The Beautiful World 1: Kino No Tabi is a very strange book. It's about a girl named Kino and her talking motorcycle, Hermes. The two travel around visiting these weird city-states, where aspects of the world are taken to strange extremes.
The first story, "Grownup Country," is set in Kino's homeland, where all 12 year olds are required to undergo an operation to become grownups. Then there's "The Land of Shared Pain" where everyone has become an empath, which causes everyone to become hermits, because people don't want to know each other's emotions. There's "The Land of Majority Rule," where democracy is taken to a frightening extreme that leaves only one survivor. "Three Men on the Rails" is a story about three elderly men and their futile and pointless jobs. "the Land of Peace" is about a very horrible place full of awful, awful people. "Coliseum" is about a country where people are required to fight for citizenship.
While this book may be strange, it's very compelling. I'm definitely going to try and read the rest of the books in the series, and maybe find the anime. I give this one five yo-yos.