Share 12 Innovative Books to Get You Out of Your Reading Rut

12 Innovative Books to Get You Out of Your Reading Rut

Erica Nelson works in marketing at Hachette Book Group.

Every once in a while, I need a shake-up in my reading list—something that’s exciting and energizing, and simply unlike anything I’ve read before. That’s when I turn to storytellers who are challenging the way we all read. They’re tossing out the conventional rulebook and writing in a truly original, innovative, and artistic way. Here are some of my favorite unconventional storytellers.


A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan
This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel shifts back and forth in time and from various points of view, brilliantly revealing the pasts of two music industry veterans. With musical energy pulsing on every page, A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD is an exhilarating piece of art about self-destruction and redemption.
A Visit from the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals the pasts of two music industry veterans in this Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. With music pulsing on every page, this masterpiece is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

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Horrorstör
by Grady Hendrix

HORRORSTÖR is a contemporary haunted-house story set in an Ikea-like furniture superstore and told in the format of a glossy mail-order catalog—complete with product illustrations and a map of the labyrinthine showroom.

Horrorstör
Grady Hendrix

HORRORSTÖR is a contemporary haunted-house story set in an Ikea-like furniture superstore and told in the format of a glossy mail-order catalog—complete with product illustrations and a map of the labyrinthine showroom.

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Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You
by Todd Hasak-Lowy

Darren hasn’t had an easy year for the following reasons: 1. His parents divorced. 2. His older brother left for college. 3. His best friend moved away. 4. He doesn’t exactly have a girlfriend. This is the heartfelt, humorous story of one modern-day teen’s coming-of-age—and it’s told entirely in lists.

Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You
Todd Hasak-Lowy

Darren hasn’t had an easy year for the following reasons: 1. His parents divorced. 2. His older brother left for college. 3. His best friend moved away. 4. He doesn’t exactly have a girlfriend. This is the heartfelt, humorous story of one modern-day teen’s coming-of-age—and it’s told entirely in lists.

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Illuminae
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The year is 2575 and two rival mega-corporations are at war amidst an outbreak of the plague. When one woman hacks into a fascinating collection of secret documents—including emails, maps, files, medical reports, interviews, and more—the truth about what’s happening on their planet is revealed.

Illuminae
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The year is 2575 and two rival mega-corporations are at war amidst an outbreak of the plague. When one woman hacks into a fascinating collection of secret documents—including emails, maps, files, medical reports, interviews, and more—the truth about what’s happening on their planet is revealed.

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Sphinx
by Anne Garréta

Anne Garreta is a member of Oulipo, an exclusive French experimental literary group that creates literature based on mathematical and linguistic restraint. SPHINX is her beautiful and complex love story between lovers “I” and “A***,” and it’s written without any gender markers to refer to them.

Sphinx
Anne Garréta

Anne Garreta is a member of Oulipo, an exclusive French experimental literary group that creates literature based on mathematical and linguistic restraint. SPHINX is her beautiful and complex love story between lovers “I” and “A***,” and it’s written without any gender markers to refer to them.

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The Divorce Papers
by Susan Rieger
This voyeuristic story of a divorce is told entirely through personal correspondence, office memos, emails, articles, handwritten notes, and legal documents. With heartache and exceptional comedic timing, it explores the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails.
The Divorce Papers
Susan Rieger

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie is toiling away as a criminal law associate when she’s charged with handling the intake interview for Mia Durkheim, who, after eighteen years of marriage, has been served divorce papers. Told entirely through emails, internal memos, and legal documents, THE DIVORCE PAPERS is a hilarious and heartbreaking novel.

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Ceremony
by Leslie Marmon Silko

A profound and moving work of Native American literature about a deeply scarred World War II veteran and prisoner of the Japanese who is rejected by his community because of his mixed heritage. With the help of an enigmatic medicine man, Tayo immerses himself in Pueblo myth, song, and history to overcome his pain and suffering and regain the peace that was taken from him.

Ceremony
Leslie Marmon Silko

A profound and moving work of Native American literature about a deeply scarred World War II veteran and prisoner of the Japanese who is rejected by his community because of his mixed heritage. With the help of an enigmatic medicine man, Tayo immerses himself in Pueblo myth, song, and history to overcome his pain and suffering and regain the peace that was taken from him.

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The Versions of Us
by Laura Barnett

THE VERSIONS OF US explores the possibilities of a relationship—beginning with the way a couple met and departing into several parallel narratives of what could potentially come of their relationship. Laura Barnett expertly depicts how even the smallest choices we make can define the course of our lives.

The Versions of Us
Laura Barnett

THE VERSIONS OF US explores the possibilities of a relationship—beginning with the way a couple met and departing into several parallel narratives of what could potentially come of their relationship. Laura Barnett expertly depicts how even the smallest choices we make can define the course of our lives.

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Bluets
by Maggie Nelson

Part memoir, part philosophical exploration, BLUETS is composed of a series of small, numbered writings that look back on an ended relationship and its emotional aftermath. An investigation into the symbolism of the color blue is used as a lens through which to understand love.

Bluets
Maggie Nelson

Part memoir, part philosophical exploration, BLUETS is composed of a series of small, numbered writings that look back on an ended relationship and its emotional aftermath. An investigation into the symbolism of the color blue is used as a lens through which to understand love.

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Dept. of Speculation
by Jenny Offill
DEPT. OF SPECULATION follows a nameless couple with a journal-like, meditative account of their love and marriage. Over time, their relationship has become complicated by the strains of monotony, parenthood, and infidelity, and this story recounts the steps that have led them to a sudden breaking point.
Dept. of Speculation
Jenny Offill

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S.
by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
Take a peek inside this book and it won’t take long to realize that it looks different from anything you’ve read before. JJ Abrams, director of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” dreamt up this multilayered story about a novel, its author, and two readers who have scribbled notes in the margins.
S.
J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Conceived as an idea by director J. J. Abrams, S. is a collaborative, interactive novel unlike any other. A book within a book, S. contains a standalone novel by an elusive author and the storyline—written in the annotations of this unique work of fiction—of two students who struggle to discover the real identity of the author.

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Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson
This wildly creative tale about second chances and alternate histories follows the many lives of one woman who lives her life over and over, instantly returning to where her former life left off each time she dies.
Life After Life
Kate Atkinson

During a snowstorm in 1910, a baby is born. She dies before she can draw her first breath. During a snowstorm in 1910, the same baby is born and lives. What if there were an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you be able to save the world from its own destiny? What power can one woman exert over the fate of civilization as she lives through the turbulent events of the twentieth century again and again?

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