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Feb 29, 2024

10 of the World's Weirdest Books

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Books are a fascinating form of media, being a staple of human culture for hundreds of years, they can come in all shapes and sizes. However, some books appear every so often, whether from known or unknown sources, that seem to take the cake in the weird department. What follows is a list of some of the most bizarre books that we could find, from entire books consisting of one single sentence to a book written in an unknown language.

1. Gadsby – Ernest Vincent Wright

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A man determined turn his quiet little municipal into a thriving metropolis recruits the town’s youth to found what he calls the “Organisation of Youth”. Starting out in 1906, the book follows the towns transformation into a thriving city despite going through major historical events such as WW1, Prohibition, and President Warren G. Harding’s administration. But what makes this weird is that author Ernest Vincent Wright manages to write the entire book of around 50,000 words, without using the letter ‘E’ a single time.

2. Finnegans Wake – James Joyce

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A masterpiece by Irish author James Joyce, Finnegans Wake is a story with no beginning. Famous for its use of multiple languages and for its linguistic diversity, this book will have your head spinning by the end of the first page. It's full of excellent characters making it an unexpectedly gripping read. Finnegans Wake is definitely worth a try if you are feeling brave!

3. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

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Known to many readers as a dark and sinister horror, House of Leaves tells the story of a young family that move into their new home only to find their relatively normal looking house holds a seemingly endless labyrinth. This is a classic example of ergodic literature, making the reader work to progress through the book, and made even harder by the fact that the book contains copious footnotes, many of which have their own footnotes. Regarded as being of multiple different genres depending on how you perceive it, this book is bizarre one to add to the collection to say the least.

4. Knitting with Dog Hair: Better a Sweater from a Dog You Know and Love Than from a Sheep You'll Never Meet – Kendall Crolius & Anne Montgomery

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Here at WeBuyBooks, we are all about reusing and recycling, but dog hair? Next on our list of the weird and wonderful is Kendall Crolius’ ‘Knitting With Dog Hair'. Learn how to make mittens from a malamute and caps from a collie with this insightful guide on how to make the most of your pet’s excess fur.

5. Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age – Bohumil Hrabal

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Have you ever read a book that is entirely contained within a single sentence? Take in Bohumil Hrabal’s exquisite narration as he unburdens himself of a lifetime's worth of stories to a rather unsuspecting group of women. A story of love, scandal, military adventure, domestic feuds and much more, all packed into one single continuous sentence. This momentous book written in the self-named “palavering” style; Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age is a must read.

6. Hopscotch – Julio Cortázar

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Hopscotch is a uniquely styled account of protagonist Horacio Oliveira’s astonishing adventures. Consisting of 155 chapters, Cortázar informs you that the last 99 chapters are entirely expendable and are not essential to the core story. However, these 99 chapters can help fill in some gaps in the story and give some of the characters a little more background. Featuring a numerical guide on how best to read the book, this title is certainly something you won’t encounter anywhere else.

7. Codex Seraphinianus – Luigi Serafini

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The Codex Seraphinianus is a picture book like no other. It’s around 360 pages of pure weirdness. From the mind of Italian artist, architect and industrial designer, Luigi Serafini, this book is a non-stop series of bizarre and seemingly random abstract and surrealist pictures accompanied by text that appears to be entirely made up. So, what exactly is this book? Does it have a story? Or is it just a catalogue of fictional specimens? Give it a read and find out for yourself.

8. Teach Your Cat Welsh – Anne Cakebread

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We all go through that phase where we want nothing more than to teach our cats Welsh. Well, thanks to author Anne Cakebread, you have the perfect tool to teach your feline friend the native language of Wales. Full of a retro-styled illustrations, words and phrases, your cats will pick it up in no time.

9. The Smithfield Decretals – 14th Century France

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The Smithfield Decretals is a manuscript copy of the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX, which is a collection of canon law which the Pope ordered produced in 1230. As this style of creation was often embellished with a great deal of illumination, this may not come across as odd, but what does set this article apart is the addition made to it by a later owner of the book. At some point before 1340, the book found its way into the possession of an English owner, who commissioned the remainder of the images to be added. These include all manner of fantastical depictions from a knight fighting a giant snail to a fox dressed as a bishop.

10. The Rohonc Codex - Unknown Author

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The Rohonc Codex has been baffling scholars for years. Discovered in the depths of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in mid 19th century, the codex has no known author and is written in an unknown language. Some believe the codex is an elaborate hoax but others believe that this piece has some hidden meaning behind the mysterious encryption. What is known, is that no one has cracked the code yet!

So that concludes our list of some of the weirdest books around. If you have any suggestions for other weird books, feel free to let us know by leaving a comment on our social media!

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