Top Ten Tuesday: Books for People Who Like Aimee Bender

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I don’t do these too often, but when I saw that today’s topic was Top Ten Books For People Who Like X Author, the very first thing that popped into my head was the strange world of Aimee Bender. If you like Bender’s odd slant on things, perhaps you’ll enjoy some of these as well. I’ll try to ease y’all in and leave the weirdest stuff for last:

1. Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender

Let’s start with the obvious: one of Bender’s own books. A lot of people were introduced to her more recently via her last novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but short stories are where she really shines, and this is my favorite collection of hers.

Book cover: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan2. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Is it a collection of loosely interconnected short stories (including a chapter written entirely in PowerPoint), or is it a postmodern novel? I lean towards the latter, buy you’ll need to enter this sad world of aging punk rockers and decide for yourself. Read my review here.

Book cover: Sorry Please Thank You by Charles Yu3. Sorry Please Thank You by Charles Yu

This short story collection won’t be released until later this month, but go ahead and put it on your TBR lists now! Divided into three sections, many of the stories all have a sci-fi feel to them. You’ll love the first story, about a man working at a call center in Bangalore whose employees are hired to feel their customers’ pain for them.

4. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July

July’s collection of sixteen short stories invites readers to view the world through her characters’ eyes. At turns funny, awkward, sexual, and bittersweet, you’ll encounter characters like the the woman who gives elderly people waterless swimming lessons in her kitchen and the single woman who fantasizes about Prince William.

Book cover: Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs5. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

If nonfiction is more your thing, try Running with Scissors. Managing to both entertain and horrify, this memoir recounts Burroughs’s harrowing childhood with an alcoholic father and mentally unstable mother who sends her adolescent son to live with her eccentric — many would argue also mentally unstable — therapist.

Book cover: St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russel6. St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell

Yet another short story collection, this time published by 2012 Pulitzer finalist Karen Russell. It begins with a story that is precisely about what the title suggests — nuns reeducating a pack of girls raised by wolves — and later features the story that first introduced some of the characters from Swamplandia! to the world.

Book cover: Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan7. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

This is YA, but don’t let that fool you: Tender Morsels is one of the most disturbing, weird, mesmerizing books I’ve ever read. It involves shattered innocence, magic, alternate dimensions, men who become bears, and a revenge scene that might give you nightmares. It is freaking awesome. Emotionally exhausting, but awesome.

Book cover: The Broom of the System (Penguin Ink)8. The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace

Too scared to tackle Infinite Jest? I wouldn’t exactly call The Broom of the System baby steps, but Wallace’s first book will certainly give you a taste of the book he’d later become most famous for. It’s zany and bewildering, and loved the play on the characters’ names. Read my audiobook review here.

9. Eeeee Eee Eeee by Tao Lin

For those who prefer heavy doses of surrealism and philosophizing: you’ll either love or hate this. I mostly recall Elijah Wood getting punched by dolphins who walk around saying “eee eee eee” and killing random celebrities, and animals who rage against the machine. And then it’s over and you go, “what. the. f—?” Yeah.

Book cover: There Is No Year by Blake Butler10. There Is No Year by Blake Butler

A family of three moves into a house, only to find a copy of them already living there (except the “copy family” doesn’t speak). It’s kind of, sort of, but not really a type of horror story, and it kind of, sort of, but doesn’t really have a plot. Chew on that for a while.

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10 comments

  1. Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    LOVE this list! Will totally be pinning this post. I fell in love with Bender via The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and I ALMOST bought Willful Creatures earlier this week. I see lots of other goodies here that I’ve enjoyed (Miranda July) or that I would like to enjoy sooner than later.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve heard of any of the books on this list except for A Visit From the Goon Squad! Then again, I do mostly read YA, so that could be why! ;) Some of them sound really interesting, though, so I’ll have to check them out! And thanks so much for stopping by my Top Ten Tuesday!

  3. Vasilly

    I love Aimee Bender and Margo Lanagan. I haven’t read Tender Morsels just Lanagan’s short story collection. Have you read Bender’s Girl in a Flammable Skirt?

    • Melissa

      I had no idea that Lanagan had a short story collection! Will definitely check that out. And I finally read Girl in a Flammable skirt last year. I loved the story about the librarian. :)

  4. Pingback: Sorry Please Thank You: Stories | The Feminist Texican [Reads]
  5. Pingback: Willful Creatures « Muse & Words
  6. Pingback: Review: Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan « Amy Reads

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