Unique Reading Experiences

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There are those rare occasions when I finish a book and think “Wow that was unique experience.” I thought I would share with you some of the books that I found utterly original in format and/or the way that they are told. These books were more than just great books, they created a memorable experience for me. I love when authors do something different.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl


Night Film is a thriller/horror novel that is told through a series of pictures, webpages, case notes, etc. It made if feel like I was investigating a real life situation. This could have easily been gimmicky but I thought it was genius. This is one of the creepiewrd most chilling books that I have ever read. It is one of the only books to give me nightmares.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel


I often credit Sleeping Giants for being the book that made me fall in love with SciFi. This is another book that is told through mixed-media including interviews and journal logs. It also has an unnamed narrator who was so intriguing and one of the most mysterious and memorable characters I have read.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Yet again, Illuminae is told through mixed-media which truly added to the story. This book is full of action and was just plain fun to read. There was a moment at the end that made my jaw drop and I have never had such conflicting feelings about a character as I do about AIDAN who is actually an AI.

You by Caroline Kepnes


There has never been a book that has gotten under my skin as much as You. It is told in the second person and you feel like you are inside the head of the main character, who is completely twisted. I highly recommend the audiobook for this one. This is a book that I won’t soon forget.

The Victorian and the Romantic by Nell Stevens


There was something about this memoir that felt special to me. It is told in alternating chapters with one chapter following the story of Nell Stevens, the author, and the other chapter following the life of Elizabeth Gaskell, who wrote the book North and South. It was interesting to see how these two women’s lives paralleled one another even though they lived 200 years apart.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo


I listened to The Poet X on audiobook, and I would recommend doing the same. It is told in verse and is about a teen girl who discovers her love of poetry. Stories told in verse can be hit and miss for me, but The Poet X nailed it.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


Long Way Down is a short but powerful book. The entire thing takes place during an elevator ride and I found it to be very moving. What Jason Reynolds was able to accomplish in to such a short book is incredible.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer


Annihilation is hands down the weirdest and wildest book I have ever read. There are so many WTF moments! Weird fiction is a genre that I am just getting in to and it appears as though Jeff Vandermeer is a master at it. Just thinking about this book right now has me scratching my head.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan


The narrator of Nutshell is an unborn child who is listening to its mother plotting to murder its father. I thought it was a completely original perspective and I am always blown away by Ian McEwan’s creativity.


I would love to know which book gave you a unique reading experience. I am always on the hunt for books that do something original and creative!


42 thoughts on “Unique Reading Experiences

  1. The Illuminae was my first experience with mixed media, and I thought it was brilliant! I really want to read The Poet X soon. Great post!

  2. Nice list! I also listened to Poet X over the summer and enjoyed it. Something about hearing the story in verse read aloud really took the reading experience to the next level.

  3. Might not be your genre but…. Daisy Jones and The Six coming out next year is about a fictional 70s rock band. The story is told completely through letters, interviews and magazine articles from multiple points of view. So good and so unique!

      1. Phew!!! I know. I own all three books but still haven’t read more than the first few pages. A few people recommended listening to the audio while reading.

  4. I’ve heard great things about Sleeping Giants, and while I’m not usually the biggest fan of mixed media books that one is really tempting, maybe it’s because it reminds me a little of a video game I love. I want to read Annihilation since I watched the movie, it was so beautiful and terrifying at the same time, I can’t wait to see how the book approaches the mutations.

  5. YOU!! Kepnes’s books is one of my favs and yes, totally agree about the audio book. It’s one of the best audio books I’ve ever listened to because the narrator does such a great job capturing Joe’s voice. I think if I should ever hear that narrator tell another story I’d just think it’s Joe again.

  6. I haven’t read a lot of unique books (however, I did read YOU and Long Way Down). I’ve been trying to branch out my reading and I would like to read a book that has journal and newspaper entries so this post helps me a lot where to start!

  7. i completely agree on You! it’s such a polarizing book, and i get why – but the creepiness of the protagonist and how far you get in his head completely made the book for me. i loved it for the unique experience. love this list!

  8. The only one on this list that I’ve read is Annihilation, and I totally agree that it was SO WEIRD! But a lot of these are on my tbr and I’m looking forward to the unique experience of reading them!

  9. My unique reading experience was Roots by Alex Haley.
    I was about fifteen years old and was very deeply moved by the harrowing tale of an African kidnapped from his village and sold into slavery.

    I just nominated you for the Leinster Award.
    I look forward to reading your answers to the questions and some thoughts about yourself.

  10. You looks like it’ll be a really thrilling read! Poet X is a must read for me, the premise looks fresh and original and poetry? Yeah, I’m on board.

    I don’t know about unique reading experiences, but I loved Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? where she created a series of emails that was so rom-com and yet so gripping? Loved it, Mindy is an amazing storyteller.

  11. I have to wholeheartedly agree about You. It floored me how, at times, I was rooting for Joe, which was insane😬 And it is definitely served up best on audio. The narrator nails Joe.

    Now I’ve got to read Long Way Down. I’m intrigued.

    Excellent post!

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