Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a freebie! So I’m using it to do a topic from a few months back that I missed during my blogging hiatus – books I enjoyed that were outside my comfort zone.
Saga Vol. 1 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
This one may be a comic rather than a book but it’s too perfect for this list not to include it. I never read comic issues – the art is gorgeous but they go by so quickly! However, after seeing the Saga series pop up around Goodreads and on bloggers’ reading challenges repeatedly, I decided to give it a go for myself. It ended up being so much fun and has pretty much everything I need in a good series – action, humour, adventure and romance.
Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee
Up until late 2018, non-fiction had never really been something I was particularly interested in reading. I’d always seen reading as a way of escaping reality. Nowadays I’ve started picking up the occasional one that interests me and been pleasantly surprised. Eggshell Skull is an example of that. Reading about how the state of Queensland (AUS) handles sexual assault cases as well as the author’s own experiences in bringing her case through the system was heartbreaking but absolutely fascinating. It was informative and the perfect example of why so many women don’t bother to press charges against their rapists.
Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman
I’m not usually one for poetic, artsy books riddled with deep prose that people tend to label literature and spend long periods of time lovingly highlighting. They usually bore me to tears. Still, I gave this book a go after falling in love with the film. To my complete shock, I really enjoyed it. Better yet, I thought the writing was so beautiful at points that I even highlighted a couple of passages myself! There’s just something about this book that I can’t put my finger on – it’s emotionally a lot, but gosh if it isn’t a good reminder for me to try things outside my usual types of reads more often.
IT – Stephen King
This book was a little out of my comfort zone for a few reasons. While I love a good fantasy novel, I don’t usually read horror books. Also, in recent years I’ve started to move away from larger sized novels and yet, here this was, in all its over 1000 page glory. Still, something about it made me take it off my parents bookshelves that day. Despite a not so great ending, I had a great time reading the rest of it, even though it successfully managed to make me a little anxious for a while. The characters were great and the writing was enjoyable as well.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
Another genre I don’t usually read much of – sci fi! While fantasy and science fiction are usually shelved together, I pretty consistently stick to books in the former rather than the latter. Yet, after hearing some good things about this novel, and in search of some lovable, diverse characters, I decided to try TLWTASAP (what an acronym!). While I can see it not being for everyone, I thought it was a nice change of pace to read something that was more about the people and the journey rather than the destination. It’s definitely encouraged me to think about trying out some other sci-fi books in future.
Red Sparrow – Jason Matthews
My decision to pick up Red Sparrow can very easily be attributed to me watching the film shortly beforehand and wanting to see how the book differed. This was a very out of field choice for me reading wise as I don’t think I remember ever reading another spy/espionage type book before in my life. I’ll repeat, I should really read more books outside my usual genres because I found this super engaging and illuminating at the same time. It’s kind of odd at points (there’s recipes randomly included) but at the time it was a refreshing change of pace.
The Lightning Thief ( Percy Jackson & the Olympians) – Rick Riordan
The majority of the books I read during the year fall within the young adult classification. Middle grade, however, is something I generally stay away from (it’s a little hard connecting with characters that young as a 26 year old woman). But as Percy Jackson is generally put up on a pedestal as the Harry Potter of the generation below me, I thought it was important that I give the series a try. In the end, while it did read a little young (as I’d been expecting), the story and characters were so charming and fun that I ended up having a great time and continued through all five books in the series.
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Looking at it, The Night Circus seems like a book that would fall very squarely within my comfort zone – a fantasy novel with magic and a bit of romance. At the same time though, it’s not something particularly known for its plot or characters, two things that are usually extremely important to me. It’s more about setting and gorgeous writing. This is actually why I put off reading it for so many years because I was worried I’d find it tedious. While I’m not obsessed or completely in love with it like some other readers, I did like it and really appreciated its beauty.
It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover
I’m not typically a big romance reader (although that has changed a little recently) and when I do read it, it’s usually the fun, fluffy type of romance rather than the series and dramatic kind. Colleen Hoover was an author I’d been interested in trying out for a while and after hearing such positive things about this particular book, I decided to start with It Ends with Us. It was quite different from what I’d been expecting but ended up being a great read because of it. Colleen handled some super difficult issues in a really fantastic way and it’s because of this book that I ended up reading and loving one of her other works, Verity.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
As I’ve mentioned repeatedly on my blog, I’m not a classics reader. At all. Either they bore me (I’m somewhat of an impatient person) or frustrate me. Despite being very much aware of this, for some reason, in high school I was curious about Jane Austen and wanted to give her books a go. I’d seen the mini-series Lost in Austen (it’s fabulous, by the way) and loved it so I thought Pride & Prejudice would be the right choice. Going in, I was fully prepared not to enjoy it but like other books on this list, it surprised me. The characters were engaging, some of the dialogue witty, and who doesn’t like a good slow burn romance?
Over the last year I’ve come to realise how important it is to try different types of books once in while in order to stop yourself ending up in a reading rut or a slump. After all, you never know when something will end up being fantastic and open you up to a whole new range of stories. I definitely think I’ll aim to add to this list in the future.
What are some reads that were outside of your comfort zone which you really enjoyed?