Quirky–Who Writes This Stuff Anyway?

I am a fan of the classics, this is true. They are usually very reliable and straight forward. Plots are wonderfully portrayed, each chapter labeled or introduced, and usually the book is laid out in a linear fashion. However, every once in a while I need a little quirkiness. This is not quirkiness as in unbelievable or fantasy. This quirkiness is all about presentation. It is a different way of telling the story. Granted, to write a story with quirkiness, the author is probably a little eccentric and that makes the plot, no matter how it is told, fabulous.

Some examples of quirkiness are telling the story through e-mails or only in pictures. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday is one of my favorite books – you can download it from MontanaLibrary2Go. The story is set in England, Scotland and Yemen, and it is about how a wealthy sheik pairs up with a fisheries biologist to bring salmon fishing to his country to encourage peace and recreation. Torday writes the novel all in e-mails. E-mails between government and environment officials, between the sheik’s assistant and the fisheries biologist, between husbands and wives, etc. Very quirky (and funny and heartwarming) and it works. There is also a movie of the same name starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, and that is also worth a look.

Another favorite book is Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. If the quirky title doesn’t grab you then the story line will. When Bee’s mother Bernadette disappears, Bee compiles e-mails, official documents and secret correspondence to track her down. The mystery of Bernadette’s disappearance makes the book compulsively readable while allowing us access to Bee’s search through different documents. A plus to the novel is that not only is the writing quirky, but Bernadette is like no mother you ever knew, eccentric yet devoted, and you will want to find Bernadette too.

My last book to review is Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. Atkinson has written several books and I have enjoyed all of them, but Life after Life is quite the quirky masterpiece. Our heroine, Ursula Todd, gets the chance to relive her life over and over. Each time her life turns out differently, as well as the future of our civilization through the times of World War I and II. It is kind of like the movie Ground Hog’s Day but instead of the day repeating her life keeps repeating. Like Bill Murray, is there ever a time that Ursula can get it right?

The following list has other books (both fiction and nonfiction) that present the story in a different yet highly “readable” way. If you are looking for something a little edgy and unique, come to the library and check out these titles today!

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows
2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
3. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
4. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
5. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
6. Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
7. The Wednesday Pen: A Grandfather’s Legacy to His Family by Warren R Higgens (nonfiction)
8. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday (MontanaLibrary2Go)
9. Science: A Discovery in Comics by Margreet de Heer (Nonfiction)
10. The Fourth Bear: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fjorde