Stan Lee's busy napping in my office chair, so he told to do a blog post on his favourite top shelf strange books. Click the titles for links to the books.
Stan Lee and I both liked The Crown of Zeus by Christine Norris. It's a bit more PG than some of the other books on here, but I still think it's still top shelf strange (there's a little bit of violence, but not much. You see more in a lot of video games aimed at kids). Megan's world falls apart when she has to move to the London suburbs after her father gets a promotion, and it seems like the teachers at her new school don't like her and her new classmates are gossiping about her on the first day of class. She makes some new friends, though, and they get sucked into a book and have to do all kinds of weird things. Also, the guy who owned her new house in the London suburbs was super eccentric, but I can't tell you too much here without spoiling the ending for readers. Used, $3.99 or new, $8.99
Last night, he knocked over Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, by Stephanie Wytovich, which means he liked it a lot. It's a collection of beautifully grotesque poems that are "confessionals and dirges", complete with corpses, blood, and dirt. Ms. Wytovich wrote these poems when she was a nomad living on the road and she was singing the poems under the stars. In one poem, she promised (or threatened?) to carve the reader's name on her tongue. I was a little bit surprised he liked this, since Stephanie Wytovich is a confirmed dog person and Stan Lee hates dogs almost as much as he hates being ignored. He decided he liked her poetry despite this. New, $14.95
Stan Lee said Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan was weird (and a bit old for his tastes) but top shelf strange and good. During the Great Recession, Clay Jannon lost his job as a web designer in San Francisco. He got a job at Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore to pay the bills, and within a couple days of starting, realised both his job and his new boss are top-shelf strange. Clay became suspicious and decided to analyze customers' behaviour, and discovered some rather crazy bookstore secrets. Stan Lee said the bookstore setting appealed to him. Used, $1.99
Stan Lee sat on Discouraging at Best by John Edward Lawson when it first arrived, which means he liked it. In fact, he liked it so much that he refused to move after sitting on it, even after being offered cat treats and catnip. Discouraging at Best offers several interlocking tales of greed, apathy, and emancipation. Stan Lee called it bizarro literature at its best. He said part of the appeal was the surrealism. New, $12.99