Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Outside The Comfort Zone

My bookish comfort zone runs along the lines of Barbara Kingsolver for good, solid, uncomplicated story-telling, and Bill Bryson for funny, quirky travelogues and non-fiction. These authors and their books have me feeling content and at home and that everything is right with the world.

As much as I like my comfort zone, though, I do enjoy a regular shake-up. So much so, that I've been shoving my BK and BB books to the bottom of my TBR pile so I can broaden my horizons by reading the likes of . . .

1. Haruki Murakami - Norwegian Wood and Blind Willow Sleeping Woman. He's quirky! I love his writing and will look for more of his books.

2. Fyodor Dostoyevski - Crime and Punishment. Who knew I would ever willingly read and actually enjoy such a tome? I have The Idiot waiting on my TBR shelf for when I'm feeling up to the work load again. Bring it on.

3. Cormac McCarthy - The Road. Dystopian? No thanks. But this one is different! I don't remember what it was that drew me to it in the first place, but I picked it up and started reading and then could. not. put. it. down.

4. George Orwell - Animal Farm. Not only is this sort of dystopian, it's also a fantasy/fable, genres of which I am not a big fan. But holy crap! It's so creepy in its parsing of some forms of government that are still alive and well today. North Korea, I'm looking at you.

5.  Jacqueline Deval - Reckless Appetites, A Culinary Romance. The word 'romance' is usually enough to turn me off but something about the word 'culinary' had me curious. So I read it on a whim and it ended up being one of my favorite books of the year. It was quirky and fun and really not all that romantic.

6. Annabel Lyon - The Golden Mean. Normally I love historical fiction but this one seemed just a little too ancient in its historicalness. Alexander the Great? Aristotle? Ancient Greece? It all sounds exciting now that I've read the book, but when I first picked it up, I *dared* it to draw me in - and that's exactly what it did! Huh, go figure. I actually ended up really loving this book.

7. Jane Austen - Anything. I keep reading her because she's clever and fun. But, really, all that pomp and romance is not my cup of tea.

8. Patrick Suskind - Perfume. This was one of the weirdest books I've ever read. I can't say I loved it but it certainly left an impression.

9. Justin Cronin - The Passage. Again, dystopian. But this time I wasn't impressed.

Comfort zone. What is that, anyway? The more I tromp around outside it the wider it gets.

A Top-Ten meme from The Broke and The Bookish


Tracy said...

It's definitely good to read something different. If you thought Animal Farm was weird, there's 1984, THE dystopian political fable.

I need to read The Road and I really need to get to grips with Dostoyevski - both Crime and Punishment and The Idiot have been recommended to me. The Golden Mean is one I added to my wish list a while ago.

And of course, I love Austen - it's her social commentary and wit that appeal - I'm not big on romance. An excellent list, Trish.

toni d. said...

Totally with you on The Road. I think it was the first ever dystopian novel I've read. It's kind of like a crash scene, where you're so horrified to look but you can't look away. I'm too chicken to watch the movie, even though I'm a huge fan of Viggo Mortensen. :(

Trish said...

Tracy - yes, 1984 is one I should get my hands on, too. I'm trying to incorporate a little more dystopian into my reading.

toni - the movie was actually kind of boring, I thought. The book is MUCH better!

Beth said...

I like your take on “comfort zone.” Some risks I take with books pay off, others don’t. Still, it’s always worth a try.
Thanks for sharing!

Amy @ bookgoonie said...

I want to read The Road. Great list.

Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Yeah, it took me over 100 pages to get into The Passage (which was my big criticism of the book). But once the story got going I really liked it :)

Trish said...

Beth - Yes, one never knows . . .

Amy - I hope you like it as much as I did. It's weird but has a great message.

Kat - You're welcome:)

Sarah said...

It's so great that you're doing this - I've thought of trying books outside my comfort zone, but I never get around to it! Your post has given me some new ideas for books-I-should-read.

Bev Hankins said...

I tried Crime and Punishment and couldn't do it. I may get back to it one of these days.

I had forgotten about Perfume. Definitely out of the comfort zone...but an interesting read.

Beth said...

Wonderful list! (Also loved your use of tromp! High five for that!)

Trish said...

Sarah - I haven't always done that, it's just something I'm enjoying right now. The stars have to be aligned right, I think. lol

Bev - Yeah, those Russian novels are a workload alright. I'm trying to gird my loins for another foray into their territory.

Beth - lol

Hollie said...

Thanks for stopping by! I loved The Road, and ended up forcing it upon my friend until he agreed to read it. Orwell is sat on my tbr pile, waiting for the day I attempt to read his works! :)

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Yeah, I couldn't figure out what "comfort zone" meant exactly, though I like your definition :) I completely agree with The Passage, though Dystopian is usually a favorite. Still haven't read The Road...

Tanya Patrice said...

I haven't thought about Animal Farm in forever but I loved that book - I think it might have been what taught me to look for deeper meaning in things. You've got a very interesting list.

Maestra Amanda said...

Great list. I think we all get caught up in our favorite authors and anything that isn't them is outside our comfort zone, but I really like your list.
Thanks for visiting my top 10!


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I didn't like Crime and Punishment :(
But then, I was very young when I read it, so maybe I should try it again with the benefit or more years of experience?

Animal Farm I loved though!

And Perfume - what was with the ending? Crazy!

Laura said...

"Comfort zone. What is that, anyway? The more I tromp around outside it the wider it gets."

Yes, quite- couldn't have said it better myself! It's great, isn't it? :)

Willa said...

Great list - I felt the same way about The Passage! OUt of my comfort zone but not impressed.

DeniseF said...

Crime and Punishment is one of my favorites! Thanks for stopping by!

Just a Lil Lost said...

Good call on The Passage.. I was kinda disappointed in it too.. like, parts of it were good but it seemed a bit.. lacking in something.

Thanks for stopping by!

Michele | My Top 10

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

I loved Perfume, but then, I tend to love weird!!

I couldn't finish Crime and Punishment, got about 2/3 through and then just skimmed the rest to see what happened. I was bored, and I despised Rashkolnikov - did I get his name right? It's been a while. I just don't like self-indulgent books or people, and his constant whining and I'm-falling-apart drama really annoyed me. I get hate mail for disliking it on Goodreads; some people really seem to take it personally!

Trish said...

Hollie - that's funny about your friend. I've pushed it on a few people, too - with mixed results lol. I've got to get to some more Orwell soon, too.

melissa - oooh if you like dystopian already, you should really get your hands on The Road.

Tanya - yes, it kind of creeped me out that things were never what they seemed. And also that the 'leaders' always made it seem like they had everyone's best interest in mind. Yeah, sure.

Maestra - comfort zones are great but I also get caught up in other people's excitement about what they're reading. And often it's something I might never have noticed otherwise.

Sam - Perfume, I know! ugh. Maybe try another Dostoyevski instead of rereading C&P. I plan to give him another go, too.

Laura - heh, yeah . . . love that comfort zone.

Willa - And my hopes were so high! Oh well. I hear they're making a movie? It better be good.

Denise - It was good, wasn't it?

Lil lost - if only the second part was like the first part, it would have been much better. It could have used a good thorough editing, too.

Shannon - yes, I can certainly can see your point about C&P. He did spend most of the book dithering about his crimes. Silly man. Just come clean already, so we can all close the book and go home!

Kailana said...

Most of these books would be outside my comfort zone, too. Some I own and will read one day...

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I think you and I have similar tastes, as I also love Kingsolver and Bryson.

I almost listed The Road on my post, too, before I realize that it might not qualify since I read everything McCarthy publishes.

New follower!

LBC said...

I almost included Austen. I didn't like her at first, but she grew on me.

Laura @ The Scarlet Letter.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You are such a wise reader...."Comfort zone. What's that, anyway? The more I tromp around outside it the wider it gets."

That is certainly what I want.

Trish said...

Kailana - That's what's so great about books is that they're always there and ready when you are.

Crowe - Aren't those authors fabulous?! The Road is the only McCarthy book I've read but I have All the Pretty Horses on my TBR shelf. Thanks for the visit! I enjoyed your blog, too. All that blue makes me feel like I'm on the ocean.

LBC - Yes, she does grow on me, too. Every time I read her I think Hmm that was pretty good after all.

Deb - wise? why thank you :) I was thinking more along the lines of irreverent and disorganized. I mostly approach my reading with no real plan other than curiosity.

ConnieGirl said...

Awesome list!! I totally agree with you on The Road and Animal Farm. What fantastic books, even if their "genres" might scare people off!

Jenna St. Hilaire said...

Animal Farm was way outside my comfort zone, too. I actually cried angry tears after that one. I'm still mad at those pigs.

Crime and Punishment was such a fantastic book. Loved it. The Brothers K is different, a little more rambly and a little less resolution, but still good.

Love all your book quotes and pictures! This is a beautiful blog. And thanks for stopping by mine. :)

Trish said...

Connie - I try and take the word 'genre' with a grain of salt.

Jenna - Thank you for your kind words :) It's been a year since I read C&P but you've encouraged me to revisit his books.