Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Ten Books I Read Outside of My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find upcoming topics at their Top Ten Tuesday page.

Usually when I pick up a non-fiction book, it's a memoir. This is the first non-fiction history book I can remember reading. I liked it alright, but there were sections I really had to drudge through. I thought I would be most interested in Holmes and not so much the construction and planning of the fair, but surprisingly, the chapters on the fair would surpass the Holmes' chapters at times.

I had to read this for a literature class last year. Parts of it were pretty insane and very disturbing. I don't think I would have ever picked up this book if it wasn't assigned reading (I had never even heard of it before), but I'm glad I read it. It really captured my attention, and I may even end up rereading it one day.

This is another book I had to read for that same class, and this one I did not enjoy. Apparently, I'm in the minority, though, because if you check the ratings on Goodreads, you'll see that I'm only 1 of 2 people who gave it 1 star. I just couldn't get into the experimental writing. The second story, Ill Seen Ill Said, had very beautiful imagery, but that is the only good thing I can say about this volume. The other two stories went completely over my head.

I was really into Lois Duncan in middle school, but for years after I never read a mystery or thriller (for whatever reason). I believe Zig Zag is the first adult thriller I've read and I loved it. It is a truly amazing novel. I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much was all of the science in it. It had a lot to do with quantum physics, which the author introduced into the story in a nice, simple way. Now I'm excited to read a science book (perhaps Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe?).

My very first audiobook. I enjoyed listening to a book much more than I thought I would (I space out a lot, so I didn't think an audiobook could hold my attention). I admit, though, that I could have enjoyed this audiobook much better if there was some soft music playing in the background as Tina Fey was reading. I like listening to music in the car too much to opt for an audiobook that often.

Historical fiction is not my favorite genre by any means. I think a lot of the books in that genre are boring. When I first read about this book, all I thought was Ugh, Victorian England. No way. I was much more interested in Michel Faber's sci-fi novel Under the Skin. However, when I came across this book at a campus bookstore, I decided to read a couple pages to see how it was. It was amazing and I instantly bought it. I'm so glad I decided to give this book a try. It is now my favorite book of all-time.

My one and only non-fiction war novel. I liked it much better than I thought I would (I gave it 3 stars). I can't remember much about it other than that I thought it read like a fiction novel and there weren't nearly as many long, drawn-out battle scenes as I was expecting. It was much more personal. It changed how I thought about war stories.

When I bought this book online, I thought it was a volume of essays by different woman surgeons. It turned out to be a collection of anthropological essays by a scientist (anthropologist Dr. Joan Cassell). I was worried about starting this book-I thought I would be bored to tears-but I found it very interesting. And, I admit, I liked how smart I felt while reading these very intelligently written essays.

This is the first play I read for pleasure, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The ending was absolutely amazing. I have a long list of Shakespeare plays I want to get to now, with a reread of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the top of the list.

Persepolis was the first graphic novel I've read, but despite really enjoying it I didn't pick up another graphic novel for years. I read Anya's Ghost for Dewey's Read-a-thon a couple of weeks ago and it was one of the best reads of the year. Now I know I really have to look more into graphic novels from now on.


  1. I have a copy of The Crimson Petal & The White that I keep meaning to read, the fact that it is your fave definitely makes me want to pick it up sooner!

  2. I've heard great things about Persepolis but have yet to try a graphic novel. I think I need to bite the bullet.

  3. Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried is a fictionalized tale of the Vietnam war, though I think some of the vignettes are loosely based on the authors own experiences. It is an amazing book, nonetheless.

    Anne@My head is full of books

  4. Ok, you got me--I have to read Zig Zag now, especially since I've recently begun to develop a new interest in science myself. For science reading, might I suggest Big Bang by Simon Singh? I haven't finished it yet, but so far, I love it.
    The Beauty of Eclecticism

  5. YAY for Bossypants!

    I really want to read The Devil In The White City!

    And hurrah for The Things They Carried and Anya's Ghost, I really liked those books.

    And I had a Samuel Beckett book on my list too, and it also went over my head as well hahaha.

  6. Crimson Petal is on my TBR shelf so I'm glad to hear you liked it ;) I also just read Persepolis and it changed the way I view graphic novels. I'll be looking out for Anya's Ghost.

  7. I really think you made some great choices to read. I have always ignored books out of my comfort zone before. No more.
    Here's my post

  8. The Crimson Petal and The White is one of my favorite books, I absolutely love it!

  9. I really want to read Devil in the White City. I don't usually like crime stories, but the historical element is what appeals to me.