Bizarro Reading Challenge

ParamournCoverI’m happy to announce that my recent fiction collection Paramourn: Unfortunate Romances has made the preliminary ballot for the Wonderland Book Award, alongside a ton of great bizarro books by other authors. The Wonderland Book Award was established to recognize achievement in the field of bizarro fiction. Votes can be cast to determine the final ballot at — just select your top three candidates in each category and email to the address listed. The award is then voted on by members of the bizarro community and presented at BizarroCon, held annually in Portland, Oregon.

Everywhere I go professionally, people ask me: what is bizarro? Who are the authors? What books do you recommend? It’s hard to know where to begin usually. Today, however, it’s easy to say that anyone curious about bizarro fiction ought to familiarize themselves with those titles populating the preliminary ballot. There are 60 books listed, enough to provide you with a year’s worth of bizarro. Why not take up the bizarro reading challenge?

“Wait John,” you’re surely saying, “this is the portion wherein you’re meant to hit me up to read and/or vote for Paramourn!”

On the contrary: you read my bog–and maybe my books–already, so why not branch out and really discover what’s going on in the world of bizarro? Oh, if you insist, you can read a free short story out of the collection directly on the Paramourn: Unfortunate Romances info page, but it’s far from being the entire book, or even being fully representative of the book. No, forget my work and save it for last. Get into some of the other work, much of which is by authors I admire.

“Wait now, John! I’m already doing a reading challenge. The diversity reading challenge!”

Sweet! A bunch of the books on the Wonderland Book Award preliminary ballot suit the needs of the diversity reading challenge, and they probably aren’t on your radar unless you’re already reading bizarro on a regular basis. Two authors whose work I always enjoy are Madeleine Swann and Violet LeVoit, and they could serve as a good start.

And now I’m off to familiarize myself with some of the other titles. If you have any favorites on the ballot please let me know in the comments section below. Thanks!