Reading Is For The Weird

Submitted by Dmitri Davydov on Wed, 2012-02-29 09:56.
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1. We Are All Weird

Weirdness takes many forms. When everyone else is carrying nylon computer bags and sporty backpacks, weird people insist on an "old-fashioned" leather briefcase (guilty). Many people think it is weird to go to over 50 Grateful Dead concerts and own recordings of hundreds of their concerts (also guilty). Is it weird to spend six hours on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in a dingy rec room playing Dungeons and Dragons? To collect chewing gum wrappers and own over 2,000, with examples from over 50 countries? To read instead of watching television? To ride a bike instead of driving? The weird is us. And the weird is you.

2. Extreme Cuisine: The Weird & Wonderful Foods that People Eat

Jerry Hopkins has raised the bar in food scholarship - Extreme Cuisine is an extremely entertaining read and a primary source for anyone interested in how (with recipes) and what other (often rural) world cultures eat. A most worthy successor to Unmentionable Cuisine. Great color photography inserts. Hopkins provides scholarly detail about some subjects some pet-lovers might find less tasty (eating dogs, cats, horse, monkeys, etc), some which are most assuredly unknown by most (eating rooster combs, wattles & testicles) and has a good sense of humor by including dumpster diving and eating roadkill. As Anthony Bourain learned, Hopkins is the perfect guide, the "Old Hand" to the other (than American style packaged foods) food worlds.

3. Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die

in 1700 there were less than 100 causes of death. Today there are 3,000. With each advance of technology, people find new ways to become deceased, often causing trends that peak in the first year. People are now killed by everything, from cell phones, washing machines, lawn mowers and toothpicks, to the boundless catalog of man—made medicines. In Final Exits the causes of death—bizarre or common—are alphabetically arranged and include actual accounts of people, both famous and ordinary, who unfortunately died that way. (Ants, bad words, Bingo, bean bag chairs, flying cows, frozen toilets, hiccups, lipstick, moray eels, road kill, starfish, and toupees are only some of the more unusual causes.)

4. Crazy: Notes On and Off the Couch

While the professionals are trying to help people resolve their problems, the therapists themselves are often depressed, anxious, and prone to panic attacks. They take antipsychotics, self-medicate with booze, and struggle in their own relationships. The ones who are providing the perspective are often the ones with the most on their plate. In short, they are just as "crazy" as the patients. Crazy is the story of how one mental health professional deals with his own personal problems and those of the people he treats. Part exposé and part memoir, it reveals what therapists really think about their profession, their colleagues, their patients, and their own lives.

5. Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops, and Hermaphrodites with Attitude

Amy Bloom's latest book, Normal, gives those of us who are familiar with her fiction another opportunity to luxuriate in her distinctive, elegant prose. Those not familiar with Bloom's work are in for a rare treat: a book which employs this writer's considerable talents (as both a psychotherapist and an artist) for an attentive and comprehensive examination of people whose lives include (but are not limited by) transgender, crossdressing and intersex issues. Bloom doesn't create "characters" in her exploration of these people; instead, she puts her artistry to work in giving voice to the living, breathing human beings who have the same range of responses as there are fascinating situations in this book.

6. Normal Gets You Nowhere

An amazing succession to her first book, "If You Have To Cry, Go Outside," Cutrone dives into deeper issues with complete honesty and witty humor that leaves readers feeling inspired. Topics in the book are what many people have contemplated between one another in conversations for years but have never had the nerve to stand up and defend their beliefs or opinions for the sake of revolutionizing change in multiple aspects of current issues and self-awakening. She stands up on a literary soap box to encourage people to question, reflect and embrace free thinking for positive reformations in society.

7. Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices

You probably don't expect to find yourself compulsively reading a book called an encyclopedia of anything, but then you probably don't expect to be reading about men who coax angry bees to sting their penises in order to make the organ swell and become more sensitive. The 750+ listings here will propel you from amazement to amazement as they carry you from abduction as a sex act to zoophilia (sex with animals). You will be repelled and excited, entranced and titillated, shocked and sucked right into the world of sexual extremes and oddities. And, all the time, you'll be making mental notes of which entries you just have to tell this or that friend about.

8. Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original Psycho

In the autumn of 1957, the nation learned of a nightmare unfolding in the little rural town of Plainfield, Wisconsin. A local recluse and simpleton by the name of Edward Gein murdered Bernice Worden, the owner of the local hardware store. A murder, even in 1950's America, wouldn't grab the attention of most folks, but this crime did. Local police searching Gein's farmhouse uncovered a soul shattering house of horrors. Not only did they find murder victim Worden in the most degrading condition, the police also discovered pieces of human bodies inside the house. Gein had fashioned soup bowls out of human skulls, masks out of human faces, and furniture out of human flesh. Every hour spent in the farmhouse turned up even more horrors, enough to make even the most hardened cop sick to his stomach. As the official inquiry deepened, America learned that a human monster lived in the most unlikely of settings, a man who embodied virtually every ghastly psychopathology known to modern science. The name Eddie Gein became synonymous with evil and he quickly became part of the dark side of American pop culture.

9. Letters of the Lost - Suicide Notes

Letters of the Lost is a collection of suicide notes. For many victims of suicide, writing a letter, or an email was not on the agenda. This book communicates the terrible loneliness there is in deciding to kill oneself. It covers people from all backgrounds, ages and gender, and hopes to enlighten people on why so many of our friends and family decide they cannot take this life.

10. The New Weird

This avant-garde anthology that presents and defines the New Weird—a hip, stylistic fiction that evokes the gritty exuberance of pulp novels and dime-store comic books—creates a new literature that is entirely unprecedented and utterly compelling. Assembling an array of talent, this collection includes contributions from visionaries Michael Moorcock and China Miéville, modern icon Clive Barker, and audacious new talents Hal Duncan, Jeffrey Ford, and Sarah Monette. An essential snapshot of a vibrant movement in popular fiction, this anthology also features critical writings from authors, theorists, and international editors as well as witty selections from online debates.

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