On My Bookshelf · Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! Don’t forget to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl and join the linkup!

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Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

I guess I had better define my comfort zone first, or this list won’t really make that much sense. First: I don’t usually like horror. Many thrillers are too close to horror for me to enjoy them. Second: I don’t like my books to be too realistic. I read to escape, and I like reading to escape. (Non-fiction is the exception here, but for this list I’m sticking with fiction to make it easier.) Third: I don’t want to be preached at. This could mean religion, politics, whatever. I’m not comfortable being preached at in person and I don’t like dealing with it in fiction either. Fourth: I don’t have a problem with swearing or adult content if it’s appropriate for the character, but I am uncomfortable with books where that content is included only for shock value.

Okay… with that said, here’s a list of books from outside my comfort zone that I enjoyed. They’re in no particular order, and there are undoubtedly more that I didn’t include. If I rated the book on Goodreads, I’ll include that rating here for reference.

  1. Midnight Rain by Holly Lisle ~ 5 stars (TW: abuse)
  2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown ~ 2 stars
  3. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler ~ 3 stars
  4. Maus by Art Spiegelman ~ 5 stars
  5. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware ~ 4 stars
  6. This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti ~ 4 stars
  7. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel ~ 3 stars
  8. The Otherworld by Mercedes Lackey, Mark Shepherd, and Holly Lisle ~ 4 stars (TW: child abuse)
  9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ~ 5 stars
  10. Animal Farm by George Orwell ~ 4 stars

As a note, while I don’t normally consider a 2 star rating to mean I enjoyed it, I did follow-up my reading of The Da Vinici Code with reading Angels & Demons. So I enjoyed it enough to read more, and as such I think it counts for this list.

And as another note, I’m only including books that were outside of my comfort zone when I read them. As an example, I’m less comfortable reading erotica now while I used to really enjoy them. I think this change happened because I was unhappy in my relationship and now I’m happy, but whatever the reason: erotica is outside of my comfort zone now, but it wasn’t when I read and enjoyed those books. So I’m not including them on this list.

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26 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

  1. I’m so with you about horror … except about once or twice a year, when I pull my big girl panties and decide I’m super totally brave and adult-ish and can totally handle it (and I’m usually wrong LOL). I think Animal Farm is the only one from this list I’ve read, and it was a rough read for me, but pretty good just the same. I still haven’t read The Da Vinci Code, despite owning it for pretty near forever. I think the buzz around it on both sides has made me so reluctant to pick it up, even though I know I will eventually.

    Here’s my TTT post.

    1. I can often pick up a horror book or two in October, because I do like seasonal mood reads. But yeah… not normally.

      Animal Farm is definitely a rough read, but I enjoyed it all the same. I think you’re not missing much if you don’t read Da Vinici Code. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I can say that I *liked* it, if the difference makes sense.

      1. … you mean it’s not yet time to start seasonal mood reads?! 😮 I’ve been doing it wrong. xD We had ONE chilly day here and my brain was immediately like … horror? Spooooky? Ghost books! So I’ve read two spooky books this week LOL.

        That makes sense. I definitely feel that way about some books, too.

  2. I like how you approached this TTT topic, and my comfort zone is somewhat similar to yours. I find many thrillers too dark, and as you point out, too close to horror for comfort. I prefer to read for escape when I’m not working (the books I index are often challenging and even difficult in one way or another), so I don’t read a lot of contemporary literary fiction; instead, I gravitate toward romance, fantasy, and mystery.

    1. That makes complete sense! I wouldn’t want to read anything too close to my job, either. (Right now I don’t have to do any real reading for work, but that hasn’t always been the case. There was a time when I avoided non-fiction because I had to read too much of that for work.)

    1. I didn’t actually realize how defined my comfort zone was until I started writing this post! I mean, I knew what books fit and what ones didn’t, but I never really stopped to think about what type of book that encompassed.

  3. I still need to read And Then There Were None, but I thought This Present Darkness was fantastic. It definitely makes you think about spiritual forces at work.

  4. I’ve heard tons of great things about Maus! I really need to read it. And Then There Were None is a favorite of Dame Agatha for me. I totally get why these are outside your comfort zone. I’m not a big fan of thrillers or mysteries. I’d rather watch them.

    1. I really liked Maus! (This was a school read for me too, but in college.) I liked it so much that I recently bought the sequel, though I haven’t actually gotten around to reading it yet. I want to re-read the first book before I do.

        1. For what it’s worth, it’s not normally something I would like, either. But it’s told really well, and the art style keeps it poignant without getting too depressing. (And if it helps, the subtitle is “A Survivor’s Tale.” I know that helped me the first time I read it.)

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