I have a soft spot for bizarro stories. You know what I mean, the weird, but captivating, tale that you never fully understand but like nonetheless. Here are a few of our recommendations for the next time you want to embrace the weird.
Coaltown Jesus by Ron Koertge (Candlewick, Oct. 8, 2013)
“‘Oh dear,’ said Jesus.
Walker was able to ask ‘What?’ They’d stopped in front of a Balk’s Hardware. A sign in the window said,
ALL KINDS OF NAILS
Jesus stared at his hands. ‘I mean nails are a miracle and God is in them, but they still give me the shivers.’”
Ron Koertge specializes in strange stories and he's an author whose books reliably work for me. Koertge's known for his verse novels, but this is more of a fractured prose (my term) style that works for this odd little story of a boy who seeks, and receives, divine intervention in coping with his brother's death. This is an irreverent little story with one of the more unusual doses of magical realism I've read. It's a short book at 128 pages, so if you're looking for something completely outside your normal wheelhouse that'll make you laugh, check out Coaltown Jesus.
I also recommended Koertge's Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses, a collection of fairytales retold in poetry, if you're looking for more Koertge weirdness.