Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stepping Out of My Reading Comfort Zone

A man grows most tired when standing still.
~Chinese Proverb

For me, reading is all about experiencing and learning new things and perspectives. That's a little hard to do when I stay completely in my comfort zone, which not too long ago consisted only of legal thrillers. I have since grown, but here's a list of books that were completely outside my radius of comfort when I read them.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

In terms of content, this was right up my alley. What I wasn't comfortable with was the length. Its 600+ pages is almost double the length that I am used to. However, this was assigned for book club, and I took a chance. Boy am I glad that I did. This is now one of my all-time favorites.

I, Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogridis

Again another long one, but what was really outside my comfort zone was the genre. I don't read much historical fiction, so this was a bit intimidating. I'm glad I read it, though, because I really liked the storyline. I've been meaning to get back into historical fiction, but never got around to it. What should I read next from this genre?

Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin

I don't typically have a good overall impression of chick lit. I usually discount it as shallow, lacking substance, and below my reading level. (I know, I can be such a snob.) Often times I would be right (did I mention I was a snob?), but this time I was very pleased. Yes, the writing is far from lyrical, but it wasn't horrible either. We all deserve a break now and then, and while this was a very pleasant and quick read, the content and plot was far from shallow. Giffin took on the daunting task of making us see infidelity as anything but unacceptable, and she succeeded.

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

I currently read non-fiction regularly. I usually have at least one non-fiction book going alongside my fiction read. When I read this book a while back, I was utterly intimidated by non-fiction. This was a huge step, but I'm so glad I stepped out of my normal routine. This account of the POWs of WWII was very moving and eye-opening. It also paved the way for my current interest in a wide array of non-fiction genres.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I've gotten over my fear of non-fiction, but I am still intimidated by the classics. This, Jane Eyre, and Little Women (though the last one not in its entirety) are the only ones I've read. My goal next year is to read more of the classics that are so well-loved.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

I suppose this is the first sci-fi book I've ever read, and I absolutely loved it. End of story.

Fables by Bill Willingham

Like sci-fi, I always thought graphic novels were for an entirely different crowd. I haven't actually read it yet, but the concept of Fables really appealed to me. I also got some great recommendations for other graphic novels, and I can't wait to start!

How about you? When's the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone when it comes to your reading list? Also, do leave me some recommendations for other books in the genres mentioned above.

Love and (a book) light,



  1. Yes, the classics are a little intimidating, aren't they? I started with and mostly enjoyed the famous ones like Dorian Gray, Dracula, Frankenstein, etc . . .

  2. Very interesting list. I love classics and wish I had more time to read them, but I'm totally intimidated by non-fiction.

  3. I like most classics, but some are just too lengthy.
    Here's my post

  4. Good list. I kind of like chick lit. I think a lot of it is much smarter than the marketing indicates.

    Laura @ The Scarlet Letter.

  5. It's nice to step out of your comfort zone every once in awhile. You never know what book you're going to fall in love with!


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