Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

When I was young, I found books I liked and I continued to look for and find and read books that were comfortable, affirming, predictable.

As I have gotten older, I've learned that some of my favorite reads have been books outside my comfort zone. 

Here's a list of some of my favorite books that are outside my comfort zone. 



Game of Thrones 
Why it's outside my comfort zone? Violence. Treatment of women. 
Why do I love it? It's filled with characters who feel true to their world.

The Things They Carried
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  Violence. War. 
Why do I love it? It's a glimpse into the reality of war.

True Grit
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  I have no interest in westerns. 
Why do I love it? Great characters. Brilliant dialogue.



A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  The characters are judgmental and self-righteous, and do everything in the name of Christ.
Why do I love it? Wonderful writing.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  The book is about motorcycles and philosophy, and I don't know much about either.
Why do I love it? It's filled with great wisdom about living in the world today. It helped me get through a hard time.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  A man turns into a bug. Yuck.
Why do I love it? It perfectly captures the isolation of modern life.



My Name is Asher Lev
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  The plot, a story about a Hasidic Jew who wants to be an artist, did not appeal to me.
Why do I love it? I am fascinated with the story of a man torn between his religion and his desire to be creative.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  Violence. War.
Why do I love it? It's an amazing depiction of a prisoner of war camp during WWII.

Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  Who in the world would want to read a boring book about being civil to others?
Why do I love it? It presents a way to talk with people you disagree with, and that seems like something we all might need to read.




Anna Karenina
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  It's a very long book.
Why do I love it? It's a great story of a woman conflicted about doing the right thing or the thing she wants to do.

Moby Dick
Why it's outside my comfort zone?  Meandering. All male characters. Violence against whales. Daunting vocabulary.
Why do I love it? It is a story that takes on everything: man vs. nature, man vs. man, man vs. himself. 


Have you read any of these? What do you think about them? Which books have you read outside your comfort zone that you loved? 




Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

24 comments:

  1. I loved The Things They Carried and never expected to.

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    1. It certainly doesn’t seem like a book we’d like, does it?

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  2. I was not a fan of My Name Is Asher Lev when I tried to read it. I'll need to give it another chance sometime!

    My TTT.

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    1. I love the conflict Asher feels between his beliefs and his creativity.

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  3. I've read The Things They Carried and loved it too. I might have to try True Grit. The Harry Potter books are outside my comfort zone (because they're fantasy) but I loved them.

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    1. True Grit amazed me with the beauty of the storytelling.

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  4. I've only read two of these and both were OK-ish for me. The Kafka book was way back in my school days and, yes, man to bug. Ick. I think that this O'Brien book was an early Mayor's Book Club entry for Austin. Perhaps. I know I read it. Remember exactly nothing. Ha!

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  5. Just shows that one should actually go outside ones comfort zone. I do read a lot of different genres, but sometimes the summary of the book at the back cover doesn't seem to appeal to me. From your choices I would say: Game of Thrones - no, only because I have seen the TV-series and can't go through it again. I am thinking sometimes to try one book, just to get the hang of how he writes. True Grit I could read because it is a good story and I love westerns! Anna Karenina, yes, although it is a thick book. Moby Dick, yes, doing a read-along which is just fine.

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    1. I’ve honestly only read book one of Game of Thrones. That was plenty for me.

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  6. I haven't read any of these but one book I did read was Zoya by Danielle Steele, way back in 1987. I was not then and am still not a fan of historical fiction, but it is still in the top 5 of my all time favorite books. I plan on doing a re-read of it soon.

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    1. Sometimes a book from a genre you don’t love can surprise you.

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  7. I love Anna Karenina so much. It's hard to convince people to not get scared by the length but it's so worth it!

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  8. On your list, I have only read The Things They Carried. Like you, it's out of my usual reading, but I thought it was interesting.

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  9. I love the way you describe your situation for each book, and I had a good laugh for your first line on Kafka's!!
    So glad you discovered these. I so loved Chaim Potok's book, in fact I have devoured all his books. All so so good.
    I also participated today: https://wordsandpeace.com/2019/09/03/top-ten-books-outside-my-comfort-zone/

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  10. What a great post! I'm with you on The Game of Thrones, usually I don't like fantasy (or so much sex!) but it was riveting. Anna Karenina will always be one of my very favorites; my heart has bled for her, and wanted to slap her, depending on which time I was rereading it. And, Narrow Road was so violent...and so unforgettable.

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    1. I want to recommend Narrow Road more, but I can’t think who else might like it.

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  11. Anna Karenina is such a great book. I loved Game of Thrones too, even though I don't typically enjoy fantasies that are quite so epic. Like you mentioned, the characters are just so well drawn and that I couldn't help but become completely invested in them.

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    1. I read the first Game of Thrones and tried to watch the tv show. Funny, but I couldn’t watch.

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  12. I have read most of these books, and none are outside my comfort zone. Strangely enough as I have aged and experienced more of the world, my comfort zone has expanded.
    A side note: As I type this, I am "watching" the sequel to True Grit starring John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn.It is titled Rooster Cogburn.

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!