel little volume was written from the voice of experience since one of its authors was forced by the Nazis to abandon the Robin Moor before they torpedoed it in 1941. While the authors do discuss the necessity of departing one’s ship in an orderly fashion due to a variety of circumstances, they also explore concepts like buoyancy and open sea boatmanship. Just in case you thought jumping off was a matter of counting three and hoping for the best, give this informative survival guide a try if you have any plans to go sailing.

9

Gangsta Rap Coloring Book
Anthony “Aye Jay” Moreno

C1 Last Gasp 2004. Cover Shepard Fairey. Aye Jay 2001

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Many adults do enjoy coloring and this is certainly a selection better suited to a grown-up than a kid since it features a cover-size gun, well, right on the cover. Many of hip-hop’s most memorable and, indeed, colorful rappers are depicted by thick black illustrations that await the bold hand of an artist. Biggie dares you to color him pink. Thugs to some and musical superstars to many, these rappers will have you sharpening your kids’ Crayolas in no time (see bizarre book selection #3 for assistance). Since this book was published in 2004, copies are still widely available from venues like Amazon.com.

8

The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices
Brenda Love

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This book might stifle conversations as much as it starts them depending on who you invite over. In general, this is not mother-in-law material, so hide it from the coffee table when she visits. With 700 entries that include everything from love potions to the most unusual sexual practices on earth, this book does contain and portray some highly unusual stuff that is not for the faint of heart. Anyone interested in the bizarre or, at least, highly unusual practices of humans will be both shocked and entertained to learn what floats some people’s boats when it comes to sexuality.

7

Urine Therapy!
P.P. Powers

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Full Title: Urine Therapy! Confessions of a Mad Pee Drinker

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One would expect this to be a joke book given the pseudonym of the author, but urine drinking for health benefits is a real concept and this isn’t the only book devoted to it – just the one with the best title, book jacket, and personal reflections. Published in 2007, this intriguing “self-improvement” book, as described by its own author, suggests that drinking one’s own urine over a period of time can cure chronic ailments. The author describes his own experiences drinking “midstream morning urine” and how the practice cured his depression, fatigue, dandruff, irritable bowel syndrome, bad skin and fibromyalgia (many readers will be wondering if he’s on Match.com). According to P.P., the fountain of youth may truly be inside each and every one of us.

6

Manifold Destiny
Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller

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Full Title: Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!

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It’s true that twenty-first century vehicles are far better insulated than twentieth century cars, making this a nearly-obsolete cookbook unless you have a vintage car – probably anything pre-1990. On the other hand, if your engine runs hot, this cookbook is still in print and filled with many great recipes that you can make right on your car engine. Ideal for traveling cooks who don’t mind cooking with fumes, this book covers one-of-kind cookery. One reviewer maintained that engines steam everything and always leave his vegetables al dente, but if you can discover the knack of this vehicular art, you’ll never have to pull into a greasy roadside diner again! You can crank open your hood and run your own!

5

Natural Bust Enlargement
Donald L. Wilson

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Full Title: Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Mind Power: How to Use the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts

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Published by the Total Mind Power Institute in 1979, this book takes the “I think I can, I think I can” concept to a surprising new level. One must assume that there might be a few glitches contained in this highly unusual do-it-yourself book or the cosmetic surgery industry wouldn’t be booked quite so solid with breast enhancement appointments. As an odd publication, it does, however, have its place in lists of bizarre books. Kudos to the book’s cover, as well.

4

If We Can Keep a Severed Head Alive
Chet Fleming

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Published in 1988, this book also contains the author and inventor’s patent for a device that keeps the head of a mammal alive. A considerable portion of this book provides an explanation as to why this inventor, who is also a practicing attorney, devised a patent he says he does not intend to use. It’s unclear as to whether or not Fleming advocates the practice of keeping severed heads alive or simply wants to explore the possibilities that the marvels of science and technology may provide in the future.

3

How to Sharpen Pencils
David Rees

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Full Title: How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants

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If you’ve ever lamented that you stuck your pencil into a cheap twenty-five-cent plastic sharpener – those children’s gadgets that break more tips than they sharpen – this book is for you! Painstakingly crafted and nearly exhaustive in its coverage of an unusual subject, this author treats pencil sharpening seriously and, upon reading it, you’ll take it more seriously, too. Witty and informative, this highly irregular volume may seem bizarre unless you happen to be sitting there with a broken pencil and are unsure how to best sharpen it for use again.

2

C is for Chaffing
Mark Remy

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A child’s alphabet book of running, this strange little book and its correspondingly disturbing cover is about the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly sides of running. The title, of course, simply dares the onlooker to open this book up and give it a whirl, but some of the subject matter, like vomiting after a race, is about as gross a topic as that covered in Walter the Farting Dog: Banned from the Beach by William Kotzwinkle, an honorable mention and runner up for this list of bizarre books.

1

Gadsby
Ernest Vincent Wright

Gadsby

Full Title: Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words without Using the Letter “E”

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It’s unclear what the author had against this most popular of vowels when he wrote this novel of constrained writing, but there is, indeed, no trace of this letter in the work. Considering all the English verbs that require the –ed ending, this is a remarkable, albeit bizarre, achievement. This self-published work is a highly collectible book in spite of its unusual treatment of a popular letter. Published in 1939, this odd novel is perfectly readable and contains a reasonable plot, proving that the letter “e” is not as e-ssential as one might have thought.

These highly bizarre books are certainly wonderful for book collectors of the weird or unusual in printed form, but they are incredibly interesting reads for anyone who needs a break from the ordinary. Share them with friends or leave them out during a party to enliven your conversations and provide some unusual subject matter for discussion.