Our friends at the Emirates Literature Foundation decided to mark Mad Hatter Day on October 6 with a list of books that will take you on a whimsical journey…

The Mad Hatter is well known for being an eccentric character with a top hat, but did you know that his quirky behaviour had earned him his own dedicated day, usually celebrated by being silly and having some good old fun?

Here are five books that will take you on a whimsical journey.

All the Birds in the Sky by Chalie Jane Anders

Patricia Delphine, a witch, and Laurence Armstead, a tech wunderkind, are misfit kids – one is a dreamer, the other a nerd. They grow close to each other at school only to be torn apart under mysterious circumstances during middle school. The story jumps ahead to when they are young adults and recently reunited after years of estrangement against a backdrop of global catastrophes. Do they team up to try to save the world as the apocalypse nears, or they each depend on their respective powers?

Pick up this humorous and at times heart-breaking science fantasy novel to find out the fate of the world.

 The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Set in the early 1900s, this is the story of a little girl called January and her caregiver, Locke. January finds a blue door in an empty field that leads her to a world by the sea. But her escapade comes to a sudden and sad halt as Locke confines her to her room in an attempt to tame her curiosity and break her adventurous spirit. But the day before she turns 17, she finds a book that opens doors that lead to faraway lands and magical places. With each turn of a page, she discovers different truths about the world and uncovers stories that interweave with her own life.

This is an award-winning fantasy novel that will unleash your inner adventurer and transport you to a world beyond the realms of your imagination.

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Meet Louise, our dazzling protagonist, hiding in a small French town where witches are feared and burned. She survives off what little she can steal until she meets Reid, a chasseur whose sole purpose in life is to hunt witches. The two cross paths and become engaged in a complicated romance that sets the scene for the ultimate war between humans and witches.

A treat for the reader who enjoys YA novels, this book is the first in a series of three. We recommend buying all three and enjoying a weekend of binge reading about fantastic witches and witch hunters.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This novel follows Zachary who finds a book in the library that is at least 100 years old and becomes obsessed. His obsession is fuelled not by the age of the book but by the discovery that it includes a chapter that depicts a scene from his own childhood. Following clues, he finds a world of intrigue and ultimately an underground library. He meets Mirabel and Dorian, and the three of them unite in a mission to save the library from a clandestine organisation that is so set in keeping the library a secret that it will go to any lengths, including destroying it! Is Zachary able to save the library and find out the purpose of his inclusion in the book?

This is a fairytale for adults that combines elements of fantasy and science fiction to deliver a page-turner.

 Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The story takes place in a world at war, inhabited by normal people and the Grisha, people who have the ability to manipulate elements. Alina, an orphan girl, discovers she has a unique and rare power. But treachery and danger wait at every turn as she tries to understand her newfound powers and where she stands in the fight against the Shadow Fold, a dark mist full of monsters.

If you’re a fan of the Netflix show Shadow and Bone and are anxiously waiting for the next season to come out, here is something to keep you busy in the interim. But shush, don’t share the spoilers with your friends!

If you enjoyed reading this list of quirky books from Andrea Mayo, then you would love her team’s other recommendations on the Foundation blog. Catch up on exclusive interviews and sessions from Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2021 on the Foundation’s YouTube channel and their podcast, Best of the Emirates LitFest. Or check out the team’s suggestions for short reads for busy lives on their other podcast The Boundless Book Club.