18 comments on “Is Being Unique a Good Thing?

  1. I didn’t participate either because I really couldn’t come up with anything — and you’re so right, unique is NOT always a good thing. I don’t want a book to be a rip-off of another story, but with the number of books in publication, how can a book but truly one of a kind? I just kept feeling like I just wasn’t personally aware of other books that might be similar to the ones I’ve read.

    • That was part of it too. But even just picking out the books that felt unique to me, most of them (not all, but most) were ones I didn’t care for. I guess I just prefer the familiar.

  2. Great list! I also don’t do memes because it’s the same thing with books – I like to be a little more unique. I’m actually trying to change my post format a little to be slightly more unique, too. I’m still in the process of it, but I’m working on it!

    I think unique books are amazing if done well. Books like Room by Emma Donoghue and The Book Thief have unique narrators. The Flame Alphabet and The Word Exchange both have super unique plotlines that are really gripping. Unique is great!

    • Seems like everyone’s been talking about The Word Exchange this week! That’s definitely one I’ll be looking for.

  3. I’m also reading Life After Life and struggling with it. The premise is great, but I’m having troubling connecting with it, probably due to the format (audio). I bought the paperback, so we’ll see if that helps. I actually usually really like unique reads — I think I’m likely to give more stars to unique reads, so they skew toward the higher end of my reads. A book may have really been 4 star-ish, but I’ll get swept up in the uniqueness and give five stars in a fit of post-reading joy. Months later I’ll wish I’d calmed down a bit!

    • I finally finished it today… not a fan. The hype didn’t help, of course, but I just got to the end and thought, “That’s it?” Just not my kind of book, I guess. Hopefully it’s better for you in print than in audio. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Very interesting post! I don’t participate in many memes, but this one did catch my eye. I couldn’t come up with ten titles that I thought were unique either, but maybe we’re both taking this too literally? You’re right that most books seem to recycle certain popular trends or are just retellings of older stories.

    • It was just weird, because when I saw the topic, I thought, “That’ll be a fun one!” And then it came time to put the post together and I just couldn’t do it.

  5. I suppose if I had done this meme, I would have conceptualized it as: not books that are entirely unique (cause there’s nothing new under the sun etc), but books that put together a bunch of elements in a way that feels new and surprising.

    • Yeah, even when I broadened my definition, it was still hard to come up with titles that fit. I guess I just like stories that feel familiar.

  6. I think I don’t like to participate in the popular memes because it is hard to come up with picks and meaningful answers to the prompts sometimes and often I’m not very inspired by it. I do like reading other people’s picks though because they can be interesting. I thought Angela from Angela’s Anxious Life had some great picks that fit “unique” really well. And of course I can’t really think of any myself – I’m just not good at these lists!

    I agree with you that a story that is unique for uniqueness sake is not going to get you far. You need to be able to back up your idea with great execution and really solid ideas. But a book with a unique idea is very attention-grabbing! So it could be made to work for the author in that way.

    • Yeah, sometimes the memes inspire me and sometimes they don’t. I definitely don’t like doing them just for the sake of it, only if I want to share something or think it will spark a discussion. This week I had more discussion in me than list ideas, apparently. And you’re right, a unique idea can get people to pick up the book in the first place when they might pass something else by.

  7. As I mentioned on your more recent post, I thought “Life After Life” was far too grim and tedious for my liking. However, I was impressed by the way Atkinson structured the plot, even though I didn’t think it was particularly “unique.” It reminded me too much of “Groundhog Day,” and I’ve come across far too many killing Hitler alternate reality scenarios to be impressed by yet another one.

    • I suppose it was similar to Groundhog Day, but on a bigger scale. I’ve read books where the character is reincarnated into multiple lives, but never one where they relive their own life. Although I just recently heard of a new one called The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which looks similar, but the story itself seems more interesting to me. So I’m curious to check that one out.

  8. I think you make a great point! About the most I can usually say about an unusual is that it’s a unique take on a subject, but almost every book reminds me of another book in some way.

    • True, and I think the best books will be a good mix. After all, if there’s nothing at all familiar about it, we probably wouldn’t even know how to process it.

Comments are closed.