n this edition of Friday Favourites, I will be discussing my favourite ‘odd reads’. Odd is a subjective term, of course, because what is considered odd by one person, may not be considered odd by another. Still, here are a few of my favourite oddities!
#1. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman:
It just wouldn’t be a list of oddities if the master of odd was not on the list. Neverwhere is a delightful exploration of other, made all the more interesting by the fact that the protagonist is a ‘normal’ and rather boring young man. The story is well told, and abounds with oddities. Strange magic, strange characters, strange places that defy what we consider to be the laws of physics. What’s lovely about Never though is that these oddities are introduced to the story in a subtle way. The reader is not meant to be jarred by how odd they are; instead, they are used to transport the reader to place that is ‘elsewhere’.
#2. Bartimaeus Trilogy – Jonathan Stroud:
I’ve already discussed my intense love for this series, but it bears repeating, because not only is the Bartimaeus trilogy deliciously wonderful, it is written in a decidedly odd fashion. The chapters that are told from the POV of the djinn Bartimaeus include footnotes, most commonly seen in academic writing. In fact, I am so accustomed to seeing footnotes in academic writing (and dutifully ignoring them), that for the first few chapters, I similarly ignored the Bartimaeus footnotes.
That was a mistake, because they are used as asides to the reader, and they are absolutely delightful. They really solidify Bartimaeus’ character, and they’re wickedly funny too.
An oddity, but an entertaining one!
#3. The Twenty-One Balloons – William Pène du Bois:
I read this as part of a school project in Grade 4, but I love it so much, that I often take it out for a light read. It is odd because its premise is odd – a man, Professor William Waterman Sherman, who was missing and presumed dead, is found floating in the Atlantic aboard a most peculiar device made of twenty-one balloons. The story unfolds from there, as the professor regales an audience, and the reader, with how exactly he came to be in that position. The story is odd but wonderful, and I love it all the more because it was published in 1947 and I feel like it’s every bit as charming when I read it as an adult, as it was when I read it as a ten year old.
What are your favourite odd reads? Tell me in the comments below!
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