A cult classic is usually ignored by the general public, but ecstatically raved about by a small group. These books were either ignored until years after publication, critically bashed when they were released, yet beloved by fans, or just books that a small group loved despite most people never appreciating it. These fans are often incredibly dedicated to the work, bringing up the novel or collection any chance they can. Here are 10 of the best cult classics with the most enthusiastic fanbases.
1. Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
Jesus’ Son is made up of interconnected events in the life of our unnamed junkie protagonist. Everything about the short-story collection is strange yet beautiful; you’ll never forget the time you read about a drug-addict pulling a knife out of somebody’s head then not remembering him the next day.
2. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This postmodern horror story is split up into footnotes, multiple narrators, and filled with references to fictional books and movies. Due to the strange form, people obsess over Danielewski’s novel and hail it as one of the most ambitious books ever written.
3. Stoner by John Edward Williams
A cult-classic that became a classic-classic, but is still often forgotten. Stoner‘s cold style and characters have relegated it to only book clubs or higher literary circles. Its meditations on themes that everybody has to deal with like work, purpose, death, love and passion, however, has caused fans to see it as an extremely moving piece of literature.
4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The opposite of Stoner‘s plain style has to be Hunter Thompson’s writing. The Doctor of Gonzo Journalism’s biggest hit depicts his drug-fueled trip to Las Vegas. Despite the fun that comes with reading Thompson’s experience, he deals with the serious topics of the failed 60s revolution and using drugs to escape human problems.
5. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
Fans are avid supporters of the novel because it’s one of those books that will change your life, and guide you on a spiritual journey of self-discovery.
6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath’s only novel is a story of a girl suffering depression during what is supposed to be the happiest time of her life. Beauty is mixed with pain as Plath’s poetic voice is so strong yet our protagonist’s ordeals have a deep effect on the reader. This is not a teenage melodrama but a tour de force that you won’t soon forget.
7. Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
Coming-of-age stories often stay with you (if you identify with the protaganist) as you go through the same struggles. Bukowski’s autobiographical novel Ham on Rye is a necessary piece of literature for those who grew up embracing American counterculture.
8. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
First rule of reading Fight Club is to not stop talking about how much you love Fight Club.
9. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac’s bohemian adventure radiates with the joy of youth and exploration. It’s easy to see why so many people love this book, because who wouldn’t love a group of fun writers just enjoying themselves through Americana.
10. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
In the original Hunger Games, a group of junior high schoolers are forced by the Republic of Great East Asia to fight until death. The authoritarian government forces them to fight in the name of military research, with each battle being displayed on TV. Battle Royale was originally bashed for exploiting violence but took the country by surprise when it became a bestseller.
What’s your favorite Cult classic?
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