thinking out loud

BTT: Comfort Zones

What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?
And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

Hmm… even though I have a general comfort zone within which I choose my books (YA, Fantasy), I tend to read other types of book whenever they strike my fancy, so I can’t really think of one book that stands out among others. I would say Francesca Lia Block’s Girl Goddess #9, because at the time I read it, it was nothing like I had ever read before. But by now, YA books like hers have become a norm to me. I could also say R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf and Icewind Dale trilogies, because game-based fantasy is definitely NOT among my normal reads. And now it even got me forget about the fact that I hate being the only girl in a party and started playing D&D. I could choose Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, because I usually don’t read science fiction. Or The Long Tail, because most people would never peg me as someone who would read a business book all the way through. I could choose Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and Digital Fortress, because I don’t like reading mysteries or thrillers and I usually run in the opposite direction from uber-popular books/authors – I still haven’t read The Kite Runner or Tuesdays With Morrie, even though I was a little interested. Harry Potter doesn’t count as I started reading the books before they became big. In short, a lot of the books I read, whether or not they fall into my supposed “comfort zone”, are actually not what I would normally choose.

The results, though, are almost always happy. Francesca Lia Block made me seek out other YA books that are not by Christopher Pike or L.J. Smith, R.A. Salvatore got me gaming and reading more of Drizzt’s stories (not to mention stop being snobbish about game-based fiction!), Douglas Adams made me think that sci-fi can’t be all that bad if something this amazing falls under the category, and Dan Brown… well. Dan Brown was just a mistake I made because I was stuck in Malacca with no books of my own. :/

~ originally posted on blogspot

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