Books That Took Me Out Of My Comfort Zone – Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is brought to you by my other blog – The Broke and the Bookish and the letter “L”…because L is for licorice..and I’m eating some right now. BUT EW BLACK taste like POOP. Strawberry = win.

Now, if you’ve been a reader of my blog for a’ll know that I’m an eclectic reader. If you haven’t been, welll then…hello…I’m Jamie and I read very eclectically. I will read juuust about anything. So it’s not like I just read from one or two genres…so this one was KINDA hard for me.

1. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov: This book, also mentioned last week in books that made me EMOTE ALLL OVER THE PLACE, was out of my comfort zone because I typically really have a hard time reading books about pedophiles. I didn’t want to be in a sick perverts mind but this book was on all sorts of lists. It gave me the creepy crawlies but Nabokov really is an incredible writer and it was sort of worth the read…but VERY outside of my comfort zone.

2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: I NEVER read paranormal before a bunch of people on Goodreads commanded me to. I thought paranormal was weird and totally something i wouldn’t like and I felt SO embarrassed walking up to the counter with this book. BUT it definitely made me realize that I could enjoy paranormal. And luckily, I’ve found MUCH better paranormal books since Twilight! Like SHADE...sorry I just reviewed it and HAD to plug it because it was fabulous. 😛

3. Crank by Ellen Hopkins: I had never read a novel in verse before I read this one. I was pretty skeptical of it when I saw the structure of the novel when a friend showed me but I’m SO glad I read it. I know can enjoy a good novel in verse from time to time!

4. What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson: I think that this was out of my comfort zone just because I had NEVER read a LGBT book. I didn’t really know what to expect and I guess I just naively thought that because I wasn’t LGBT that it “wasn’t written for me”. That might sound weird but I just had no idea what to expect but I’m SO glad I read it. This book was really wonderful and I learned that LGBT lit isn’t just for LGBT! Seems like a silly lesson..but hey..I didn’t know any better!

5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: While I love memoirs and I love travel lit..something about this book just seemed like something I didn’t want to read. I kept thinking, “WHAT could I possibly learn from a 30 year old divorcee taking a trip around the world.” It just seemed not at all like something I’d enjoy. But there were things about it that I did enjoy (some that I didn’t) but it made me not fear super girly looking covers 😛

6. I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb — This is only on here because I listened to this on audio…my FIRST audio ever. Sooo THAT was way way way out of my comfort zone. I since have learned to really love audiobooks!

7. Stiff by Mary Roach: I always read non-fiction before this book but it was always memoirs or biographies or books about topics I was really into — like music or something. This was really outside my comfort zone because it was the most random non-fiction I ever bought and it was about CADAVERS. That’s right, cadavers…like dead bodies. This book was actually quite humorous and insightful and just didn’t feel like reading non-fiction at all. SO glad I read it despite how weird it looked and how when I read it during my lunch break that I always got the stink eye for reading about dead bodies.

8. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: While I read lots of non-fiction, I NEVER READ SELF HELP-ish books. I always think blah blah blah stop telling me what to do because I feel like most of the time their advice sucks or that they are just putting a bandaid on a bigger problem. ANYWHO..I read this and felt really inspired by it. I don’t think I’ll be perusing the self help section anytime soon but I needed this book in really bad life slump!

9. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – Pretty much I don’t read books about war. Sure, I’ll read a book set during a historical fiction..but not books about soldiers and war and what not. No particularly reason just never appealed to me. THIS BOOK. I was supposed to read it in 10th grade and write a paper..I sparknoted that shiz and got an A without reading the book. But then it resurfaced in college and I had to do a HUGE project revolving around it. So I HAD to read it. I’m so sososososo glad I did. Truly a remarkable book. Very quotable and my project was the SHIZ.

10.  Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon – For as much as I read, I really have never gotten into fantasy. It’s not that I don’t LIKE it…I just never have had the guidance of which books to read. I really really loved this book! I’m sure there is much more intense and intricate fantasy books but this was a good one to make me realize I DO enjoy it.

But honestly, as someone who doesn’t really have much of a comfort zone because I’ll read anything..I honestly challenge you all to try and read outside of your comfort zone more often. It’s amazing the gems you find. Even just one book a year that’s different than what you’d normally read.

What about you guys? What’s ONE book that was really outside of your comfort zone that your read? Did you like it?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. fishgirl182 says:

    What a diverse list. I want to read Lolita. I hear it's really good. Never heard of stiff but I am intrigued.

  2. 1girl2manybooks says:

    Lolita is an awesome choice for this – I would've included it on my list but I haven't actually finished. It keeps squicking me out and I have to put it down and go back to it later.

  3. Anne Bennett says:

    The Things They Carried was so awesome yet I had my doubts about it as a war story. Good example.

    Anne@My head is full of books

  4. I definitely felt like I had to stretch to come up with my list because I really don't have a comfort zone either! If someone I trust tells me I need to read something, chances are I will!

    I love the diversity of your list – from Twilight to Stiff.

    The Things They Carried & Silver Phoenix are both on my list to read so I'm glad to know you enjoyed them.

  5. I have Lolita on my list too, actually my little statement is almost identical to yours!

    Interesting list, I think I'll have to take a look for Crank.

  6. Wally Lamb (anything by him) and Lolita are two that totally slipped my mind while I was making my list… Good choices! Here are mine.

  7. I felt the same way about Eat Pray Love!! I plan on reading Lolita in the near future, but I keep putting it off because I think that it might creep me out a bit.
    Great list!

  8. Great list 🙂 Lots of books I haven't read there.

    My top ten is here if you'd like a look 🙂

  9. I always feel awkward buying paranormal books…not so much anymore because I buy them so often, but before I would always think that the cashier was judging me…lol

    If you've got time, feel free to check out my Top Ten Tuesday 🙂

  10. April BooksAndWine says:

    I love how we both opened with pretty much the same thing — with how hard it was to pick books for this because of our large comfort zones!

    Crank was on my list too. I'm glad that free verse books don't suck.

    AND YAY TO THE READ OUTSIDE YOUR ZONE CHALLENGE at the end. Seriously, reading is a much richer experience when you read widely.

  11. Lolita is one I haven't read yet. It's on my TBR shelf but I'm just not sure how I will feel about it all. LOL 'emote all over the place' yeah, I'll possibly do that, too.

  12. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    I really wish I would have read Eat Pray Love before I saw the movie because I was told it's way better (and I wasn't a fan of the movie anyway!).

  13. LianneLavoie says:

    When you said you don't really read fantasy, I was like "how can you be eclectic and not read fantasy?". Then I realised that there are lots of other genres and thinking that is a sign of how un-eclectic I am. 😛 For me broadening my horizons is reading a different sub-genre of fantasy, haha!

    Off the top of my head, I can't even think of a book I've read that's outside my comfort zone. Maybe I should try to find some of those. 🙂

  14. Melissa (Avid Reader) says:

    The Happiness Project was an odd one for me to read as well, but I did really read enjoy it. I don't venture into the self-help genre, ever, but that one somehow worked for me.

  15. LoL at the licorice. I think it all taste like poop. Not that I have eaten poop or anything. 🙂

    I felt silly buying Twilight too, but I had to see what all the hype was about.. I have since then been reading mostly YA

    I wanted to participate in the top ten for the first time this week, but I got busy and had no time 🙁

    However… because it's your lucky day I will share with you the book that would have been at the top of my "out of my comfort" Zone.

    Miles and the Magic Flute by Heidi Cullinan

    I won it off of goodreads… I knew that it was about a gay romance in a fantasy world. The gay aspect didn't bother me at all. It turned out to be a Gay Erotic book complete with a well endowed faerie beast who was hot to trot for the main character. Perhaps I should have read the description a little better before entering. It certainly was an eye opener. I have watched porn with less sex than that. lol.

    Anyway, I sucked it up and finished it. I had won it, so I felt obligated to review it.

    I suppose sucked it up isn't a very appropriate term to use in this discussion considering the subject material.

    Okay, I'm done now.. :0) Def gonna try to participate next week. I saw that I can look ahead to schedule it.

  16. GF Book Mom says:

    I haven't read all of the books, but I can relate to Twilight. Here's my post

  17. I'm an eclectic reader as well, and most of the time, I'm usually willing to give a book a chance even if I'm not so into the genre.

    I felt the same about Twilight and Eat, Pray, Love. And I just finished The Happiness Project and I really liked it. 🙂

  18. Jenni Elyse says:

    I don't think I can handle Lolita, even if the writing is great. I think it would cause my psyche to have too many issues. But, I have been very curious about it.

  19. Sarah (The Book Life) says:

    I read Stiff a couple of years ago and thought it was quite humorous, too! People definitely thought it was strange that I was reading about cadavers. I haven't brought myself to pick up Lolita, despite it's popularity, maybe someday…
    My Top Ten

  20. Sue Jackson says:

    Good list! You inspired me to participate, even though I was having a really busy day.

    I just recently read The Things They Carried and it definitely made my top 10 list this week, too!


    Book By Book

  21. Good list. I don't usually like war books, but love O'Brien as well.

    Laura @ The Scarlet Letter.

  22. I have Crank sitting in my to-read pile from the library right now. Ah! You're making me want to pick it up instead of the other book I chose to read next. Choices, choices!

  23. ConnieGirl says:

    Awesome list, as always, Jamie. You have some awesome books on there! I'm glad you actually read The Things They Carried! I loooove that book.

  24. Hey! Black licorice tastes like licorice. If it weren't for black licorice there would be no strawberry! Show some respect! 🙂

    The only book on here that I've read is The Things They Carried, which I also had to read in high school (but actually did). I read it again in college too. Good book, but tough.