Ten Books That I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This week's Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish asks for Ten Books That I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone (whether you liked them or not)


I don’t read a lot of memoirs, self-help books or books about politics or economics. I don’t read these because I’ve learned that I usually don’t enjoy them. There are a few exceptions, but usually books about modern politics/economics bore me. Memoirs seem self-indulgent and gossipy and self-help books just aren’t my thing. Sometimes though, you stumble into new territory and you’re thrilled with what you find.


1) Freakonomics – I was expecting this to be really hard to follow and dry as toast, but it was surprisingly entertaining.


2) Watchmen – My very first graphic novel. A friend convinced me to try it and I was skeptical. Aren’t graphic novels basically just comic books? Nope, they’re amazing.


3) The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court – I do love learning about new things, but I might not have picked this one up if it hadn’t been for my United We Read committee. It was a wonderful read.


4) The Sparrow – A priest in space, doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, but it was SO good!


5) Cesar's Way - Cesar Millan’s books were really valuable to me this year as a brand new dog owner, but they definitely aren’t something I normally would gravitate towards.


6) Ender’s Game – The book that made me realize Science Fiction could be so incredibly fantastic. I love this book.


7) Twilight – Vampires, teen drama, swooning and such, not my style. But I got completely hooked on these, even though they are fluff books, and read the whole series.


8) Glenn Beck's Common Sense – A family member talked me into this one. It’s just not for me.


9) The Art of Racing in the Rain – I don’t do sappy books from animals’ points-of-view. I shouldn’t have made an exception for this one. If I’m going to read something from an animal’s POV I would rather it be Watership Down, because I couldn’t stand this one.

10) How Starbucks Saved My Life – My book club picked this one. It was fine, but it falls it reminded me that I don’t really like those books to begin with.


Image from here.

23 comments:

Nymeth said...

Freakonomics surprised me for the very same reasons. And I agree that GNs are amazing, but they ARE comics all the same :P

Sandy Nawrot said...

Totally agree with you on Freakonomics. I was completely sucked into that, even though I expected it to be like homework. I also love GNs, which was a stretch for me at first. However, I really DID love Racing in the Rain, hokey or no.

redhead said...

I saw the quick little Freakonomics documentary and LOVED it, so I really want to read that. . . but wait, we were talking about things outside our comfort zone.

the first time I read The Sparrow I had the same thoughts you did, and I was worried it was going ot get all religious on me and nope, it was incredible!

Management books are completely outside my comfort zone. I hate telling people what to do, but that's kinda my job, so every so often I'll buy a management / influence book. Some of them are good, but it always feels weird to read them!

I did read Twilight, but didn't get into it!

Cecelia said...

Nice feature about books outside of your comfort zone! I have to admit that even though I've read a decent amount of sci-fi and fantasy, Ender's Game still surprised me with its brilliance.

Carl V. said...

Have you read Speaker for the Dead yet? I love Ender's Game, but Speaker blows me away.

I certainly don't purposefully go out of my way to read books outside my comfort zone, mostly because I feel I have a wide range of reading tastes anyway and there are so many great books waiting on my pile that I don't feel the need to do so.

However, books that are outside of my norm and could potentially be outside of my comfort zone that I thought were great were:

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Linchpin by Seth Godin

to name a few.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Nymeth - That's a gerat article. They are comic books, but I guess I thought

Sandy - You aren't alone on Racing in the Rain, lots of people love it. That courtroom scene just did me in.

redhead - I didn't know there was a Freakonomics doc, I'll have to watch it!

Cecelia - Ender's Game defies genre! Everyone should read it.

Carl V. - I have read Speaker, and the rest of the Shadow trilogy and Ender trilogy. Both sides are fascinating continuations of the Wiggins' story. I love them!

Andra said...

woo...I'm actually supposed to be reading The Watchmen for my Cultural-Pluralism class next semeseter...hope its good!

Check out my TTT
http://unabridgedandralyn.blogspot.com/2011/11/top-ten-tuesday_08.html

Carl V. said...

I've only read the two. I bought Xenocide and Children of the Mind earlier this summer though with hopes of getting to at least one of them during the upcoming SF reading events.

Jeanne said...

Sounds like it was fun to stretch your comfort zone. I keep hoping that the popularity of The Sparrow and Ender's Game will lead more people to read more science fiction.

Brenna said...

I love that venn diagram you posted! Very clever.

I agree that graphic novels are amazing. I didn't read my first until college and if it weren't required reading, I may never have picked one up. Great stuff.

Amy @ bookgoonie said...

Agree with Freakenomics. Want to read The Watchman & Enders Game.

Rob said...

Freakonomics and Ender's Game are both on my read-eventually list.

Love Watchmen, though it's technically a collection of single-issue comics and not an original graphic novel. /HUGE DORK

Kailana said...

I remember when I read The Sparrow I spent the entire time thinking 'I can't believe I am reading this...'

LBC said...

I too loved Freakanomics. It was funny and a great listen on audio.

Laura @ The Scarlet Letter.

Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind said...

Oh goodness - I luuuurved The Sparrow! Ah, priests in space...whenever I recommend it and explain the premise people look at me like I have a third eyeball :)

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

Ender's Game is a great book. Have you read the sequels? Not as good, but still worth it.

They're making a movie of it.

Jenners said...

Great list … I'm with you on so many of them! Freakonomics was fascinating … and I HATED economics in college. And I fell hook line and sinker for Twilight … despite being determined not to. And Ender's Game … how could you not love that one!? Now I want to read your other choices (at least the ones that wowed you!)

Kristi said...

I read The Art of Racing in the Rain too. Well outside my comfort zone and it was rough. Enzo didn't bug me as much as I thought he would, but the forced racing/life metaphors were really getting on my nerves. And it was so melodramatic. Ugh!

It took my sister a year to convince me to read Twilight and once I did, they totally sucked me in. The only one I hated was Breaking Dawn. I wanted to throw that one across the room!

Care said...

But isn't Enders Game written by that guy no one likes? or am I confused. You are the first person who has brought it up to my maybe-interest level. I do want to read the Sparrow. and I adored Art of Racing in the Rain. Loved Enzo.
Most of my list includes books I attempted or have yet to try.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Andra - Enjoy it!

Carl V. - I'll be interested to know what you think whenever you read them. I really loved the Shadow trilogy that follows Bean, Petra and Peter. It's more political, but so good.

Jeanne - Me too!

Brenna - I read my first in 2008 because a friend told me I just had to. So glad I did!

Amy - You should read both.

Rob - That's good to know. I read the complete book, so I guess I didn't think of it that way.

Kailana - It's such an odd premise, but so good.

LBC - I think I read that one on audio as well.

Kat - It is so hard to describe that one without sounding crazy.

Alex - I've read all the sequels. Ender's Shadow is my favorite, though I guess that's not as much a sequel as a parallel book. I'm nervous about the movie.

Jenners - You might like the Cesar book since you're a new puppy owner too!

Kristi - The meodrama was just too much for me. It got ridiculous.

Care - Nope, you're right. The author, Card, has made a lot of enemies with his homophobic comments. But I look at him as I do most authors, I don't need to agree with their personal belief system to read their books. As long as those issues aren't brought into the books I can ignore it. My reading material would be awfully limited if I could only read things by authors who share my exact beliefs.

Carl V. said...

There is certainly a vocal crowd of Card dissenters who do so because of his strong religious beliefs against homosexuality and his public stance on this. What I think many have discovered is that you can, if you choose, divorce a person's beliefs from their writing, especially when they write genre fiction that is not out to preach that author's agenda. Both Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead are very, very good science fiction novels and they have the kind of accessibility that makes them good recommendations for people who don't read a lot of science fiction or have never read science fiction.

I certainly don't try to tell anyone how they should react when author's live lives that we don't agree with. While I discovered and fell in love with these books before I ever read any of Card's thoughts about homosexuality, there are many other authors who for one reason or another turn me off and that makes me loathe to read their books. So I understand.

But if you want to just talk about the books themselves, they are very good and worth reading.

Jeanne said...

As someone who's weighed in on the Card controversy from the beginning, I want to repeat here that I think he's a great writer, everyone should read him, and that if you don't want to inadvertently help support his homophobic causes, you should not buy his books, but get them out of the library.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Carl V. - I read all of the series before I knew anything about his personal beliefs as well. I don't know if that would have affected my experience with them if I'd known more about him first, but I do think you can look at them as just books.

Jeanne - I agree that's a good way to do it. The Ender series is just too good to miss though.