This week’s Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish – is all about books I ended up loving, even though they weren’t the kind of books I usually pick up. Over the past year or so, I’ve been making an effort to read books that are a bit outside my comfort zone. And there have been so many books that I was unsure of at first, but completely blew me away. Here are ten of them:
- Language of the Bear by Nathanael Green and Evan Ronan. While I studied colonial history in college, I can’t think of a single novel I’ve read outside of school that takes place in early America. Except this one. It’s definitely not my usual genre, but it’s also amazing. I loved the story and the writing, and am so glad I ended up reading it.
- The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. This is a recent read that I wasn’t sure about at all. It’s a contemporary young adult novel following three friends in rural Tennessee. Lately, I’ve been more selective about contemporary YA, because I think I’m getting too old to identify with it like I used to (and there’s a lot of mediocre contemporary YA out there). This one is far from mediocre – it touches on a few important issues, but with an interesting twist. I’m still thinking about it.
- You by Caroline Kepnes. I only very occasionally read thrillers. But I couldn’t resist the premise of this one – it’s just so crazy. But it works. I couldn’t put it down!
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker. To be fair, I haven’t quite finished this one (but I’m close). Still, it’s something completely out of my comfort zone, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. But, I love it!
- On the Road by Gloria Steinem. Like The Color Purple, this is one of the books I’ve read for the Our Shared Shelf book club. I rarely read nonfiction, and when I do, it’s usually historical. But Steinem drew me in, and I definitely want to read more like it.
- Saga Vol. 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. I’m just now getting into graphic novels, so they’re not something I typically read, and I’m still not in the habit of picking them up. But I really enjoy this series, and am probably going to end up reading Vol. 5 soon.
- John Dies at the End by David Wong. I still don’t know how to describe this book. But I’m not usually one for bizarre literary experiments. Let me rephrase: I tend to pick them up because they sound interesting, or everyone is talking about them, but I don’t usually like them. This one I did. I think. It’s a weird book.
- The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell. This is a young adult picture book (also a short story in Gaiman’s Trigger Warning). I don’t know if it’s fair to say this type of book is outside my comfort zone, because this is the only one I know of. Literally the only reason I picked it up is Neil Gaiman, but the story exceeded my expectations, and went somewhere I wasn’t expecting but totally loved.
- The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. This was a pick for my personal book club, chosen by someone who reads primarily historical romance. I went into it expecting historical romance, but it was so much more than that.
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. This one made the list solely because it is a children’s book, which isn’t something I tend to pick up. But now that I’m the nanny to a baby who loves books (any books, including mine) even though he doesn’t understand them yet, I’ve been reading quite a few children books. This one’s clever and sarcastic, but still cute. I really enjoyed it!
Choosing those ten books was a bit harder than I’d thought – I need to pick up more books outside my comfort zone. But I’m glad I read these then, and I’m excited about a few more on my TBR.
What’s your favorite out of your comfort zone book?