TTT: Books I Read That Were Outside My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by The Broke And The Bookish. This one is a random pick from their list of previous topics.

Nafiza

The trouble with having an eclectic taste is that no book is outside your comfort zone because you generally try everything. Still, I do love some genres more than others and there are some books I’ve forced myself to read so…here’s a list:

  1. The Poet Slave of Cuba – Margarita Engle and Sean Quallis.
    I reviewed this during verse month. I usually avoid books that are going to hurt my heart and this one very much hurt my heart. Argh.
  2. The Chocolate Kiss – Laura Florand
    My friends all swore that this romance novel was super awesome. I read it and found that the love interest is a huge creep and the romance is problematic. Also the feminist in me raged. Not my thing.
  3. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han
    Contemporary YA romance. Usually not my thing at all but I ended up enjoying this quite a bit.
  4. The Girl With All The Gifts – M. R. Carey
    Zombies freak me out for good reason and I didn’t know this was a zombie book–whoops. Sorry. But yeah, this book is good but gah, the nightmares were real.
  5. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Takes – Oliver Sacks
    I don’t usually read nonfiction but this was fascinating if at times a bit too dense and jargon-ey for me.

Yash

  1. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin: Obviously, since I’ve stopped reading this series midway, I can’t say my decision of going outside my comfort zone was a good idea. At least, not in this case.
  2. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma: I honestly didn’t know much about this book at the start and when I was offered a review copy I mostly said yes because of the cover and prepared myself for a dull, non-fantasy about ballerinas and high school. Oh how wrong I was and how happy I am for it.
  3. Skellig by David Almond: I don’t usually pick up MG novels but this was on a course list so I had little choice. I’m really, really grateful to that class for introducing me to Almond’s work.
  4. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter: Another course list read. I love the book but there were definitely moments where my eyebrows would have risen right off my forehead when I read it the first time.
  5. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan: I think one of the first verse novel books I’d read. The format fascinated me, even if I was hesitant about it being general fiction. Another one I really liked.

Janet

  1. Battle Royale by Koushun Tamaki. I read this because Steph suggested we do a buddy read. I read it right away, made a page of notes for a theoretical post, then ended up not writing anything. The level of violence and more particularly the essential pointlessness of the cruelty was disturbing, and more than I had expected.
  2. Deerskin by Robin McKinley. I unknowingly picked this up much too young. The beginning third of the book is still far beyond my comfort zone but I reread it (occasionally) for the strength and grace of the second and final thirds.
  3. Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. I don’t recall reading a graphic novel before Skim was assigned for a class. I had a bit of attitude towards the idea of graphic novels in general, and the material in this one was so dark and the events at times so ambiguous that it took about three readings before I could begin to appreciate the story. Even if I hadn’t come to see the skill and power in Skim, however, I would still be grateful because it led, however slowly to other graphic novels and online comics.
  4. Bite Me! Okay, I unintentionally lied. I read Bite Me! two years before Skim, on the recommendation of a friend. Reading anything online was hugely outside my comfort zone, and a certain short-tempered vamp’s occasional and apparently serious commitment to Evil Personified didn’t help matters. But. I mean. Claire. And those chickens. Also the unending puns and historical references? Gold.
  5. Comics and graphic novels in general, I guess. It is Yash’s influence at work that I read them at all, let alone found room for them within my comfort zone: Hark, a Vagrant! by Kate Beaton, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, Lumberjanes by N.S. and others, Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell, whatever Hawekeye collections Yash has at the moment, Ms. Marvel (<3), and others.