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Put Your Weird Hat on for Mad Hatter Day

By Terry Fleming • October 05, 2020

There are some days when you just can't make your mark. You slog through them, bombarded by the blahs, feeling grey and gossamer as a torn ghost, but nothing seems to break your way. Even when you tone down your approach to the most lucid language possible, people look at you as if you were speaking in glottal gurgles and grunts. You end the day with a crick in your neck from shaking your head.

Fortunately for you, there is a holiday set aside to counteract these days of incessant doldrums! It's called Mad Hatter Day, and in the pantheon of days it's the one the other days speak about in hushed tones (like the way your relatives whisper about that one uncle who collects the carcasses of large spiders and places them in dioramas with Barbie dolls). It lands on October 6th of every year because, in the original illustrated version of Alice in Wonderland, cartoonist Sir John Tenniel put "10/6" on the Mad Hatter's hat (for the cost of it —10 shillings and six pence). On this day, it is acceptable to be weird and wacky. Let the goofiest part of yourself out the cellar of your mind to flap its arms and finger its lips while going blubblubblub. In other words, it's a day for odd fun.

In the spirit of that, we at ThriftBooks have decided to recommend eight bizarro titles to help you get your Weird Hat on!

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Official 150th Anniversary Edition Unabridged Graphic Novel by Lewis Carroll

Well, it is called Mad Hatter Day, after all, so we have to pay homage to Lewis Carroll in some fashion. This graphic novel version of Alice's adventures honors Tenniel's original depictions of Carroll's classic characters.

Diary of a Genius by Salvador Dali

Ever wonder what it's like to smear yourself in honey and lie in the summer sun so that you might be covered in flies? Look no further than the master of Surrealism's secret diary! In it, Dali describes his own importance to the universe, why his Paranoid Critical Method is whiz-bang, and how you too can aspire to be an irrational (read: inspired) person who lives in a constant state of crazed delirium.

Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin IV by Erik Davis

What happens when the writer of a book called High Weirdness pens a tome about the weirdest album of a legendary, but nonetheless super-weird classic rock band? Why, this book! In other words: Pure. Spun. Weird. Gold.

Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick

The book High Weirdness mentioned above is primarily about one novelist known for the highest of High Concept weirdness, none other than Philip K. Dick. Yes, you've doubtless heard about his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the book the film Blade Runner was based on) or We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (the short story the film Total Recall was based on), and certainly you've heard about the Amazon Prime series based on his novel The Man in the High Castle, but for my money Clans of the Alphane Moon is his most brilliantly bizarre tale. Talk about inmates taking over the asylum! Oh, trust me...

Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America by John Waters

When filmmaker John Waters (Hairspray, Cry-Baby, aka the "Prince of Puke") hitchhiked across America during his crazy days of youth, he did it to save expenses. But when a publisher dared him to do it in his sixties, he thought: that's completely insane, I must! And the result is this book. Traveling from Baltimore to San Francisco, Waters is picked up by an array of weirdoes, goofballs, and the occasional bonafide menace to society, and he documents it all for your entertainment.

Glamour, Glitz, & Gossip at Historic Magnolia House: From the Silver Screens of Hollywood to the Lights of Broadway, Celebrity Secrets Exposed Within the Walls of This Old House by Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince

If John Waters is the Prince of Puke then Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince are the Dukes of Detritus in his court. Nowhere near as high-minded as Waters, but easily as dirty and twice as vulgar, the two incorrigible gossip mongers cover all the tawdry tales said to have occurred among the eccentric artists who populated Staten Island's Magnolia House. But really, if you want to taste tabloid sleaze on a defiantly absurd level, any of the celebrity biographies by Darwin Porter will do. He is weird, and grimy to boot!

The Art of Whipped Cream by Mark Ryden

What happens when a modern master of Pop Surrealism collaborates with the American Ballet Company's Artist in Residence on a new version of an obscure ballet by Richard Strauss and Heinrich Kröller? Epic lunacy (or as the New York Times called it, a "sweetly disturbing confection")! Check out this beautiful picture book of the production!

The J.G. Ballard Book by J.G. Ballard

A great introduction to magnificent authorial weirdo J.G. Ballard, the writer of such crazed classics as Crash, Concrete Island, High-Rise, Super-Cannes, and much more! Featuring many rare interviews.

Read more by Terry Fleming

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