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Shoe
08-30-2010, 09:46 PM
So, my reading preferences include science fiction and horror, especially short stories, as well as some fantasy (think authors such as Asimov, Heinlein, Silverberg, Poe, Lovecraft, McCaffery, Bradbury, Hawthorne, James, Tolkien, CS Lewis, Stasheff, Wellman and the like). I also like Tom Robbins and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I want to expand my literary interests, but would like to find something that is a bit "off the beaten path"-maybe a bit surreal, definitely a bit unusual, but not in the horror, sci-fi or fantasy genres. If anyone has some suggestions, I'd be grateful.

These are for me, not my kids and totally unrelated to homeschooling, but sometimes the teacher needs a break, you know?

farrarwilliams
08-30-2010, 10:58 PM
Okay... I'm thinking literary things that are sort of fantastical but not genre fiction.

My first thought was Haruki Murakami and while he's semi-well-known, I think this *might* be what you're looking for. He's a Japanese author of surrealistic fiction. This is strange, hard to categorize stuff. It's beautiful and weird and fantastical - very philosophical at times. He has a bit of a cult following, but he's well reviewed in the mainstream literary press. I especially liked Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World though the first one I read by him was The Great Sheep Chase and the sequel Dance, Dance, Dance. He has some new works I haven't read yet. Much of what he writes might be considered fantasy, but it's not genre fiction the way we think of it here.

I was just having a discussion about the very strange novel Geek Love tonight with someone so I'll throw that into the mix too. It's pretty well-known, but its topic is off the beaten path and it's certainly surreal. It's about circus freaks. I often describe it as a train wreck I couldn't look away from. I don't know if that's a positive review, but it kept me reading.

Some other literary names occurred to me - Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Salman Rushdie - all beloved by me and maybe people you would enjoy - surreal, a little unusual, but none of them fit the off the beaten path qualification.

Maybe something else will occur to me tomorrow. Now I'm sleepy...

Shoe
08-30-2010, 11:13 PM
Okay... I'm thinking literary things that are sort of fantastical but not genre fiction.Yeah, kind of the idea I was trying to convey.


This is strange, hard to categorize stuff. It's beautiful and weird and fantastical - very philosophical at times...I especially liked Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World though the first one I read by him was The Great Sheep Chase and the sequel Dance, Dance, Dance...Much of what he writes might be considered fantasy, but it's not genre fiction the way we think of it here.That sounds exactly like what I am searching for. I'm looking for the fantastic, but not fantasy...unusual occurrences in everyday life, rather than usual occurrences in a make-believe world. Thank you for the recommendation.


I was just having a discussion about the very strange novel Geek Love tonight with someone so I'll throw that into the mix too. It's pretty well-known, but its topic is off the beaten path and it's certainly surreal. It's about circus freaks. I often describe it as a train wreck I couldn't look away from. I don't know if that's a positive review, but it kept me reading. One of my favorite movies, Freaks (1932, Tod Browning) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022913/) is about circus freaks and is absolutely fascinating, entertaining and surprisingly, not exploitative (in my opinion, at least)...Gooble, gobble, we accept you, one of us! Thanks. I'll check it out.


Some other literary names occurred to me - Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Salman Rushdie - all beloved by me and maybe people you would enjoy - surreal, a little unusual, but none of them fit the off the beaten path qualification.

Maybe something else will occur to me tomorrow. Now I'm sleepy...I've liked what I've read by Atwood (Cat's Eye and A Handmaid's Tale), so I'll check out the others as well. Thank you again.

garett
08-31-2010, 02:31 PM
I recommend anything by Ayn Rand, but I'm not sure it's what you're looking for. If you're unfamiliar with her material then it will probably fit into "unusual" ... but her novels are certainly not anywhere near the realm of supernatural or paranormal. They're also very philosophical in nature.

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is a worth-while read. Anything by Victor Hugo, George Orwell, Douglas Adams is on my recommended reading list. Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton are competent.

If you haven't read Frank Herbert's Dune it fits in with your usual reading preferences that you're trying to veer away from.

Shoe
08-31-2010, 03:51 PM
Thanks-others have also recommended Ayn Rand to me, and she sounds interesting to me.

I've read Brave New World (great book which I plan to use in my homeschooling next year), and have read quite a bit by Orwell and Adams as well. I've read a little (very little) by Hugo, so I'll look him up too.

Thanks for the recs.

Cheers.

BPier12
08-31-2010, 05:02 PM
A couple of other authors to add to the list: Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Both played around with twisting reality in interesting ways. I'm particularly fond of Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude". I second the suggestion above of Michael Chabon. His book "Kavalier and Clay" is one that I still think about even though it has been several years since I read it. He is an amazing author.

Shoe
08-31-2010, 05:03 PM
Thanks Beth :).

farrarwilliams
08-31-2010, 06:07 PM
A couple of other authors to add to the list: Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Both played around with twisting reality in interesting ways. I'm particularly fond of Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude". I second the suggestion above of Michael Chabon. His book "Kavalier and Clay" is one that I still think about even though it has been several years since I read it. He is an amazing author.

Ooh, I adore Borges. I remember the high school teacher who first pointed me to his work and being totally blown away.

Michael Chabon is my literary crush. How can anyone who writes that well also look that good?

BPier12
08-31-2010, 06:31 PM
Michael Chabon is my literary crush. How can anyone who writes that well also look that good?

Lol! I never get tired of looking at his "author photo" on the backs of his books.....;)

Ed Ditto
09-01-2010, 07:51 AM
Second the Haruki Murakami. And have you explored the work of any postmodernists? You might enjoy David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest," but be warned: it's heavy lifting.

Shoe
09-01-2010, 08:07 AM
Second the Haruki Murakami. And have you explored the work of any postmodernists? You might enjoy David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest," but be warned: it's heavy lifting.

Thanks for the recommendation!