This post is a part of the Top 5 Wednesday ‘meme’ from the Goodreads group of the same name. Check it out for weekly #T5W post prompts and to see how other book bloggers have answered!
If I could have any superpower in the world it would be super speed reading. Ideally, I would be reading at least 4 or 5 novels a day. That way I could actually get through everything I have on my mental ‘to read’ list. Seems reasonable, right?
Unfortunately, I’m cursed with average reading speed capabilities and a wish list of books that could wrap itself around the planet. Because of this, I did not get to a number of books last year that I was really hoping to read. Condensing this long list to a selection of five was difficult, to say the least.
From this list you might notice a bit of theme. I’m absolutely fascinated by books with paranormal, surreal, and bizarre themes. Not necessarily scary, but the stranger the better! So in 2018, I am making the following five books a priority (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself right now). If you know of any similar books that I might also enjoy, let me know in the comments!
1. Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff (2016)
Three things attracted me to this book: The name, the cover art, and the inclusion of what sounds like a classic Lovecraftian cult. Like another book on this list, I’ve tried to avoid reading too much into this one because I want to keep as much of it a surprise as possible.
As a side note: if you stick around here long enough you’ll learn that I’m a little bit obsessed with H. P. Lovecraft despite the fact that he was a bit sexist and would have probably hated how much a twenty-first-century woman loved his writing. Oh well!
2. Gef!: The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose by Christopher Josiffe (2017)
I cannot express how excited I was to discover that someone wrote a book about the bizarre case of Gef the Talking Mongoose. I honestly thought I was one of the only people that found the whole incident, which took place on the Isle of Man in the 1930s, to be absolutely fascinating. In short, there was a talking mongoose named Gef that lived in a farmhouse occupied by a husband and wife and their young daughter. After hearing noises in their walls the family discovered Gef who introduced himself and told them that he was born and India and that he was an “an extra extra clever mongoose”. Obviously, the story gained attention and no one was really sure if the family was lying or not. There’s a couple photographs of ‘Gef’ floating around the internet if you go looking for them. It’s all very bizarre especially when you read more into it, which I recommend you do.
3. The Haunted Moustache by David BramwelL (2016)
If I was only allowed to listen to one podcast for the rest of my life I would choose Mysterious Universe. If you haven’t experienced this podcast yet then please please please stop whatever you’re doing and listen to an episode. You’ll thank me afterwards! Especially if you’re a fan of what their website describes as “the strange, extraordinary, weird, wonderful and everything in between.”
On a more recent episode, the hosts discuss The Haunted Moustache in great detail and their review had me dying from laughter. A very condensed synopsis is that The Haunted Moustache follows along with the author’s bizarre experiences with the underground occult scene in Brighton, England after inheriting a so-called haunted moustache. According to the Goodreads description, Bramwell’s tale is “83% true” which somehow makes the whole thing even more wonderful.
Since Brighton is only a quick train ride from London I’ve taken a few day trips there and it’s become one of my favourite places in England. Another reason to finally sit down and read this book!
4. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)
I’m going in blind and refuse to read anything about this book. I have a gut feeling that I’m going to love it and I’m really excited to finally read it.
5. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (1967)
Has anyone seen the 1975 film of the same name based on this book? It’s hella creepy. It’s about a group of schoolgirls that go for a picnic at Hanging Rock in Austrailia on Valentine’s Day and a few of them go missing after wandering away from the group. I wouldn’t say it was a horror film by any means, but it left me feeling incredibly unsettled. It has a dreamy and surreal quality to it that made the whole film feel… off. So naturally, I’ve been meaning to read the book. I read the ‘missing chapter’ from it last year which is available online and published in the book The Secret of Hanging Rock (1987). Though some people seemed upset that the ‘missing chapter’ ruined the mystery of the book, it actually made me want to read it more.