Top Ten Tuesdays: Ten Unique Books


Today, the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list the ten most unusual books I’ve ever read.


  1. This was the first book that jumped into my brain when I started writing this list – Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami. Hands down, this is one of the strangest, and weirdest, but still fun book that I’ve ever read.
  2. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

  3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I read this series when I was a teen and I was just in stitches at the very thought of a hapless Arthur Dent traveling through the universe with his trusty little towel. Even the titles of the books are so random and never fail to bring a smile to my face:
    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    3. Life, the Universe, and Everything
    4. So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish
    5. Mostly Harmless
  4. Another very unique series that I love is Asimov’s Robot series. Please don’t go by those random movies, read the books. Mind-blowing. Actually, I take that back – practically anything Asimov wrote blew my mind. I love the Robot series in particular, with the Foundation series being another firm favorite.
  5. The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien. This was my first Fantasy book and I loved the story, the concepts, the map (very important, the map 😉 ) and everything basically. I’d never read anything like this before and my mind was blown, just blown by this book. I have been a hardcore Fantasy buff ever since.
  6. Talking about Fantasy, I have to include A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R.Martin. He took the stock Fantasy tropes and turned them on their heads. I’ve never read books that combine Fantasy creatures with regular politicking and governance.
  7. A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords

    A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords

    A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons

    A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons

  8. Changing genres once again to include Catch-22 by Joseph Heller on the list. A war novel that is funny? Yup, unique indeed, and that brings me to the next book on my list.
  9. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I think this was the first book that I read that was written in a non-linear style and the very fact that the book combines a war story with time travel makes it one very unique read indeed.
  10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kasey. This was the first book I read that was set in a mental institution and was unusual and disturbing all at the same time.
  11. Another unusual book that is set in a mental institution is Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island. Most thrillers tend to stick to the formula, but this one was quite a different read.
  12. collage_2

  13. I am ending this list with one of my favorite classic thriller/mysteries from the Grand Dame Agatha Christie herself – And Then There Were None. I’m usually very good at guessing mysteries but this book had me flummoxed and scratching my head. There was no way I or the detectives would have got the bad guy without Christie being so kind enough as to send a message in a bottle with a full confession from the murderer.

Looking back on my list, it seems odd that the most unusual books are the ones that I read during my teenage years. Does that mean I haven’t read anything unique/unusual lately, or does that mean I am growing older and nothing feels as unique anymore? If it’s the latter, then I am really sad 🙁 .

Which are your top ten unique/unusual books?

Facebook Comments
  • Jeanie

    I haven’t read any of these (shameful, I know). Unique books for me these days

    • Nishita

      @disqus_R5TKFQHE8U:disqus none of these books are new and so get missed from a lot of reading lists. They are in that arbid middle stage where they are neither classics nor the latest and greatest. Plus, quite a few in my list get classified as sci-fi and if that’s not something you are into, then yeah, you wouldn’t have read these.

      Nothing shameful about it. Tons of books I haven’t read 🙂

  • Love this list! Slaughterhouse Five is still on my list that I really want to read!

    • Nishita

      @melindapetersen:disqus I can’t say that I loved Slaughterhouse-Five, it was a strange book to read. But it’s definitely a very unique way of conveying a story.

  • Bidisha Dasgupta

    A lot of the books you’ve picked are some of my favourites too- books like Hitchhiker and Catch-22 and The Hobbit never grow old. I remember reading them for the first time- it was this incredible feeling of completeness I got that you get from a really good book.

    You’ve posed an interesting question. I don’t think you’ve found books any less unique- I think that as you’ve grown older, patterns and forms of books have become more familiar and so there isn’t that sense of “newness”- of finding a book truly unique because you’ve never read anything else like it before. You’ve read more, and so you can connect books much easier.

    • Nishita

      @Bidisha Dasgupta You put it better than I did, yeah, that’s exactly it. I am getting familiar with book patterns 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂

  • I LOVE Asimov – I’m so with you on the fact that everyone should stay away from those dreadful movies.

    I also love the Song of Ice and Fire covers! And the fact that they’re broken down into smaller more digestible pieces! 🙂

    I think that Catch-22 was on my list as well.

    Thanks for linking up with Spread the Love!

    • Nishita

      @aprilthesteadfastreader:disqus I’ve only seen a trailer of the one Robot movie but it was terrible, I just couldn’t understand why they would mangle a book like that.

      • It happens too often. Starship Troopers by Heinlein is another book that was completely bastardized by the movie. Sometimes I hate Hollywood. 🙂

        • Nishita

          @aprilthesteadfastreader:disqus I haven’t read the book but thought the movie was cute in a kitschy sort of way.

          Even while I was watching it though, I guessed the movie was nothing like the book. There didn’t seem anything remotely literary about that movie.

  • I forgot about Asimov’s Robot series when I was making my list — great choice!

    • Nishita

      @Joy Weese Moll:disqus Thanks, Joy 🙂

  • Catch-22 is one of my favorite books. You’re right that it’s totally unique – how can you write about war and have it be funny? Awesome book.

    • Nishita

      @vickilesage:disqus thanks Vicki. I read it for the first time sometime during my teens, and it’s one of those books that have stayed with me for the longest time. I love Catch-22.

  • What an interesting list — I thought Shutter Island was incredibly inventive and surprising — definitely unique! I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read anything by Agatha Christie. I’ve never been a huge mystery reader, but if she truly can keep me guessing I should give her a try.

    • Nishita

      @annbooksonthetable:disqus a lot of mysteries are quite derivative and so are some of Christie’s but when she’s good, she’s very, very good. And Then There Were None is one of her more unusual novels – classic mystery in my opinion.

  • readingtheend

    I don’t think it means either one of the things you say! I think it’s that the books you read when you’re younger just make more of an impact on you — not that they’re more unique or you’re less open to uniqueness, but just that you have the capacity to be struck harder by what you read and experience when you’re younger. It is okay. Being younger has its good qualities, but I much prefer being this age and knowing much more about what’s up with the world.

    • Nishita

      @readingtheend:disqus I would hate to think I have become jaded though.

  • Risa@Breadcrumb Reads

    And Then There Were None — One of two or three Agatha Christie’s I’ve read, and the only one I really, really liked.

  • I saw the I, Robot movie on TV recently and you’re right, people shouldn’t go by them, because it was nothing like the book! Vonnegut is always absurd and unique, but Slaughterhouse-5 was my first Vonnegut and I was just left stunned by the weirdness of it. 2, 4, 6, 10 – Read them too and I totally agree.

    • Nishita

      @priyatabularasa:disqus I haven’t seen the movie, Priya, but I saw an extended trailer and knew the movie wouldn’t do justice to the books.

      Slaughterhouse is my first and only Vonnegut. Are his other books also in the same style?

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I don’t know what my top ten list would include but you’ve come up with some great titles. I’ve only read one of them – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

    • Nishita

      @bermudaonion_kathy:disqus I highly recommend all the books on that list 🙂 , they are some of my all-time favorites.

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