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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
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.
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.