500 Essential Cult Books: The Ultimate Guide

500 essential cult books the ultimate guide cover review
8.5 Overall Score

Nice collection of some off the wall books

The different categories don't always work

Book Info

Book Title:  500 Essential Cult Books:  The Ultimate Guide

Publisher:  Stirling

Writer:  Gina McKinnon/Steven Holland

Release Date:  2010


A different version

Think you’ve read it all? Think again. With five hundred books examined and more examples of other cult reads, you’ll have things to read for years.

Written by Gina McKinnon with Steven Holland, 500 Cult Books: The Ultimate Guide was published by Sterling in 2010. It is a reference book published with full color covers of many of the mentioned books.  The book is frequently found at discounted prices.

I picked up 500 Cult Books: The Ultimate Guide at the Half-Price Bookstore for a really cheap price. Being a lit major, I’m always looking for different (and/or extreme) things to read and Cult Books provides a decent look at the different available writers.

The book is divided into ten categories: Top Classics, Incredible Worlds, Real Lives, Thrilling Tales, Young Cult, Rebellious Voices, Walk on the Wild Side, Inner Spirits, Outcasts and Loners, and One of a Kind. I don’t know that I love the categories, but they do provide a nice broad basis for examination. It is awful hard to devise a book like this and any formula is going to be difficult to truly satisfy everyone.


Get your reading on!

The book has a broad base…old books like The Complete I Ching are right next to books like L. Ron Hubbards’ Dianetics. I like that McKinnon wasn’t just looking at all the typical cult books and includes books right up to the publication date that were already gaining steam into being classics. Also with each book, McKinnon provides other books to read.

I also like that not all the books are listed as good… There are a number of cult classic books that aren’t that great. The scale is a five star scale and there are a number of four and five star books, but they give Battlefield Earth one star (and I agree there). Whether you agree with the ratings or not, that is part of the fun since you get to debate and argue them.

500 Essential Cult Books: The Ultimate Guide is a good buy if you see it. Another book I have picked up is Cult Fiction by Andrew Calcutt with similar books, but both provide you good content and some great reads. The book is colorful and filled with some great original book art (many fun, trashy paperback covers) that are worth looking through.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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