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Bizarre Books: A Compendium of Classic Oddities Paperback – October 30, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061346659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061346651
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.3 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

In the course of their careers in the business of writing and selling books, Russell Ash and Brian Lake have collected hundreds of bizarre examples from this extensive field. From double entendres and astonishingly specialized subjects to weird books on horticulture, science, and medical matters, the authors have left no catalog page unturned in their quest for the most bizarre of books.



In the course of their careers in the business of writing and selling books, Russell Ash and Brian Lake have collected hundreds of bizarre examples from this extensive field. From double entendres and astonishingly specialized subjects to weird books on horticulture, science, and medical matters, the authors have left no catalog page unturned in their quest for the most bizarre of books.


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Customer Reviews

I got some very strange looks from fellow commuters until I passed the book to one of them.
Alan Potter (alan@pottera.demon.co.uk)
The authors must have spent a long time,probably many years,assembling the titles,illustrations and information listed in this book.
J. Guild
A funny book, but it was kind of a mishmash and wasn't as comprehensive as I expected it to be.
Old Time Hockey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By David M. Giltinan on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book arrived in the same Amazon shipment as "Bertha Venation", a book devoted to funny names of people. While "Bertha Venation" managed to be singularly unfunny, "Bizarre Books" had a pretty high hilarity quotient. Almost every page had at least a couple of titles which made me giggle.

Conveniently grouped into chapters such as Double Entendres, Science & Scientific Theories, health & Medicine, Sex & Marriage, Sport, Leisure, Clothes & Fashion, Food & Drink, The Workplace, Crime & the Law, Religion & Beliefs, and Death , most of the titles included in this book are genuinely funny. For some of the more baffling titles, the authors include a representative short excerpt, a welcome feature.

This book is not for everyone. But if you have a penchant for the offbeat, the quirky, and obscure weirdness, it's good for more than a few belly-laughs.

It would be remiss of me not to include a few of my favorite entries:

* The Art of Faking Exhibition Poultry (1934), by George Ryley Scott.
The author treads an indistinct line between condemning this widespread and despicable practice, and telling the reader exactly how to do it.

* Correctly English in 100 Days(Shanghai Correctly English Society, 1934)
This book is prepared for the Chinese young man who wishes to served for the foreign firms. It divided nealy hundred and ninety pages. It contains full of ordinary speak and write language.....

* Was Oderic of Pordenone Ever in Tibet?, by Berthold Laufer (1914)

* The Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum, by Wallace Irwin (1901)
'Am I a turnip? On the strict Q.T.,
When do my Trilbys get so ossified?
Why am I minus when it's up to me
To brace my Paris pansy for a glide?
Read more ›
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jody on March 19, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like this meta book - I just wish there were more excerpts from the featured books. After a while, reading the massive lists of book titles was like going to a restaurant and only reading the menu - eventually, you want something to eat!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Charlene Vickers on November 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Bizarre Books" contains the titles, and a few excerpts, of thousands of the strangest books ever written. This book is hilarious! It would be a great Christmas gift for anyone with a relatively silly sense of humour.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alan Potter (alan@pottera.demon.co.uk) on May 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because of its cover which featured a lady who appeared to be from the fifties holding two toads, upside down, one in each hand. It was apparently the front cover for a book about making profits from raising frogs. The rest of the book is simply about weird and wonderful books. Whether they have unintentionally amusing titles, such as "Penetrating Wagner's Ring", unbelievable prosaic titles such as "A study of Liverpudlian water cocks, 1932-1955" or ridiculous authors' names, one of which included something like "D'Bang-D'Crashes" (I'm using my memory here so these may not be exactly correct) it is a very funny book. I work in London, and the London Underground is a very staid place. But I read it while I was commuting and could not help laughing out loud at some of the entries. I got some very strange looks from fellow commuters until I passed the book to one of them. Then they started laughing out loud too. Even if you can't get a copy for me, could you hunt down who ever I loaned it to and force them to return it to me?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
To say the least,this is an interesting little tome.If you are an avid reader and haunter of bookstores,libraries or a bibliophile of any description,you will be fascinated with this compilation of titles and brief description of some of the unusual books that have ,first of all been written,and secondly managed to get published over the years.
Who hasn't come across a book wih a title that jumps out at you and makes you ask yourself;"What the heck could that book be about?".
The authors must have spent a long time,probably many years,assembling the titles,illustrations and information listed in this book.I have to admit that very few of them were ever encountered by me .One exception,though was "The Wit and Humor of Prince Philip" that I saw in a bargin bin and it immediately made me chuckle.About the last thing that comes to mind when thinking about Prince Philip would be humor,and little wonder such a title would end up in a bargin bin.
The book is an interesting perusal and will provide one with lots of chuckles.
I have to agree with several other reviewers,when they suggest that it would have been more interesting if greater information was given about the books listed,even at the expense of reducing the numbers.For that reason,I must admit ,I tended to find it a bit laboured and skimmed through a lot of the titles.
There are several of these books listed here on Amazon by these authors.The titles and publication dates vary;but I suspect that they are all one and the same and just reissues of the original book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric H. Roth on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
While browsing in one of London's classic book stores, I purchased this thin book as a gag gift for a friend addicted to buying books back in Los Angeles.
My friend never received it. I kept it. You can't let such an odd, funny, and unique book leave your hands. Each page provides insight into strange obsessions and peculiar beliefs that have grabbed writers. Some celebrate taboo lifestyles (The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution; Scalping in America) while others document extreme optimism ( You Can Make a Stradivarius Violin, Thirty-six Reasons for Believing in Everlasting Punishment) and lots of dry British humor (Books in Bottles: The Curious in Literature, and a blank book of 400 pages titled What Women Know About Men.)
An instant classic for book collectors and bookstore owners.
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