7 of the Most Unique Books I’ve Read

A week or two ago, the Top Ten Tuesday prompt by Broke and the Bookish was the “10 most unique books I’ve read.” Since I missed participating in the prompt at the time, I decided I’d do it today! Here are some of the most unique books I’ve read and the reasons why I think they’re so special.

1. Most Unique Reading Experience: by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

S jj abrams doug dorst

S. is the story of two people who are meeting each other and solving a mystery via notes in the book, Ship of Theseus. When you open up S., you are opening up Ship of Theseus. The story of the two characters is actually written in various colored pens in margins of the book. So it’s basically two books in one. You read Ship of Theseus and you read the characters’ notes to each other! I had to read the book twice to truly comprehend the entire puzzle, but it was definitely a unique read.

2. Most Unique Formatting: The Illuminae Files by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


These books are a story told through documents. There’s not any real narrative, so you piece together the story based on the various chat room logs, video surveillance files, diary entries, etc that you read. See my review of Illuminae here and my review of Gemina here. The third book, Obsidio, is expected to come out March 2018.

3. Most Unique Language: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

a clockwork orange anthony burgess

You cannot fully comprehend this book without having a copy of the ‘Nadsat’ dictionary in hand. It’s a slang language created by the author of the novel. I will never forget reading this book with my little folded up dictionary tucked away in the back cover.

4. Most Unique Love Story: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

warm bodies cover

It’s a story about a girl and a zombie falling in love (amongst other things that happen in the novel). It doesn’t get weirder than that!

5. Most Unique World: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland gets a lot of credit for being a bizarre world, but a lot of people forget about this book! Maybe because it has become so ubiquitous? I mean, aside from weirdness that is the Emerald City and flying monkeys and living tin man and cowardly lion, there are a bunch of strange places in that book. See my thoughts on this book here!

6. Most Unique Use of Language: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

the phantom tollbooth cover

This book is so clever! Juster’s tongue-in-cheek and literal use of language is hilarious. Definitely something an adult is going to appreciate way more than a kid.

7. Most Unique Dystopian: The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon

the bone season  

Shannon has created a really elaborate and detailed clairvoyant dystopian world, and it’s definitely unlike anything I’ve read. Click the links to see my reviews for The Bone SeasonThe Mime Order, and The Song Rising.


What are some unique books you’ve read, and why?

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  1. Ah yes, the Illuminae Files & The Bone Season are both so very unique. I just *can’t wait* for Obsidio (can’t believe it’s only coming in… 2018!)
    I haven’t read the others you mentioned but they look very interesting (:

  2. “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” was very unique – emails and notes tied together with some first person narrative, I found it super captivating. When I started it I meant to read only a little and then sleep.. but I ended up not sleeping (it was on a long flight). Super quirky and delightful.

    A unique book I read recently: “Life After Life” – it actually took me a bit to figure out what was happening, and I’m not sure I’ve ever come across another book that handled second chances quite that way.

    1. I loved Where’d You Go Bernadette!! It was hilarious. I’ve heard a lot about Life After Life – it sounds intense!

  3. I remember the Phantom Tollbooth! And yes to Illuminae- love the format of those!

    The Bone Season I’m not familiar with but I like a good original dystopian, so I may have to check those out!

    1. Yes, definitely check out The Bone Season!! If you like dystopian novels, this one has quite an elaborately crafted world and is very cool.

  4. Ok that first book sounds really unique, and I’m not quite sure I understand, but I’m definitely curious. I also didn’t know that A Clockwork Orange had a slang language? I’ve never read that one. I did think Warm Bodies was really unique though! And yes, I LOVED Phantom Tollbooth when I read it as a kid. I actually couldn’t get past like ch 1 as an adult though :-/ It might’ve helped that we read it as a school book, so the teacher explained the word play and stuff, and I just thought it was all so interesting and clever.

        1. NO. Not fantasy at all? Maybe the actual book, “Ship of Theseus” has some fantasy elements, but I don’t remember that. It reads more like historical fiction/mystery. But more on the lighter side. And when I say historical fiction, I don’t think it actually is, it just has that feel!

  5. illuminae is sooo good! i have to admit, i was a bit hesitant because i wasn’t sure if i was going to connect with the characters and understand the plot since the formatting is so different from the traditional one we’re used to, but it was absolutely fantastic! i think the files made the story even more interesting and i read it very quickly. i have yet to read gemina, but i can’t wait!