Here is a crazy selection of literature oddities that you probably have never heard of or ever want to read, showing you that throughout history people have always been a little bit confused and utterly bizarre.

1. Codex Seraphinianus

An illustrated encyclopaedia of an imaginary world, created by the Italian artist, architect and industrial designer Luigi Serafini during 30 months, from 1976 to 1978. The book relates to absolutely nothing ever seen. But, that’s not all. The book is approximately 360 pages long and handwritten in an imaginary language. Scholars have spent years trying to decipher the book, but the only thing they’ve figured out is that ‘Seraphinianus’ is just a variation of Serafini’s name.

2. Do-It-Yourself Coffins: For Pets & People

A more modern work, this guide illustrates the manufacture of ‘special boxes’ for pets and for people. Ever wanted to create beautiful coffins with the help of a guide filled with colour photographs for every step? Then this guide is for you! Detailed patterns are provided and different box construction techniques are revealed. One box design even doubles as a beautiful blanket or coffee table.

3. The Rohonc Codex

This book surfaced in Hungary in the early nineteenth-century. It is an illustrated manuscript book by an unknown author, written in an unknown language and writing system. The Codex has nearly 200 separated symbols, nearly ten times higher than any known alphabet and here is the thing: no one can quite agree on a translation. In fact, most people agree that this was probably written as a hoax.

4. How to Sharpen Pencils

Written by David Rees, this is a hilarious guide to the lost art of artisanal pencil sharpening. Some of the comments include, ‘you may think that sharpening a pencil is easy, but David Rees makes it look hard and that makes all the difference’. Deep in New York & Hudson River Valley, craftsman David Rees – the world’s number one sharpener – still practices the age-old art of manual pencil sharpening. Do you know how to achieve the prefect point for the kind of work you need out of that pencil?

5. Dancing Lessons For the Advanced in Age

This 1964 novel was written by the Czechoslovak writer, Bohumil Hrabal. Not only is it a story about an old man who talks about his life to six sunbathing women, the entire book is only one sentence long. This sentence covers the span of 128 pages. Hrabal is considered as one of the greatest Czech authors in history.

6. How to be Pope: What to Do and Where to Go Once You’re in the Vatican

This handbook contains information on all the earthly and unearthly concerns that a pontiff must deal with, from knowing what to wear under your robes to how to properly divide 40,000 communion wafers. You definitely don’t want to run the Holy See without first consulting this indispensable manual.

7. The Book of Soyga

On March the 10th, 1552, John Dee a mathematician supposedly had a conversation with an angel. Dee had already amassed the largest library in London, but it was this book that he devoted his attention to. The book was over 40,000 letters long but they were arranged in such a fashion that they did not make any sense. Dee finally realised that Soyga was a list of mathematical incantations. The last 36 pages are a table of Latin letters forming a code. When Dee realised that he couldn’t crack the code he used a spiritual medium to contact the Archangel Uriel. Uriel replied that this book had been given to Adam in the Garden of Eden and only the Archangel Michael knew how to crack the code. Dee never managed to find Michael. The code is still unsolved.

8. Summer with the Leprechauns: A True Story

This enlightening story describes the author’s summer spent in Ireland where she was befriended by a Leprechaun. His urgent message for humanity: ‘humans are harming our own environment and theirs’. The author describes how humans can interact with elemental beings and her own personal relationship with the ‘Leprechaun’.

9. Raising Witches

This is the only books that gives parents the means to teach their children Wicca. Written by Ashleen O’Gaea, interestingly this book features a Wiccan curriculum for each of the five age groups from infancy to young adulthood. ‘O’Gaea shows parents how to effectively weave Wicca into a child’s natural progression of learning’. The first choice guide to ‘raising witches’.

10. Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop: And Other Practical Advice in Our Campaign Against the Fairy Kingdom

In Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop readers will be enlightened with why a bustle in one’s hedgerow may be cause for alarm, why a garden fumigator may come in handy on evenings at the pub and why a toy merchant, a butcher, and Freemason are among your best allies in the fight against the ‘fey’. Obviously, this is a book that you simply cannot live without.


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