Here’s to those living – or reading – dangerously!
Everyone’s got a comfort zone. Some people are more willing than others to step outside of theirs, but everyone’s got one, even us bookworms, and it’s this week’s Top Five Wednesday topic. To find out more about Top Five Wednesday click on this link for the Goodreads T5W group.
Personally, I’m the sort of person who always wants to try new things (or at least I like to think that I’m like that :)), and this definitely extends to my reading habits. Whilst I’d probably define my reading comfort zone as a mix of fantasy, paranormal and historical, I’m usually not put off a book if doesn’t fall into one of these genres. The way I see it, I’d be missing out on a huge selection of great books if I did.
However, it has taken me a while to become more open minded about what I read – a few years ago if it wasn’t YA, I wasn’t reading it. And if it didn’t have some sort of fantastical/not-like-real-life element to it, it was unlikely that I’d read it. Don’t think that I now dislike YA – I don’t. I’m just no longer intimidated by other books if they aren’t: age is just a number and all that.
So for this week’s T5W I decided to make my list about the books that made me branch out of my old comfort zone and become a more open-minded reader:
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. I count this as my first adventure into Victorian literature. It made me feel less intimidated about reading novels from that time period, or any time period to be honest. Before I read this I was worried about the language in older books being too difficult or convoluted for me to be able to enjoy it properly. And, to be honest, my younger self was rather dubious about the relevance of books from such a long time ago – she thought all classics were just pretentious. Older and not-that-much-wiser-but-I’m-trying me now knows that most classics have that title for a reason – they’re good, they’re part of our cultural history, and they’re huge influences on modern literature too.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll – My first graphic novel! This a set of short stories, all of them eerie and kind of disturbing, but wonderful none the less. The artwork is gorgeous. This book made me want to read more graphic novels, something I’m still working on.
Poisoned Apples: Poems for you my Pretty by Christine Heppermann. Until not that long ago I’d always been quite ambivalent about poetry – it was something you studied in English class and wrote essays about. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the poetry I learned about in school, I actually really liked a lot of it, but I struggled to see it out of the context of an English classroom or an exam hall. But then I got Poisoned Apples and that began to change. Firstly, it was by a poet who wasn’t dead. It’s not that I thought all poets had to be dead before this book, it was just that all the poets I’d ever encountered before had been, so it had become a sort of expectation on my part. Secondly, it hit me on a more personal level than most poetry; Poisoned Apples is about the trials and pains of being a teenage girl and all the harmful expectations that come with that in the modern world. Yay for feminist poetry! 🙂
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson. Such a quirky, strange, unexpected book, brimming with bizarre plot twists and odd characters. The trick with this book is not to take it too seriously – it’s supposed to be fun! I’d never read anything like it before. It’s humorous:“Life, here I come!’ he said. And was immediately and fatally run over by a bus.” This book was one of my first forays into contemporary literature and away from the YA Fantasy comfort zone I’d been camped out in for the better part of my early teens.
The Collected Works of A.J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. One of my absolute favourite books of all time. It’s one of those rare gems that makes you cry both happy and sad tears. I read it all one sitting. It’s a book about book people, love, and the messiness of life that made me reconsider my comfort zone by being another amazing example of contemporary fiction. I kind of want to reread it now. 🙂
So that’s my list. What would be on yours? What’s your reading comfort zone?