10 Great Books About Outsiders

Going off of my presentation about monster figures in fiction, I recently wrote a post on 10 great movies with outsiders in them.

There are also some great books that consider outsider perspectives and all the associate themes.

Here are 10 such books:

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

While most people comment on the themes about racism,  the book also carries a subplot about a broken man who builds a connection with two young children.

2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

One of the great things about Lord of the Rings is how it focuses on the “little people of the world.” There are big heroic warriors like in other fantasy tales, but also characters that would normally be side characters or just comic relief made into something more important. You especially see this with how the different hobbits relate to Gollum, an outsider character if there ever was one.

3. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Adapted twice (including once as the excellent but little-known film Manhunter), this novel gives a tragic look at two men who are both unusual in their own ways.

4. The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo

A lesser-known novel by the same author who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this book also became the basis for a classic monster movie that inspired the look for the Joker. The story follows a disfigured man who must make his living as essentially a circus freak, giving a great look at the question who gets to define monstrosity.

5. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Probably one of the funniest Christmas books you’ll ever read, this book examines what happens when a family of dysfunctional children join a church’s annual Christmas Pageant and get the lead roles.

6. Hellboy, Volume 5: Conqueror Worm by Mike Mignola

I noted a while back that the first Hellboy movie carried some surprising spiritual themes. This particular volume of the comic book series includes many themes the movie used, including questions about acceptance and what it truly means to be a person.

7. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

A well-known satirist, Pratchett frequently channeled his moral outrage at the world into fantasy stories that sought a higher morality. This book follows several people connected to a school for wizards and its attempts to start a sports team, but one of those people has a background that causes others to hate him. As time goes on, he struggles against bias to show what he’s truly capable of.

8. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

This tale about a child raised by jungle animals gives a tragic and compelling look at what it means to know you’re different from the people who love you the most.

9. I Am Legend by Richard Mattheson

This story’s been filmed three times (the first time in 1964) in three different styles. Each one in its own way talks about the basic problem of the isolation that comes with believing you’re the last of your kind and what happens if you have to question that solution.

10. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton

Children’s fiction and horror fiction tend to be the genres that fit outsider stories best, and Tim Burton’s work often fits somewhere between both of them. This collection of poems and illustrations especially mixes them together with its oddly whimsical tales about bizarre children with unusual powers. Think super-powered kids, but imagined by the Brothers Grimm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s