November 8, 2011

Out of My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme that takes place every Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's list is:

Top 10 Books That Were Outside My Comfort Zone 

(in that moment when I first picked them up)

1.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I picked this book up a number of times to read the synopsis on the book jacket. Every time I was a little put off by the 'reality TV' sort of scenario described on the back. I also wasn't thrilled with the cover (remember, practically every YA book cover was Twilight-inspired at the time). My sister read the book, couldn't put it down, and recommended I read it RIGHT AWAY. So I listened and boy, was that the best decision ever. I love this series so much and can't imagine how stupid it would have been to keep putting it back on the shelf in the bookstore (*shakes head*).

2.  Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Two things: 1) science fiction, and 2) extremely young protagonist. I've never been a huge fan of science fiction, but this book actually made it a lot more accessible for me. Ender is abnormally young for this type of story which was hard to accept at first, but the book is just so darn good. I read it to my grade nine Language Arts class and they were hanging on every word (it was on the 'Approved Reading List' which just sounds so friggin' dystopian).

3.  A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
In University I took a Science Fiction & Fantasy course in an effort to take myself out of my comfort zone. I'm typically not a fan of either of the two, so I thought it might be important for when I was teaching English. If character and place names have twenty syllables, I'm not interested. End result: I now like both (some of it anyway). True story: My dad read this book in high school and to this day remembers how much he hated the thing. I liked it.

4.  David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Whenever I thought about Dickens I said to myself, "There's no way I'd ever be able to plow through one of his books." Turns out I was wrong. Again, I took a course in University that had this on the required reading list. I really like Dickens and the quirkiness of his characters, in particular their names (hello, 'Wackford Squeers'???). And who doesn't love A Christmas Carol (especially when Muppets are involved)?

5.  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling
Okay, this one is kind of embarrassing. I grew up in a church (not literally, that would be weird) and there was so much bruhaha in the church community about this series because of the whole 'witchcraft' thing. My sister read it out of sheer curiosity (see what happens when you say 'don't'), loved the heck out of it, and passed it on to me. Wow, talk about a good decision. Such an awesome  series!

6.  The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
I have a confession to make. I've never actually gotten through the whole trilogy. I've plowed through The Fellowship of the Ring twice now, and made it almost all the way through The Two Towers twice. I think the last attempt ended somewhere very, very close to the end of the second book, but I still haven't been able to do it. I loved the movies a lot, and I think now that I know how it all ends I'll probably never get back to the books again. I know, I should be whipped.

7.  Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This one seems a little weird because it's not like it's scary or anything. Plus, everyone and their labridoodle was hyping it. They were not kidding! This book (and Lola and the Boy Next Door) was just so sweet, and fun, and difficult to put down. I have not typically been drawn to contemporary YA, and even straight up romance (probably because I picture books with shirtless Fabio-like dorks with hair blowing in the wind) but now I'm looking for more. Such a sweet little book! Étienne St. Clair and Cricket Bell are just so, so great.

8.  Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I feel like I've hated on this series a lot since I've started blogging, so a little honesty is in order. I actually really liked Twilight despite some of its shortcomings. I own the whole series and every blu-ray of the movies out thus far (I won't, however, be in line on November 18th with all the squeeing fangirls). Initially, I was kind of put off by the whole vampire thing and just the synopsis of the story in general, but of course I got sucked down the vortex like everyone else. After reading Breaking Dawn I think my comfort zone is a distant memory for entirely different reasons. For more on that, see last weeks' Top 10 Tuesday post for my violent reaction to the uterus chewing and so on that went on in this book.

9.  The Stand by Stephen King
Two words: 'Stephen' and 'King'. I never in a million years thought I would ever read a Stephen King book. I associate this dude with horror and I hate horror. A lot. My husband recommended this book to me and so I finally caved. Was it ever a good book! Seriously, this guy is the king of description. I could practically smell the rot and decay and general ooziness of the dead bodies. So gross, I know, but wow! I've never read anything by him since, but I'd definitely read The Stand again. And isn't it about time they remade the movie, this time without Molly Ringwald and all the cheese?
10.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
I read this book at a very early age, so I was a little freaked out about tackling it. I'd never read anything this serious on my own. I seem to recall reading it in the car on a family road trip, and I fell in love with it then and there. Purchasing copies of this book has almost become a compulsion for me (think Mel Gibson and Catcher in the Rye in Conspiracy Theory). I've read it a number of times since and still love the heck out of it. On the subject, the latest movie rendition was an utter disappointment aside from Fassbender. They stripped the story of everything that makes it what it is. Boo!

How about you? Are there any books that you initially avoided for one reason or another?


  1. Oh golly. Dickens. I have tried and tried but I just can't seem to plow through any of his books. Jane Eyre is excellent, though!

  2. Such an interesting list! THE HUNGER GAMES and HARRY POTTER were both flying leaps out of my reading comfort zone too, which is funny because both ended up on my Favorite Books Ever list. :)

    I blogged about comfort zones today too... great minds!

  3. Trish: I've only read a couple of his books, so who knows, maybe I'd hate the rest lol

    Katy: Again with the similar reading experiences :) They're both on my all-time favourites list too!

  4. Harry Potter & The Hunger Games are two of my favorite series. I love LOTR too, though I haven't re-read it in years. :)

  5. I typically avoid Angel and Demon books (mainly because one I read turned me completely off of them), but a few of my writer friends have turned me onto some good ones, like The Space Between.

    Great post!


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