Pineapples and toilets: Weird books from my shelf

Confession. I own some books that are just a bit eccentric. Unlike the respectable volumes of classic fiction, reference guides, poetry and popular science which gaze serenely from my bookcase, these misfits flaunt their weirdness and take pride in not matching the rest of my collection. Here are a few of them…

The Pineapple. This non-fiction work by Fran Beauman is exactly what it says on the tin (…of pineapple). It’s about pineapples. I don’t even like pineapples that much, but I think fruit generally is ace. This book is about the nature, cultivation, culture and social history of pineapples. I probably bought it in the discount section of Waterstones.

Flushed with Pride. Modern sanitation is a wonderful thing. This thin yet interesting book is about the famous plumber Thomas Crapper and the business he founded. I think the history of toilets and sewerage is fascinating. First published in 1969, author Wallace Reyburn is similarly enthusiastic about the topic, although he does start talking about cricket at one point.

Walt Disney slownik angielsko-polski. This colourful dictionary doesn’t really help you to learn Polish, or indeed (American) English. However, I’ve always enjoyed the illustrations, some of which are quite funny. I was given it as a present many years ago. Like a lot of books in the 1980s it was printed in West Germany, before China became the main printer.

The Cucumber King. In an Oxfam shop about ten years ago, I found this children’s story from the 1970s by German author Christine Nöstlinger. I admit that I actually bought this book because of the awful cover, which shows a creepy model of the eponymous King. He’s not scary-looking at all in the interior illustrations. I like the story too.

I-Spy Minerals Rocks & Fossils. I was contemplating a career as a palaeontologist at one point, a long time ago, because I liked collecting fossils. I found it amazing that creatures and plants could turn into stone over the millennia. The concept of the I-Spy series was that you get points for spotting various things for real, but sometimes I would exaggerate and tick off something I hadn’t seen. I hoped the Michelin Man (the series mascot) didn’t know about that.

SMTV Live. If you watched children’s TV in the UK between 1998 – 2003, you’ll probably be familiar with this programme. When I watched it, Ant & Dec and Cat Deeley were the presenters. Parodies, jokes and games (Wonky Donkey, Splatoon, Challenge Ant) would be followed by a music show, CD:UK. Whenever I pull this book off the shelf, thinking it’s finally time to get rid of it, I start reading it and laughing. It’s full of hilarious interviews, fake adverts, viewers’ letters and slightly rude stories.

Are there any odd books on your shelf? Maybe they don’t ‘fit in’ with your collection but you like them because they’re different?

27 thoughts on “Pineapples and toilets: Weird books from my shelf”

  1. Love these ‘Oddballs’ on your shelf! Makes your shelf interesting! I especially like the pineapple and Walt Disney one! ?

    1. Thanks Jee! 🙂
      I’m not sure why I still have these books… then I have another look at them and realise I still like them!

  2. I love your weird books and yes I have a few oddballs of my own. Someone bought my a copy of Winnie the Pooh in Latin which I love (despite not being able to read it) and my copy of Cambridge New Statistical Tables which I needed for my degree but can’t bear to part with. I also have lots of vintage books including a set of 1940’s encyclopaedias with beautiful illustrations that I really should do a blog post about ?

    1. Thanks for your comment!
      I’ve seen the Latin version of Winnie the Pooh and also Harry (or should I say Harrius) Potter. It’s a nice idea for a gift. Please do blog about your vintage books, would be interested to see.

  3. I loved SMTV. I used to howl at Cat the Dog sketch and Wonky Donkey and I was an actual adult ??. I love the idea of I spy rocks and minerals (im a teacher ) but I think the weirdest is Cucumber King

    1. SMTV was excellent. I still remember the songs. Cucumber King – the story is weird, the cover is very weird and a bit scary. I must read it again sometime and review it… just for a chance to see that cover again 😉
      Thanks for your comment!

  4. I’m ashamed to say I don’t have any weird little gems in my book collection. This is hilarious though! ? Great post!

    1. Thanks for your comment!!
      I’m sure there are weirder books out there, I wouldn’t collect anything just because it’s weird… I do have varied taste though 😉

  5. This is such a great idea!! I like your weird books! My weirdest books are probably both “Very British Problems” books. I live in the US, but I totally related to the show when I watched it and thought it was hilarious to boot.

    1. Oh yes, Very British Problems… I very much relate to that!!
      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  6. I can’t compete with these but I have a little book called Love Management, written by W. Vajiramedhi, who offers such useful advice to brides such as not to go to bed prior to their in-laws and husband.

    1. That’s quite an eccentric book to have on your shelf! Thanks for your comment and also your comment on Twitter 🙂

  7. These books are so fun! The Cucumber King and the one about the history of toilets look interesting.

    1. Thanks! I’m not the only person interested in toilets then. I do have another book about them called Temples of Convenience, which is about the design and architecture of bathrooms.

  8. These are some very unique books! I have one called, “Why Do Men Have Nipples?” so I can relate to this! Those kinds of books are some of the funnest to come across.

      1. In the womb we all start out following the same makeup; it isn’t until after nipples have already grown that the Y chromosome starts to make changes! It’s actually pretty interesting ☺️

  9. hehe this was such a fun post! That’s hilarious that you have a book called flushed with pride- especially since it’s literally about a plumber. Cucumber king sounds funny as well!

    1. Thanks! 🙂
      I think the evolution of toilets is interesting and actually an important part of history.

  10. Oh my god, the cucumber king ahahahhahahahaha. What a collection. While at first I was hoping this was going to be a post about New Weird fiction, I was just as happy to read about the strange numbers it really was about. Most excellent. Gave me more than a few chuckles today so thanks for that.

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