Posted in Books

Out of My Comfort Zone Book Tag

Fact: I hate stepping out of my comfort zone.

Fact: great posts by Avery and Literary Huntress convinced me to do this tag anyway.

THE ONE RULE OF THIS TAG: I picked a genre I read frequently…and I can’t use ANY books from that genre to answer the following questions.

I read Young Adult almost exclusively.

I don’t even know what to call non-YA books. Adult fiction? Normal books?

I will still try my hardest.

A book that is an exception when it comes to genres or elements you don’t typically like

I don’t like mysteries.

This year, I’ve dipped my toe into thrillers and I like those some.

Mysteries, not so much.

This might sound silly coming from someone who loves magical realism, but mysteries challenge my suspension of disbelief.

A demonic werewolf stalking victims in New York makes sense to me. People faking their deaths and hiding terrible family secrets and covering up murders sound borderline fantastical.

DESPITE ALL THIS, I enjoyed Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore.

Image result for midnight bright ideas bookstore

I don’t know that I loved the resolution, but the quality of the writing compelled me to finish. I loved the protagonist and the setting and the many pages dedicated to books and bookstores.

Would not read again; glad I stuck with it.

A book you enjoyed from a genre you previously held some stigma against

High fantasy is SO BORING.

It crowds out all the fun elements of fantasy (magic, other worlds, etc.) in favor of war rooms, political schemes, and Serious Discussions between Serious Men with perpetually furrowed brows.

Ugh.

I still read the A Song of Ice and Fire books with nary a problem.

Image result for dance of dragons

My friend and former roommate Danita happened to start the series at the same time I did, My desire to discuss the books with her (“OKAY, BUT THEON!?!?”) motivated me to finish.

There are still some tedious parts in these books, but George R. R. Martin makes up for it with interesting characters and reasonably-sized font. I’ve hated fantasy paperbacks for years for using size 7 font to spew their boring stories. While reading Martin’s books, I got to enjoy the story without spending an hour on each page.

A book you didn’t know was out of your comfort zone until you started reading it

Oh, Spinster.

I expected a Spinster Pride book.

I expected an expansion on Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea of The Auntie Brigade (i.e., the 10ish % of unmarried women found in every culture.)

Instead, Kate Bolick talks about books.

Image result for spinster kate bollick
Spinsterhood: drinking as much tea as your heart desires.

This would have worked in her favor had her writing style not been so pointlessly conversational.

For 50 pages, I suffered through stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Bolick described her birthday party, her living arrangements, her boyfriend (what, WHAT!?); every couple of pages, she’d mention a “spinster” author she admired…and MOVE ON.

I hear the latter half of the book has structure and discusses these authors in more detail.

I couldn’t make it that far.

Pick a friend who motivates you to pick up books you might not normally be interested in—is there a book they convinced you to give a try?

I’ve hit peak cynicism when it comes to Christians.

Trump’s presidency has been an ongoing bummer of watching my people rally around an unworthy misogynist.

John Allen Chau died recently, igniting a frustrating conversation about missions on the internet.

Last week, Franklin Graham called progressive Christians “Pharisees” for calling out Trump on Twitter.

That dude is in his 60s – he’ll be influencing and insulting Christians for YEARS to come.

I just…ugh.

Before all this happened, I was wary of books marketed under “Christian Inspiration.”

I wish we, as a people, didn’t spiritualize despair and mental health issues.

So much of the advice published (“Pray for your future spouse!” “Start a gratitude journal!”) doesn’t work for me.

Also, I hate gimmicks…and books aimed at Christian women LOVE them.

My friend Stacia, a former Fellow Single, lent me a Christian book while I was still in college.

Behold.

Image result for who has your heart book emily e ryan
Ugh, LOOK AT IT.

Stacia INTRODUCED THE BOOK by saying, “It looks cheesy and I feel silly reading it and I usually hate books like these, but THIS ONE IS REALLY GOOD.”

For this book, Emily uses Jepthah’s Daughter as an example for how women should navigate singleness.

Ryan treats “JD” (TLDR for non-Bible readers: the only daughter of a general sacrificed [either literally or figuratively] before she ever married) as a Patron Saint of Singleness, painting her as a cool girl with curly hair and ankle bracelets living it up for the Lord.

I like alternative biblical interpretations and this was still a stretch for me.

Gimmick aside, this book made me weep.

Ryan writes legitimate spiritual advice; this was the first book I read to recommend reading multiple translations for deeper understanding (I STILL DO THIS.)

Ryan also emphasizes the importance of female friendship (!!!) and touches on the mourning periods that can hit without warning during the holidays (MORE ON THIS LATER THIS WEEK.)

All in all, I liked this book and completed every bit of extracurricular study…maybe even the parts that called for a gratitude journal.

A book that is out of your comfort zone, but you would like to read

This was the favorite book of my former best friend.

From her description, I pictured City of Thieves as a small-print children’s book from the 1940s.

I saw this book at Barnes and Noble under the Staff Recommendations.

Image result for city of thieves
Look how cute!

It’s thin, recent, marketed for adults, and set in Russia.

The plot involves cake.

I would like to check it out.

A book or genre so outside of your comfort zone that you’ll probably never give it a chance

I often hate on historical fiction, but certain time periods interest me (and they’re not the ones you’d expect.)

I like to read fiction set in:

  • the AIDS epidemic
  • the Gold Rush
  • the Jack the Ripper scare
  • the Russian Revolution
  • the French Revolution of 1789
  • ancient Rome

I’ve been wanting to read The Pillars of the Earth since 9th grade.

Image result for pillars of the earth how many pages

My teacher recommended it to us (along with The Crimson Petal and the White, which is about prostitution) during our Animal Farm unit (I still don’t know why.) I thought this book sounded right up my alley.

I know better now.

However compelling Ken Follett’s characters might be, I have no interest in politics, slavery, or columns.

Also…800 pages? And not a werewolf in sight?

I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, KEN!

Tag. Your. Selves. Magical realism is my comfort zone, but maybe that genre is your worst nightmare.

HISTORICAL FICTION LOVERS: I’d love to see what books you consider out your comfort zone.

Author:

She/her. 4w3. Lover of vegan cream cheese and performative angst. Seattle-based writer currently dabbling in socialism and progressive Christianity. I love to call out, complain, overreact, analyze, and reimagine. This site contains the fruit of that labor.

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