Bizarre Books

The rolling snowball of knowledge has gradually accumulated weight during society’s educational, industrial, and technological rise. The dark corners of the unexplored have been blasted with light; every nook, cranny, crevice, and dust mite dismembered, analyzed, and put back together with the haste of perpetual possibility. The ideas behind literature are no different: Every genre has been explored and exploited to its limit. The most ludicrous of topics have been best-sellers; movies have been written and produced detailing the most insignificant events in human history. Make no mistake, the absurd is not being equated to the dull; rather the opposite. Our entertainment surpasses the boundaries of reality once society begins scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas. Flirting with the edges to enter a zone of chaotic ingenuity, infinity is put on trial.

My constant pursuit of new information mixes an enticing cocktail. Liquid curiosity blends with the compelling notion that society’s best ideas spawn from desperation. With my first sip, I dive into the bizarre books of the world, greatly anticipating the envelopment of the unusual and the self-affirmation that comes from contrasting crazy.

Titles are the easy part. The Internet embraces weird, celebrating the absurd with vigor. My difficulty rests in purpose. A publication exists, but why? Books like “Yoga for Equestrians: A new path for achieving union with the horse,” and “Extreme Ironing,” garnered more confusion than satisfaction.

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It didn’t compute. I have taken various marketing courses here at USI and I know there’s an intense and thorough process that a product goes through before it is released to the public, a safety net of sorts to ensure no money will be wasted. The biggest aspect marketers look for is desire, is there a need for the product? Is there an audience that is willing to spend money on this product? The fact that these books exist means yes, there is a need and there is an audience, or at least there was.

This revelation frightened me. Is there a gang of yoga-fanatics out there contorting their body into shapes along the spine of a confused horse? Are there people who, instead of jumping off airplanes, climbing mountains, or running marathons, are instead getting their kicks from ironing atop bridges? Or, in the case of the David Rice Library’s very own “Knitting with Dog Hair,” are there those who gradually horde their pet’s hair, anticipating the moment when they have enough fibers to knit a sock?


The question remains, what are we to do with these books? Perhaps categorize the literature as nothing more than detailed crazy, an irrelevant anomaly that obtrusively pushed its way into society only to live a shelved life. Doing so would be a severe injustice, however. Their existence as a physical representation of a demographical fad that came and went, and now viewed as a comical artifact, is surely cause for a generational analysis. Compiling the literature of the unusual would represent a portrait of human interest: A history. The books are a portrayal of who we are today, a testament to the past crazy that has shaped the current crazy.

Above all, it is the imaginative and perseverant individual behind the literature that I am most appreciative of, the person who shows that the bottom of the barrel is not a limitation, but a starting point for a new story.


What was once an irritating suspicion is now a raging wind that propels the hand of death forward, latching onto the Screagle with a firm, relentless grip. I am talking about finals! Yes, the season we all dread, but simultaneously adore for its reward, approaches with a vengeance. The library is here to help you prepare (you know this), but we are also here to help soften the inevitable blow that comes around mid-finals week once the reality of the situation really sets in.

Below is advice from library staff and fellow Screagles, compiled for your benefit. Let the instruction seep into your soul, re-figure your brain, and command your spirit, so when the time comes for dread to knock on sanity’s door, you will not be perturbed.

You got this Finals Season, Screagles!!

Ashley Blinstrub

-“Take frequent ‘clear your head’ breaks.”

-“If you have to listen to music, choose classical music!”

Joanne Artz

– “Study hard, but in the hours leading up to the test, relax your brain with a movie or music!”

 Phil Orr

– “Remember this too shall pass.”

Alyssa Smith

-“Calm the crap down.”

Jack Wallace

-“Ask Professor McGonagall for a Time Turner.”

Katie Loehrlein

-“Allow yourself to take breaks.”

Kyla McRoberts

-‘Start studying early so finals aren’t the worst week of your life. For memory, I make up weird songs, rhymes, or acronyms to help me.”

Marna Hostetler

– “My advice – both for finals and for those times when life seems too much – is:  One day at a time.”

Peter Whiting

-“Make sure you get adequate sleep, eat well, get exercise and enjoy short breaks with friends!”

~Advice for after graduation~

-“Life is a banquet, so take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way!”

Emily Hansen

-“Just getting a FULL night’s sleep works wonders. I know everyone thinks that you need to stay up all night to study for finals to get a good grade, but I’ve realized in my three years here that if I studied wisely and got a decent night’s sleep, I always come out with a better grade than I did cramming last minute and staying up all night on coffee binges.”

Tanner Maurer

-“Study in groups, you know that you forgot something throughout the year.”

Jennifer Greene

– “Eat fruits and vegetable for instant energy and strength.”