There’s a book for that: Abebooks’ room of literary oddities

No matter how strange the subject, someone has probably written a book about it.

Why do I vomit? There’s a book about that.

How to make your own sex toys? That too.

A book on beer can collecting? Of course.

And how could you not want a book of join-the-dots erotic pictures? Or a book on toilet paper origami?

And if the economy gets really bad, maybe the cookbook of Critter Cuisine won’t be so useless after all.

I absolutely love the fact that humans seem to feel the need to consign absolutely everything. It’s what made me buy Boring Postcards, a collection of actual postcards representing motels from the middle of nowhere, secretarial pools of corporate head offices, parking lots and other remarkably ordinary images of ordinary human life. One by one, they might not mean much, but put together, they become remarkable.

A boring postcard from one of Martin Parr's remarkable books.

I had the book on my desk for a year, when I worked as director of public relations for an event, ten years ago, and watching people’s faces, as they (almost inevitably) picked up the grey-sleeved book and flipped through it, made the purchase worth its price many times over.

Abebooks, the great Internet crossroads of used book sales, has created a whole “room” dedicated to weird books. From How to Survive a Robot Uprising to Twinkie, Deconstructed, The Thermodynamics of Pizza or 101 More Uses for a Dead Cat (implying there was a previous book of 101 uses for a dead cat…), the browsing in itself is quite an experience. It’s kind of like the Ig Nobel prizes for literature.

They’re promoting the selection just before Christmas, as a “what do you get for the person who has everything” catalog. One thing is for sure: the person in question had better have a sense of humor.

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