Thursday, September 25, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Well, That Was Different

Today's Topic: What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?

And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

The most unusual book I've ever read was The Lovely Bones by Alice Shebold. This book took me totally out of my comfort zone. The protagonist of the book, Susie Salmon, is narrating the story from heaven. At age fourteen she is molested and murdered and from then on out she follows the lives of her family as they grieve the loss of her and then through the years as they grow older and deal with life's many obstacles and changes. At the same time she is learning how to adjust to her heaven.

I did like the book and it certainly stretched my boundaries, as I had never before read about a molestation or a book from a dead person's perspective. The story was very moving and extremely sad, I closed the book with tears streaming down my face. I thought of The Lovely Bones for many days afterward and went back to reread it so that I could find some closure. It didn't kick off any new obsessions and while It touched me in a way that no other book ever has, I never want to read another book like it.


  1. That sounds like a book that would stick with you for a long time.

  2. I haven't read The Lovely Bones. I've been wanting to, but I'm afraid it'll be depressing!

  3. I didn't like the Lovely Bones, but the scene where Susie was raped was an amazingly depressing scene. I've never read a rape as graphic as that.

    ~ Popin

  4. Definitely a very interesting book!

  5. I've never wanted to read the lovely bones either. It's sort of amazing it sold so well, with that subject matter!

    As for your question, gosh, I have read so many weird books. I suppose I might call out Kissing in Manhatten. Strange linked short stories, and this woman gets left tied up naked on a bed for a really long time during a party.

  6. Smilingsal- For it's point it was effective.

    Yvonne- It stuck with me until I reread it.

    S. Krishna- For me it was depressing. It is not a book I recommend to others.

    Popinfresh- The Lovely Bones was recommended to me by an acquaintance. They told me the general premise but not much else other than I should read it. I had no idea that the book would begin with the rape of a fourteen year old. And I put it down for weeks after reading the first chapter. I don't know what made me pick it back up to finish it.

    CJ- I had no idea how well it had sold until after I read it.

    I've never heard of Kissing In Manhattan. Is it a book you would recommend?

  7. bookchronicle- yes it was interesting.

  8. Wow that book sounds very deep and sort of interesting but I don't know if I could handle it.

  9. I read this a few years ago - sort of started skimming (because, gosh, how grim!) - then slowed down to read properly. Like you, there were parts when I was just sobbing away like a fool. So sad! But ultimately not, I think. I remember it made a big splash when it came out. I think the author herself was raped in 'real life.'

    I usually avoid books like this, because I am so easily upset by them. It's like emotional porn, isn't it? - Part of me feels manipulated, almost(?)

    An author who can make me cry effortlessly is Alice Hoffman. She does it every time, damn her. I recently read The Outcast by Sadie Jones, and that released the waterworks, too. As the tears streamed down my face, I thought - why doesn't somebody hug that little boy?!

    Told you, I'm easy.

  10. Sounds like a very good book, but the type I'd only want to read once.

  11. I would have to say... A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan. It was good, but... weird. I can't say too much or I'll give it away!

  12. Shannon- It was a lot of both.

    Meriam- it is emotional porn! You've encapsulated it perfectly.

    I've never read Alice Hoffman. I try to stay away from books that have me in tears most of the way through. Unless it's happy tears.

    Tina- it is an emotional read. And I would imagine that not to many people do rereads, like I did.

    Alice- Now I'm intrigued. I'll have to go look it up.

  13. Like many, I had put off reading The Lovely Bones for a little while after I purchased it (grabbed it at a thrift store; the cover looked interesting and the title was eerie). When I finally did sink into it, I finished it in one sitting because it was so engrossing...and moving. Frankly, I don't think anyone would be able to read this book without shedding at least a single tear, especially someone who has been touched by death.

    It's a book I would recommend to others, but I certainly wouldn't do so without a serious warning. It will make you cry and it does contain very heavy subject matter.

  14. When I finally did sink into it, I finished it in one sitting because it was so engrossing...and moving

    I did the same thing as well. After I got past the shock of the initial chapter, I picked it back up and read non-stop.