some of my favorite books - The Dainty Squid

some of my favorite books

Monday, October 21, 2013

A few "What I've Been Reading..." posts ago someone suggested I do a post about my favorite books. I'm not sure why that never occurred to me before. Perhaps because I'm always surprised when people have the same kind of strange reading taste as I do. I was so nervous to blog about the books I liked at first but this has seriously been great. I love connecting with other folks over books about strippers, dead bodies and other normally taboo subjects. So, here we go...
My top five books, in this order, are...
Rant by Chuck Palahniuk
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Stiff by Mary Roach
The Contortionist's Handbook by Craig Clevenger

I wasn't instantly in love with Rant the first time I read it. I honestly had no idea what the heck was going on throughout the first half the first time I read it through. Party crashing? Plugging in? What in the world are you talking about? But by the end of the book I knew I had to re-read it because I needed to understand what it was about. I've read Rant more times than I've read any other book ever. I feel like I could re-read it a million more times and still find new things to love. It's with out a doubt my all time favorite book.

Survivor is my second favorite book and also by my favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk. I think Chuck Palahniuk is a brilliant writer and it especially shows in Rant and Survivor.
 
Geek Love was instantly a favorite, I even blogged about how much I loved it after I finished. Like I said in my original post about it it's definitely not a book for everyone, just like most of the books I'll be talking about in this post, but if our reading interests seem to overlap you have to read Geek Love. It's incredible.

What's not to love about a book about "the curious lives of human cadavers"?! The description on Amazon sums it up perfectly - "Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem." You'll read about crash test dummies, beating-heart cadavers used in organ transplants, practicing surgery on the dead and more!

The Contortionist's Handbook I found by accident while looking for books on contorting. I was pretty bummed to find it was actually a novel until I saw that my all time favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk, said "I swear to God this is the best book I have read in easily five years. Easily. Maybe ten years." about the book. Mr. Palahniuk wasn't kidding. Craig Clevenger's writing is incredible. It's so easy to get sucked into this story.
Oh, Chuck Palahniuk! How do I even begin to express my love for Chuck Palahniuk? It all started with Snuff four years ago, that was my first of his books. I'm not completely in love with Snuff, it's probably one of my least favorites of his but it was clearly good enough for me to start a love affair with the rest of his books. I tore through every single book he'd ever written after finishing it.

Often I get asked to rank his books both out of curiosity from other fans and from readers that are new to Chuck Palahniuk. So here we go : Rant, Survivor, Diary, Choke, Lullaby, Fight Club, Invisible Monsters Remix, Invisible Monsters, Pygmy, Haunted, Damned, Tell All, Snuff, then Fugitives and Refugees & Stranger Than Fiction (because I really prefer his fiction best).

I'm a die hard Palahniuk fan. A lot of people haven't liked his last few books but I will continue to purchase (on the day it comes out, mind you!) and read anything he write for the entirety of his career. Sorry, I'm not sorry. I love that man.
My favorite non-fiction writer is Mary Roach. After reading Stiff I was hooked on her writing. She's funny, her writing is down to Earth and easy to understand even if it's on things you never thought you'd be reading about and my goodness, her footnotes are to die for. If you haven't yet, you need to give Mary Roach a shot!
Here are seven more random books I really really liked...
Candy Girl by Diablo Cody
Strip City by Lily Burana
Down Among The Dead Men by Michelle Williams
Electrified Sheep by Alex Boese
Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman
The Dead Janitors Club by Jeff Kilma
Curtains by Tom Jokinen

The seven books above are ones I really enjoyed reading but just couldn't put in a category along with my all time favorites. I do highly recommend them all though.

More books you should read...
 Elf Girl by Rev Jen, I am not myself these days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Women by Charles Bukowski, Live Nude Elf by Reverend Jen, Johns, Marks, Tricks and Chickenhawks by David Henry Sterry,  Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and How to Make Love Like a Pornstar by Jenna Jameson.

And of course, if you're looking for more to read you can check out my old "What I've been reading..." posts under the "books" tag.
xoxo

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58 thoughts

  1. have you read doomed yet? i think it came out earlier this month. i haven't had a chance to read it, but hopefully i can get it soon.

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  2. You need to read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It's a reading experience unlike any other! I love Palahniuk too, so I've been reading a lot of books that he's recommended or are in the same vein - like Amy Hempel and Will Christopher Baer.

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    1. People recommend that to me all the time, guess I should just read it already! :P

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  3. I've been needing some new reading material so thank you for sharing this with everyone!!

    http://mariedarling.blogspot.com/

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  4. I loved Fight Club! I still haven't gotten around to reading more Palahniuk due to time constraints (school full time) and I have been on a Carl Sagan and Neil Gaiman kick that has completely sucked me in! My fiancée also introduced me to this graphic novel called Transmetropolitan that was written by Warren Ellis. It's just strange enough to keep me on edge in a good way. So many books!!!! I also loved The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson! I think my favorite non fiction writer is Terence McKenna. He has this really poetic way of stating things that leaves me feeling inspired. Ack I could rant on and on! Oh and on my reading list is Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

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  5. Quite a few of those are favorites of mine as well!!

    Since you were sharing your favorites - I just have to ask -- have you ever read House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski....if not, definitely look into it!!

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  6. I've always enjoyed your book blog posts the most... you do a great job mentioning what it is you enjoyed (or didn't enjoy) about a book. I started reading Mary Roach because of you, so THANK YOU!!!

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  7. Hello,

    I also really enjoyed Geek Love! I'm not sure if you've read it yet, but judging by your tastes, I think you'd really love Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey and Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill.

    Best,
    C.

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    1. I've never heard of either, but I'll look into them both! Thank you! :)

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  8. I can't believe you'd be afraid to share your book suggestions! You have such amazing and individual tastes. Your "What I've Been Reading" posts are something I look forward to. I'm a Chuck Palahniuk fan (maybe that's too light of a word...worshiper? haha) as well so I knew I'd love anything else you threw at me. I love how you are throwing books at me that I never would have seen otherwise about some incredibly interesting topics. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Geek Love has been on my 'to read' list for a while now, so I'm glad you recommend it! You've also given me the kick I needed to pick up some Palahniuk :)
    http://elettravelle.blogspot.co.uk/

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  10. So crazy you posted this today, because I finished two books yesterday and was going to tweet you and ask for some of your all-time favorites! Thanks for posting! :)

    <3 Kelsey
    Be Like The Fox

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    1. Haha! So weird when stuff like that happens!

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  11. So glad I picked up Stiff on your recommendation a while back - I just got Gulp from the library and can't wait to get started on it!

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  12. Love Chuck! Lullaby and Fight Club are all I've read but holy moly, I cannot WAIT to sink my teeth into the rest of his work

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  13. Ahhh! Diary is my absolute favorite. I read it after (finally) getting my hands on a copy of Fight Club. High school was enveloped in Palahniuk lol. I wrote a paper on him for my honors english class junior year (got a 101-- BAM!) But god Diary still sticks out to me, even 10 years later. <3<3

    Have you come across anything else like The Dead Janitors Club? I REALLY loved it (even though the ended sucked-- I thought it did lol)

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    1. Anything else as in crime scene clean up? I also read Mop Men. It was pretty great. I didn't like it as much as The Dead Janitors Club but it satisfied my need to read about crime scene clean ups! ;)

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  14. Thank you for so many new authors and titles! I will definitely check some (if not all) out, I've only read the Long Hard Road Out Of Hell by Manson from your list and am always looking for new reading material :)

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  15. Half way through this list I thought "man, Kaylah should really read Live Nude Elf", and hey, there it was! Also Long Hard Road out of Hell. So, so good.
    I actually just finished Stiff, and I'm waiting for my boyfriend to finish Packing for Mars so I can give it a gander. Mary Roach's style of writing is so compelling, I just love it!
    Also fun little story, an ex boyfriend once gave me a signed copy of Pygmy for my birthday. As much as I wanted to keep it (it said "Erin- thanks for the blowjob - Chuck) I had to give it back because the gifter was an asshole I wanted out of my life. But hot damn, it would have been such a fun addition to my bookshelf.
    --Erin

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    1. Hahaha! That's awesome! Shame you couldn't keep it!

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  16. Great post! I love books and I love seeing other people's favorites. Yours match up so clearly with your personality.

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  17. Rant is a very strange book that definitely requires an eventual reread from me. It was confusing the first time around, and then at the end I "got it", but it needs at least one reread knowing what the hell is going on. I feel the same about The Dark Tower series by Stephen King- it needs to be reread now that I know what is happening. I highly recommend that series if you've never tried it before.

    Here's a Wiki link if you wanna look into it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Tower_(series)

    It has quite a bit of a cult following.

    http://star-stuff.net

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    1. I started reading The Dark Tower series in high school but just wasn't that interested. Perhaps I'll have to give it another go.

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  18. Love your taste in books. The one from this list I'm most looking forward to reading is The Lives Of Human Cadavers. Looking forward to more recommendations.

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  19. I read Geek Love after seeing your blog post about it. It instantly became one of my favorites as well. I so wish she had more books!

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  20. See, I read Gulp for a book club, and didn't even finish it... it was interesting, but it didn't captivate me. And I like nonfiction, so it's not juuuust that it's not fiction? I'm trying to finish it though. I still want to give her other books a shot, so thanks for the rec! :)

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    1. Really?! I l thought Gulp was incredible!

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  21. Ok, totally going to Amazon for Stiff right now! (err after this comment I mean.)

    I love that aside from your Palahniuk obsession your book taste is pretty open - like mine.
    Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened had me DYING! Dead. I don't know that any other book has ever made me laugh so hard for so long or come so close to making me pee my pants.
    And Helter Skleter, while it is a GREAT book if you're into that stuff (which I am) it had me paranoid as crap.
    I'm going to assume you've read In Cold Blood... if you haven't you should.
    Also, Rabid by Bill Wasik & Monica Murphy, talk about fascinating, morbid and crazy unbelievable!

    LittleBirdBlogs

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  22. I read a chuck P book - i think it was survivor - and loved it!

    Valentina
    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

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  23. Chucks is crazy good and crazy amazing. I've never met a author who cares so deeply about his fans, and he has so many of us. I've passed geek love off to all of my friends that fell instantly in love with the little circus family of freaks. Also those are my favorite top four chucks as well. Happy Reading.

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  24. I absolutely love Chuck! The first one I read was Haunted and I loved it so much, it stayed on my mind for weeks after! He's amazing. I'm definitely going to have to read Stiff!
    I loved this post!
    Kloe xxx
    haveacupofteawithkloe.blogspot.co.uk

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  25. Wow, you really like Palahniuk haha! I have to admit that Choke is the only one I've read and I can't for the life of me remember anything about it!

    My overwhelming memory of Palahniuk is my university housemate telling me about the story where the protagonist has to chew through his own intestine. I'm pretty morbid and creepy but that's just too gory for me!

    Becky
    xx

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  26. I loooove Stiff! It is one of the best books I've read in a while. When people would ask me what I was reading I would gladly tell them all about it...but then I started to get introduced to people as, "...this is Indy, she likes dead bodies."

    I really like Mary Roach because she makes non-fiction fun and interesting - yay!

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    1. Haha!!

      That's exactly why I love Mary Roach. I wish there were more authors like her.

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  27. I absolutely love Chuck Palahniuk, he's my favourite author too. I found Rant hard to get into, I probably tried about three times before actually being able to finish it! The last one I read was 'Haunted', 'Pygmy' next I think. I'll definitely be buying some off your list :)

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  28. Love these suggestions!

    I'm a *huge* Mary Roach fan as well. I was lucky enough to go for beers with her a couple of years ago. She was in town for a talk about "Packing for Mars," and after the book signing (I got her to sign my book with a footnote!) a small group of folks ended up meeting up at a local pub for drinks. She was as hilarious and awesome as you would imagine. :)

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  29. I love all the books on this list that I've read as well. Choke is my favorite Palahniuk book but I must admit I haven't read anything since Invisible Monsters! I better get on that... Another favorite book of mine is John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things - it's dark and I think you would enjoy it too.

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  30. I haven't read any Chuck Palahniuk books before but would love to get started on them! Love this post. :)

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  31. Geek Love is one of my favorites as well! I've said this before, but you're the first person I've met with my EXACT taste in books.

    Have you read any Bret Easton Ellis? As a Palahniuk fan, you'd like him. I also highly recommend House of Leaves.

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    1. I started reading one of books and just didn't like his "voice." I do feel like I need to try again though. What do you recommend?

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    2. I've only read American Psycho and part of The Rules of Attraction, but I would recommend them both. The voice is kind of jarring, but it feels so rhythmic after a while and really sticks in your head.

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  32. Your book posts are always really enjoyable to read (and I can't imagine finding your reading taste strange!). And I love Mary Roach books too- she really delivers the perfect blend of info and humor. :)

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  33. I just spent 60€ because of you. Thought you should know. I guess I've spent them well. But still! I didn't plan on spending that much money when I opened the post :D Thank you in advance, I'm sure I'll have a great time reading :)

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    1. Haha, sorry! But...books are totally worth the money, especially these ones!! Nothing better than getting a big package of books in the mail! Enjoy! :)

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  34. Awesome! I'm a literature & linguistics major, but I also have trouble explaining my taste in books to other people. I love the classics, but there's something about contemporary and modern literature and writers that always catches my eye. I'm currently reading Tell All by Palahniuk (my first of his!) and I'm loving it so far (it's actually called "Al Desnudo" in Spanish, which is weird but oh well). Another book that I'm currently reading is Black wings has my angel, by Elliot Chaze. You may be interested in that one. I would give you a summary but I'm afraid it woulnd't be spoiler free and it'd ruin it for you. This was a great post (and this is getting ranty :P) xoxo

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  35. Stiff was fascinating! I keep wanting to throw it at people and say, "Read this!" but they are usually turned off by the subject matter. There are so many curiosities and fun facts in that little book. Mary Roach i a brilliant writer but the only other book I have read is Packing for Mars.

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  36. CHUCK FOREVER!

    Survivor and Haunted are my top two, tho.

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  37. Rant is my absolute all time favorite book. Hands down. :) You have great taste in books lady.

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  38. Oooh...I've read a few of Palahniuk's, but they're mostly been his more recent one. I'm loving your favorites list - and I've never read Mary Roach, but she seems right up my alley. Have to read all of these!! lol.

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  39. i love chuck! lullaby is probably my favorite of his. and it totally had to read rant twice because i had no idea wtf was going on the first time i read it! hahaha

    --Leeds
    at this volume

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  40. God, I love Chuck Palahniuk as well, currently reading Doomed!

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  41. I think your book recommendations are my favourite posts. Such eclectic taste in reading materials.

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  42. i read geek love on your recommendation and LOVED IT. you are my favorite to get book recommendations from because i love to read about the same kinds of things. I just finished "i am not myself these days" and just started "elf girl." keep up the book posts!

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  43. I, too, read "Geek Love" on your recommendation and was quite impressed with it! I had a book hangover from it - I couldn't start another book cuz I was still in Geek Love's world! I really like how unique the book was...it kind of defies categorization (i.e. "Romance" or "Drama" ...etc.). Anyway, thanks for the reco!

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