39 books directly related to prostitution 📚

All 39 prostitution books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories

House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories

By Yasunari Kawabata,

Why this book?

Novellas are a perfect place to start for poets who are interested in writing longer, more narrative work. They’re slim, lyrical, and less daunting. I read this novella in college & haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It takes place in what I can only refer to as a “Sleeping Brothel” where elderly men pay to sleep beside young women. The story is haunting, but it doesn’t take cheap horror shots. Instead, it delves into the complexity of loneliness, the shared vulnerability of sleep, and the human need for comfort.

From the list:

The best books for poets who want to write fiction

Book cover of The Sexual Question: A History of Prostitution in Peru, 1850s-1950s

The Sexual Question: A History of Prostitution in Peru, 1850s-1950s

By Paulo Drinot,

Why this book?

In this first book in English about the history of sexual commerce in Peru during the state regulation of brothels, Drinot tells a multilayered story of the complex interactions among sex workers, clients, the police, the government, feminists, and physicians. With a remarkable diversity of archival sources, Drinot explores topics that are frequently disregarded in the history of prostitution like the meanings of masculinity and the interaction between race and venereal diseases that, in the case of Lima, resulted in the stigmatization of Chinese migrants and indigenous men as infectious agents.

From the list:

The best books on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America

Book cover of The Underworld Sewer: A Prostitute Reflects on Life in the Trade, 1871-1909

The Underworld Sewer: A Prostitute Reflects on Life in the Trade, 1871-1909

By Josie Washburn,

Why this book?

After not being able to find a publisher in the early 1900s, Josie Washburn self-published her memoir. In The Underworld Sewer, Josie not only describes her life as a prostitute and madam, but she also debunks the notion at the time that women became prostitutes to “satisfy their own unnatural lusts.” Josie wanted to educate the public about the true horrors and plight of the unfortunate women who had to resort to prostitution to survive and, ultimately, to motivate the public to effect change. Her memoir is as much a scathing commentary on society’s double standards as it is an…

From the list:

The best books about 19th century prostitutes

Book cover of Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery: Prostitutes in the American West, 1865-90

Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery: Prostitutes in the American West, 1865-90

By Anne M. Butler,

Why this book?

This is a scholarly work that provides an unvarnished look into the world of the frontier prostitute. This is an often-overlooked facet of frontier life and the constricted choices women had available to them, should they not pursue a more traditional life for one reason or another. Hint – the life of a prostitute and Miss Kitty of Gun Smoke fame diverge rapidly at this point.

From the list:

The best books on the dark side of the Wild West – prostitution, bad whiskey and drugs

Book cover of The Tale of Kieu: Truyen Kieu

The Tale of Kieu: Truyen Kieu

By Nguyen Du,

Why this book?

The Tale of Kieu is an early 19th Century epic poem and the cornerstone of Vietnamese literature. Adapted from a 17th Century Chinese novel, it is the story of a beautiful, well-to-do young woman forced into prostitution to save her family from destitution in a time of great government corruption and civil unrest. The poem is so revered in Vietnam that there is a popular branch of fortune-telling that uses it for predictions, and Kieu’s sacrifice is seen as mirroring the sacrifices Vietnamese have made in times of war and hardship, even across the centuries before the poem…

From the list:

The best books about prostitution and prostitutes

Book cover of Boule de Suif: Maupassant

Boule de Suif: Maupassant

By Guy de Maupassant,

Why this book?

Maupassant’s story takes its name from the chubby prostitute at its centre, nicknamed ‘Bowl of Fat’. At the time of Prussian occupation of France, a group of petty bourgeoisie, upper bourgeoisie, noble and religious people encourage her to offer herself to a Prussian officer in return for the freedom to travel through an occupied town to Le Havre. Through this short novel, Maupassant reveals the hypocrisy and moral poverty of those who sit in the layers of society above such outcasts as ‘Boule de suif’ and, by contrast, both the moral solidity and even innocence of the ‘fallen woman’…

From the list:

The best books about prostitution and prostitutes

Book cover of On the City Wall

On the City Wall

By Rudyard Kipling,

Why this book?

I’m cheating a little here, as technically Kipling’s On the City Wall is a long story rather than a book itself, though I notice it’s recently been published as a standalone, and can be found in both Kipling’s Collected Stories and the original collection it appeared in, Soldiers Three. The story concerns a beautiful Punjabi courtesan called Lalun who welcomes ‘guests’ from all strata of society to her house on the ancient city wall of Lahore. Unlike the commonly depicted ‘fallen woman’, Lalun is a woman of significant wealth, great influence, and, especially, power over men. The story is full…

From the list:

The best books about prostitution and prostitutes

Book cover of The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland

The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland

By Keely Stauter-Halsted,

Why this book?

Who would have thought that late-nineteenth-century Poles’ preoccupation with the problem of prostitution could reveal so much about the Polish mindset? Concerns over the sex industry arose during a period of rapid change when there was no Polish state. Poles voiced their concerns about their nation’s future—and their womenfolk. A historian at the height of her powers, Keely Stauter-Halsted skillfully shows how debates on prostitution and an obsession with the bodies of impoverished women reflected a variety of visions of a future Poland.
From the list:

The best books that capture the complexity of Poland and Polish history

Book cover of The Brothel of Pompeii: Sex, Class, and Gender at the Margins of Roman Society

The Brothel of Pompeii: Sex, Class, and Gender at the Margins of Roman Society

By Sarah Levin-Richardson,

Why this book?

Women in the ancient world is a topic that is typically met with some level of preconception and misinterpretation due to modern judgements creeping in, even more so when discussing sex workers or enslaved women. Levin-Richardson strips all that away, re-investigating the material from what is arguably the most famous brothel in the world by examining the evidence for what it is rather than where it was found. This shouldn’t be an innovative approach, but it is, and one Pompeian (and women’s) studies needs.

From the list:

The best books about Pompeii and what we know about this Roman city

Book cover of The Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai

The Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai

By Bangqing Han,

Why this book?

Starting out as a serial in an 1890s Shanghainese magazine, yet remaining unpublished until 2005 following the discovery of its English translation among the belongings of the late Eileen Chang, The Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai is an unparalleled historical classic set in the pleasure quarters of the Qing Dynasty. Unlike the hyper-erotic writings of Li Yu and Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng, the author, Bangqing Han, opted for a tempered realism unique for its period. Clocking in at 600 pages, and densely layered with multiple character arcs that are a bit difficult to keep track of, Sing-Song Girls may require more than…
From the list:

The best books about Chinese prostitution and vice

Book cover of Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China

Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China

By Tiantian Zheng,

Why this book?

Whilst studying in the U.S. in the early-2000s, Tiantian Zheng decided to return to her home city of Dalian, in northeast China, to embed herself for over two years with sex workers at local karaoke parlors. There, she witnessed, and at times personally endured, all manner of customer abuse, police crackdowns, government corruption, and catty relationships between hostesses, while somehow managing to keep copious secret notes for her ethnographic fieldwork (which eventually became Red Lights). It is an eye-opening but purely academic text, not a mass-market page-turner, which will primarily be of interest only to those of us researching…
From the list:

The best books about Chinese prostitution and vice

Book cover of Whispers and Moans: Interviews with the Men and Women of Hong Kong's Sex Industry

Whispers and Moans: Interviews with the Men and Women of Hong Kong's Sex Industry

By Yeeshan Yang,

Why this book?

The definitive sociological examination of prostitution in contemporary Hong Kong, Yeeshan Yang spent one year – out of plain curiosity – alongside the city’s sex workers, listening to their stories of how they arrived there, how they spend their days/nights, and what becomes of them when they leave the trade. These humanizing case studies provide separate yet occasionally intersecting profiles of female streetwalkers and club hostesses, as well as male prossies and pimps, and their sometimes sad, sometimes funny, tales of the world’s oldest profession in the Orient. Whispers and Moans was also adapted (by Yang) into a 2007 film…

From the list:

The best books about Chinese prostitution and vice

Book cover of All About Clamp Art Book And Manga

All About Clamp Art Book And Manga

By Clamp,

Why this book?

A team of four female artists who have redefined the shoujo genre, and created one of the most iconic anime and manga aesthetics to date has been one of my original influences as a young girl. Big eyes, watercolor art, glittery effects, cute and gorgeous characters as well as adorable mascots were the inspiration for the foundations of my art style today. 

From the list:

The best manga art books that have inspired me as an artist

Book cover of Madeleine

Madeleine

By Marcia Carlisle, Ben B. Lindsey,

Why this book?

In my quest to learn about the inner lives of 19th-century prostitutes, I found three memoirs, all gold mines. Demi-mondaines always used a stage name and that’s what the eponymous Madeleine chose. Even though she wasn’t a writer by trade, her story as a young “public woman” in the 1890s is riveting, and heartbreaking. When Madeleine’s autobiography was first published by Harper & Brothers in 1919, it caused a scandal and led to a lawsuit against the publisher. Harper eventually successfully defended itself but still ended up withdrawing the book from circulation. It wouldn’t be available to the public again…

From the list:

The best books about 19th century prostitutes

Book cover of Hell's Belles, Revised Edition: Prostitution, Vice, and Crime in Early Denver, With a Biography of Sam Howe, Frontier Lawman

Hell's Belles, Revised Edition: Prostitution, Vice, and Crime in Early Denver, With a Biography of Sam Howe, Frontier Lawman

By Clark Secrest,

Why this book?

This is a no-holds-barred account of prostitution in Denver’s Market Street district with all the accompanying Wild West behavior this implies. Secrest’s account is well researched, the photographs are fascinating, and it brings the seedy side of old Denver back to life! Be prepared for rather graphic descriptions of “the trade” replete with accounts of alcohol, drugs, and varying forms of violence and crime. A must-read for people interested in Denver’s History, the Wild West, or frontier prostitution.

From the list:

The best books on the dark side of the Wild West – prostitution, bad whiskey and drugs

Book cover of Slogum House

Slogum House

By Mari Sandoz,

Why this book?

Slogum House is a fairly brutal account of the dynamics between a gentle patriarch who married a shifty woman and the influence her brutality had on the family. Parts of this novel are disturbing and hard to read, but this is an interesting tale of a desperate and driven woman who will literally stop at nothing to get what she wants, and how that ruthlessness colors her family and children’s lives. The setting is the remote western sand-hills of Nebraska. Brilliant writing.

From the list:

The best books on the dark side of the Wild West – prostitution, bad whiskey and drugs

Book cover of Innocent Flowers: Women in the Edwardian Theatre

Innocent Flowers: Women in the Edwardian Theatre

By Julie Holledge,

Why this book?

This book taught me so much I didn’t know about the women working in theatre in Edwardian Britain, particularly behind the scenes. They were by and large the antidote to the (male) actor-managers who ruled the roost over the West End at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. They were responsible for introducing Ibsen in his original form to cautious London audiences, and for creating something called the Actress’ Franchise League, which I’d never heard of before. It’s a broadly-researched book and very easy to read. 

From the list:

The best books about theatre and actors in early 20th century English theatre

Book cover of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Why this book?

This is just simply a beautiful, powerful, unique -- poetic -- book about the lives of Black women at the beginning of the 20th century in New York and Philadelphia, women who crafted their own lives, in contexts heavy with coercions and degradations. Hartman is an extraordinary writer and a gorgeous thinker.

From the list:

The best books for understanding why we need reproductive justice

Book cover of Public City/Public Sex: Homosexuality, Prostitution, and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris

Public City/Public Sex: Homosexuality, Prostitution, and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris

By Andrew Israel Ross,

Why this book?

Public City/Public Sex offers a provocative foray into the dance halls, brothels, and even the public urinals of nineteenth-century Paris. By centering sexuality conceptually and geographically, Ross advances the novel argument that public sex constituted public culture in the capital city. Vividly illuminating how urban clandestine and public sexual encounters (between men and women, men and men, and to a lesser extent, women and women) necessitated a new form of civic management, Ross cleverly demonstrates the intricate, intimate ways in which sex was implicated in, and developed alongside, the modern city.

From the list:

The best books on sex and the city in modern France

Book cover of Northern Girls

Northern Girls

By Keyi Sheng,

Why this book?

A post-70s generation Chinese authoress who capitalized on the big international book deals cleared for her by the commercial success of Shanghai Baby and Beijing Doll, and who likewise has developed an unsavory reputation among Communist authorities, Sheng Keyi has published many heralded (and banned) books. But her crowning achievement is 2012’s Northern Girls, about young female migrant workers who leave the countryside for the big city but fall into the trappings of prostitution. Unlike the memoirs penned by her counterparts, this is an obviously fictional story that falls under the sub-genre of “magical realism”. I’d suggest reading…

From the list:

The best books about Chinese prostitution and vice

Book cover of Sarah

Sarah

By Laura Albert aka JT LeRoy,

Why this book?

Sarah by Laura Albert aka JT LeRoy captivated my attention right from the start. The story crackles with originality even years after its release. The writing is so vivid that it engulfs the reader in the story. The characters are three dimensional, and the tale being told in the first person and present tense makes you empathize more with the main character. Having gone through a difficult upbringing, the story of Cherry Vanilla and their quest to find love and acceptance spoke to me. This is a title I would highly recommend, not only for the merit of the writing…

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The best books about empowerment and hope

Book cover of Nell Kimball: Her Life as an American Madam, by Herself

Nell Kimball: Her Life as an American Madam, by Herself

By Nell Kimball,

Why this book?

Nell Kimball was the least educated of the prostitute authors I read but also the most colorful. And the only one who didn’t feel trapped in the profession. Like Josie Washburn, Nell couldn’t find a publisher for her memoir when she looked for one in 1932. She was 78 years old and reportedly in dire straits financially. Nell had started in the “trade” in St. Louis at the age of fifteen in 1867 and worked as a prostitute and then as a madam, lastly in New Orleans’s famed Storyville red-light district, until it was shut down in 1917. Nell died…
From the list:

The best books about 19th century prostitutes

Book cover of Woman of Ill Fame

Woman of Ill Fame

By Erika Mailman,

Why this book?

The forthright honesty and the audacity of Nora Simms, narrator of Erika Mailman’s Woman of Ill Fame, is stunning and nearly as compelling as the murder mystery at the center of the novel. Set in San Francisco during the Gold Rush, the novel takes us into the city’s bordellos, which, like the rest of the state, have been infected by a get rich quick at any cost ethos. The cost for many of Nora’s colleagues is high. Women of ill-fame are being killed, one by one, and only Nora is capable and willing to wade through layers…

From the list:

The best historical novels about badass 19th century American women

Book cover of Public Journal: Marginal Notes on Wartime America

Public Journal: Marginal Notes on Wartime America

By Max Lerner,

Why this book?

A former philosophy professor who joined the staff of the illustrious New York newspaper PM following Pearl Harbor, Lerner provides a scholarly perspective on home front developments. “America at war,” he decided, “is an America torn from many of its moorings, in which everything is having to move at a quicker pace.” Among Lerner’s subjects are juvenile delinquency, especially the rise of teenage amateur prostitutes; women in wartime (“the men make war happen, but it happens to women”); and the increase in racial intolerance — not only against Japanese-Americans, but Mexicans and Jews as well.

From the list:

The best books on what life was like on the American homefront during WW2

Book cover of Black Wings Has My Angel

Black Wings Has My Angel

By Elliott Chaze,

Why this book?

In a tough prostitute named Virginia, escaped convict Timothy Sunblade finds the perfect partner to help execute the perfect crime. The extraordinary relationship between these two makes the book memorable. Sunblade is clear-eyed, thoughtful, disillusioned, sensitive, brutish, self-assured at times, and wavering at others. Virginia is wise, world-weary, sure of herself and what she wants, sometimes crazed like a caged animal, but always strong.

Chaze's atmospheric detail adds depth and presence to the story. The characters' arc is one of darkening fate and inevitable tragedy. Watching their slow descent is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The characters…

From the list:

The best books from the golden age of American crime and noir

Book cover of The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Ninetenth-Century New York

The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Ninetenth-Century New York

By Patricia Cline Cohen,

Why this book?

Helen Jewett was a sex worker living in New York in the 1830s. She worked in a brothel under a matron, which should have been a safe enough situation—she wasn’t out on the street, at least, and others knew when she had clients. Early one morning, however, others in the house wake up to realize there’s a fire in Helen’s room, and that she’s dead. Was it a murder committed by her last client, a man quickly identified as Richard Robinson, or was it a suicide? If she hadn’t died so brutally, we wouldn’t know Helen Jewett’s name, so she’s…

From the list:

The best books about crimes you've never heard of

Book cover of Never Say Goodbye: A Medium's Stories of Connecting with Your Loved Ones

Never Say Goodbye: A Medium's Stories of Connecting with Your Loved Ones

By Patrick Matthews,

Why this book?

I have had many “visitations” from passed-on loved ones, including cherished pets, so am always interested in a professional's take on connecting with those on the other side. This detailed guide by a nationally recognized medium covers effective strategies and fascinating stories of relating across the divide. It is also a well-explained basic orientation to the concept of meditation and an intriguing portrait of what the afterlife may be like for us all.
From the list:

The best books on aging wisdom, loss, and spiritual rebirthing

Book cover of City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London

City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London

By Judith R. Walkowitz,

Why this book?

This is Victorian London, a city of dynamic growth, extreme class divisions, obsessions with public sexual danger and pathology, growing anxiety in the face of so much that is unknown and uncertain, and moralizing campaigns for reform. Not least, and the book ends with this story, this is the city of Jack the Ripper. Sometimes Walkowitz is densely analytical, for she is skillful as both storyteller and theorist. In both genres, the experience of modernity is central, as are questions about the body and the self, ethnicity, class, and morality. The city that emerges, in all its dread and delight,…
From the list:

The best books on the modern history of cities

Book cover of Stork

Stork

By Shane McKenzie,

Why this book?

Suzey suffered physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her deplorable grandmother, who used the Stork fairytale to convince her that she was a worthless, evil creature without a soul. Years later, Suzey is still battling the stork, convinced that it is responsible for her inability to have a baby.

McKenzie is another great author who can weave elements of gore and depravity into an engrossing story full of great, well-developed characters. This one was especially superb and will keep you on the edge of your seat as you witness Suzey’s downward spiral.

From the list:

The best disturbing horror books

Book cover of Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation

Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation

By Nancy F. Cott,

Why this book?

In Public Vows, Nancy Cott explores how the history of marriage in the United States reflects the creation of a very public and political institution. As Cott shows, in the early years of the United States, the common law doctrine of coverture allowed white men to hold a monopoly over the country’s civil and political institutions. For Cott, marriage has always been a public institution with political implications. As Cott explains, the political undercurrents and legal aspects of marriage have often allowed men to have control over women in law and in custom. Cott’s study was a vital component…

From the list:

The best books for understanding how gender has shaped the history of citizenship in the United States

Book cover of The Professor and the Prostitute: And Other True True Tales of Murder and Madness

The Professor and the Prostitute: And Other True True Tales of Murder and Madness

By Linda Wolfe,

Why this book?

Linda Wolfe is a throwback to the way true crime used to be written and should continue to be written. She was an old-school investigative reporter with an endlessly inquisitive mind and a keen sense of storytelling. Wolfe died just before the Covid pandemic broke, her passing went largely unnoticed. She’s chiefly known for her book about Robert Chambers, Wasted: The Preppie Murder about the 1986 Central Park strangulation murder of Jennifer Levin. The Professor and the Prostitute is a great, lurid title, and this series of essays are fascinating portraits of behavior and psychology. Included is one of her…

From the list:

The best books to fall down a rabbit hole

Book cover of Last Exit to Brooklyn

Last Exit to Brooklyn

By Hubert Selby Jr.,

Why this book?

Selby got into writing late in his life (much like me!) but that doesn’t negate the richness of his five novels and the best one: Last Exit to Brooklyn. If you read about Selby’s life, he could just as easily write an autobiography and it would have proved that fact is stranger than fiction. Last Exit, is a pulled-together novel from his initial forays into creative writing and short fiction, but don’t worry about that, because the tales of down-and-out diversity are all jaw-dropping, eye-popping, mind-boggling, and gut-wrenching. These literary portraits capture the depravity of life at its…

From the list:

The best novels that reveal society as a gaping pus-ridden bedsore

Book cover of Delhi: A Novel

Delhi: A Novel

By Khushwant Singh,

Why this book?

I loved this book because this was the first time I came across history in this way. Of course, historical fiction has a long history but this book moves away from that tradition and tells a story of a city in a manner that is somewhere between history and historical fiction, creating a genre of its own. The book is riveting and true to a lot of fascinating historical detail. 

From the list:

The best books that merge genres and writing styles

Book cover of Kushiel's Scion

Kushiel's Scion

By Jacqueline Carey,

Why this book?

I read this before I read the preceding trilogy: Phèdre’s Trilogy, and was well drawn in without the background knowledge that may have come from reading the two series in order. I later did read Phèdre’s Trilogy and enjoyed it, but it was Imriel’s Trilogy that really captured me. I love that while most Fantasy series will focus on aggressive politics and war, these series are more about the arts and diplomacy and humans being very human in all their facets. Imriel was a captivating character who I was eager to follow along with as I discovered the world…

From the list:

The best fantasy series with powerful worldbuilding and characters you’ll love

Book cover of The Whitechapel Virgin

The Whitechapel Virgin

By Carla Acheson,

Why this book?

This historical fiction is one of three novels set in London, the one featured is contemporary, and set upon the streets walked by Jack the Ripper. What I found compelling was the detailed presentation of the lives of ordinary, working-class women, that was gritty and most believable in presentation. The characters came alive and the story flowed; some working girls vanished, who would be next? This is not a story about Jack. It is a story about those nearby and affected by the beast.

From the list:

The best fiction books for curious minds

Book cover of The World of Suzie Wong

The World of Suzie Wong

By Richard Mason,

Why this book?

This story is so sweet and funny, I must have read it a dozen times since first arriving in China. That a Western male writer conceived a female Chinese character as charming and relatable as Suzie without ever straying into offensive farce really says something about the author, Richard Mason’s, craft. His prose is old-school eloquent, and deftly includes the smallest details that bring Suzie, a naughty yet affectionate hooker with a big heart, and her 1950s Hong Kong brothel settings, to vivid life. If I had only five desert-island books, The World of Suzie Wong would be one of…
From the list:

The best books about Chinese prostitution and vice

Book cover of Leaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas

By John O'Brien,

Why this book?

A truly heartbreaking book about an alcoholic who travels to Las Vegas to drink himself to death, and the prostitute who falls in love with him. It’s a haunting story about addiction, but also a tragic love story. I feel this book is one of the best depictions of alcoholism, and how it can ultimately destroy you. The tragic story extended into real life as the author committed suicide a few weeks after signing the film rights. It is a hard read, but that’s what makes it amazing.

From the list:

The best books about addicts, addiction, and the damage it does

Book cover of Lady Pirate

Lady Pirate

By Lynsay Sands,

Why this book?

I read this book when I was looking for inspiration on pirate romance. Instead, Captain Valoree Ainsley’s debacles with her rascal crew, set up the dynamic between Captain Foley and her crew in Windfall. I loved the humor of this book and would highly recommend it for a fun and romantic read. 

From the list:

The best adventure books with women at sea

Book cover of The Alphabet Man

The Alphabet Man

By Richard Grossman,

Why this book?

Grossman achieves something remarkable in The Alphabet Man. The work manages to weave together visual, avant-garde graphic design, literary poetry, and a suspenseful thrilling plot. The book itself is gorgeous to look at it, and the text layout is designed as a work of art. Grossman seamlessly blends these disparate elements into a unified, unique creation that breaks the boundaries of what a novel can be. 

From the list:

The best books that shatter the conventions of what a novel can be