The premise for some of these books is simply brilliant; like The Nothing Book (1974), a completely blank hardcover book that, if I remember correctly, sold for around ten bucks. During my time managing bookstores, this blank book sold consistently well year after year after year…



I’ll admit it – I love these kinds of books: some are ingenious, some are funny, and some are just downright bizarre.  Below is the updated list of my Top Ten Weirdest Books to Ever Hit the Shelves. Please let me know if there is a book that you think should be on this list!




8. The Truly Tasteless Scratch and Sniff Book from DK Publishing (2000) – this one was inevitable: a scratch-and-sniff book that features the unmistakable aromas of sour milk, scared skunk, and rotten fish, to name just a few.





4. Cooking with a Serial Killer: Recipes from Dorothea Puente by Shane Bugbee (2004) – recipes from a convicted mass murderer, what?




“Choking the chicken, spanking the monkey, airing the orchid – whatever you call it, none of the images in this book will encourage the gentle art of self-pleasure. This deceptively simple and strangely addictive book presents a laugh-out-loud collection of random pictures virtually guaranteed to dampen the urge of even the strongest libido.”



The Lazarus Lurch, for example, was inspired thusly: “Jesus performed plenty of miracles, but raising Lazarus of Bethany from the dead rocketed him into the big leagues. Commemorate this ultimate Thriller move by reenacting the moments after the resurrection, when Lazarus – no doubt a bit stiff after spending the better part of the week in a damp cave on a stone slab – works out the kinks and slowly gets his groove back.”



Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.

by Fricka on ‎10-28-2012 07:54 PM

Huh. Well, Paul,  I could see myself reading three of these books--the one on identifying Shopping Carts, the one on using Dog Hair for Knitting, and the number one of your selection, Dancing With Jesus. Have to admit, when I first saw that title, my mind did a segue to Ray Stevens' song, "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex on his Television Show?"

I'm not necessarily offended by the idea of Jesus' dancing--I think they did have dancing of a sort, at least when there were weddings and other festivities, in his time, and of course we know that King David "danced before the Lord", so it's not so outlandish an idea as it might appear at first glance. However, the description of the dances that you shared from the book make it clear that the tone is clearly irreverent rather than sincerely curious. I have no interest whatsoever in learning how to prepare roadkill, likewise dumpster diving,  or using the recipes from a serial killer. For the rest--no comment.

by on ‎10-31-2012 07:12 PM

Such great gifts ideas. Thanks

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