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Bizarre Books: A Compendium of Classic Oddities Paperback – Bargain Price, October 30, 2007
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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.
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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?'
* Truncheons: Their Romance and Reality, by Erland Fenn Clark (1935),
with over 100 plates illustrating more than 500 truncheons.
Admit it, aren't you just a little bit curious to learn more about those 500 truncheons? To know more about the mysterious, mythic Oderic of Pordenone? To sample more of that literary hoodlum's oeuvre?
Perhaps what I enjoy most about this book is the glimpses it provides of the infinite inventiveness, and never-ending quirkiness, of the human mind.
it's remarkable only for its late date pub year, inspiring the "what were they thinking?" head question that one cannot quite invoke for the remainding threesome- & foursome- entendre books appearing herein.
slang does change over time & e'er more quickly, as do the vagaries of what is & is not allowed. society hadnt yet begun to crumble when a hundred years or so ago appeared "men who have risen: a book for boys." half a century later arrived "microscopic objects: how to mount them." a quarter century or so past that [i am working from memory] up arose "the day amanda came" which, along w/ its jacket, has to be most evocative & almost alarming bit of business so far [un]covered by the authors.
& by the seventies, "what were they thinking?" does, indeed, apply.
it's more of a four star than five star book. id est: it isnt, say, "the sheltering sky" by paul bowles. but i &, most likely, most of the ~we~ that comprise the unknown out in the unreal world have come to realise that online anything less than five stars can but be considered criticism.
for this book i have little of that. itll make you shoot milk out yr nose [if thats what yr into] & proves, to its final dogged ear, that while the last lost living souls amongst us who still read may occasionally take the wrong end of the telescope to the stars, we also spend the unaccountable most of our time in deep unbridled contemplation of the gutter.
The absolute funniest part for me is an excerpt from a book on how to speak English. It was written in the later-mid 19th century and contains dialogs. "Bizzare Books" contians one of these which is between a book-seller and a customer. A friend and I acted out the dialog before friends at a party. Everyone laughs at the strange grammar and word choice which seem to hint at the two men insulting all the other customers.
I'm looking for a copy of "Nuclear War: What's in it for YOU!" as we speak. I would love to have a bookshelf of the titles compiled herein. Imagine what the neighbors would say!
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so what did I do? I ordered some of the books mentioned in this one...on Amazon of course!Read more