Reading Out of My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and The Bookish.

Sometimes the Risk Payed Off…

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1. The Stand by Stephen King. I’m a pretty big fan of SK now, but a couple of years ago I avoided his books like the plague. (ha, get it? A book about the plague wiping out humanity…?) A couple of good friends on Goodreads managed to convince me I was missing out, and this is the first of his books I picked up. Turns out they were right!

2. The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough. I have always liked historical fiction, but this one is the first of a series of ridiculously long books that come equipped with huge glossaries. Since they skirt the line between non-fiction and fiction, I assumed they would be dry. Once again, a Goodreads friend told me I was wrong – once again, she was right. The story is in-depth and fascinating, and one of my absolute favorite books of all time.

3. The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I watched the movies when they were marathoning on TV during a holiday break and loved them so I figured – why not? As usual: the book was even better.

4. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. I read this years ago, and (if I remember correctly) it was the first adult paranormal I picked up. Needless to say, I loved it! It is now one of my favorite genres.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. It’s true. When the books were first released, I wasn’t interested. (Of course, I think I was around 12 at the time.) My mom bought the two that were released and I let them sit around until the third was out before I finally picked them up. I fell in love and never looked back.

Sometimes It Didn’t…

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6. The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. To be fair, I already loved adult fantasy when I picked this up. But, by the time I finished it, I basically thought the story was just completely weird and bizarre. I’m pretty much the only person I know that feels that way, but I still can’t be convinced to try again.

7. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. The author is best known for publishing Brokeback Mountain, but this one is on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list so it is the one I read. Ugh. Probably the most incredibly boring story I’ve ever finished.

8. Atonement by Ian McEwan. I read this when it was first published because it was sitting on a “critically acclaimed” shelf at the bookstore. I’m not impressed with a lot of literary fiction and this one was absolutely no exception. Did absolutely nothing for me. (I also found the movie incredibly uninteresting.)

9. Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I tried to read this more than once – never got even close to finishing before giving up.

10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Obviously young adult fantasy is not out of my comfort zone, but I refused to read this for ages because I hate the thought of jumping on a bandwagon just because a series is outrageously popular (Harry Potter being the exception, I don’t even remember how popular it was when I started reading the books). Once I finally gave in and read it, I wished I’d just stuck to my guns.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Bree November 7, 2011, 11:27 pm

    Dead Until Dark (and the rest) are on my list for the same reasons! I have Atonement on my TBR list too.
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  • Anne Bennett November 7, 2011, 11:32 pm

    I loved Shipping News. I found it hilarious. The headlines of each chapter just simply cracked me up. Hope you don’t think I’m boring for liking it.

    Anne@My head is full of books
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  • Kayleigh Murphy November 8, 2011, 12:04 am

    Yay, someone else who didn’t enjoy Ian McEwen!

    Some really good books on your list, it’s great you challenged yourself with them…I mean could you imagine a world without Harry Potter and The Stand?

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  • Jac @ For Love and Books November 8, 2011, 12:10 am

    The Stand was my first King book too, and I have been hooked ever since! I am anxious for his new one that is out this week!

    Here are my ten.
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  • Kathy Coleman November 8, 2011, 2:00 am

    I still have City of Bones sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to get back to it. I bought it and the next book (Can’t remember whether that’s ashes or glass?) and never finished it.

    You had some interesting choices.

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  • April (Books&Wine) November 8, 2011, 6:04 am

    I can’t wait for you to read my City of Bones review, it’s one long rant about Jace being a douchebag.

    Also you know what I LOVE about this list?

    The fact that I’ve read all of them except for three – but the three includes Game Of Thrones which I’m in the middle of reading. And like that just kind of confirms my whole theory about how I’m pretty sure you are my book soulmate because I have a tendency to like all of the books you like and dislike most of the books you dislike. /creeper
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  • trish November 8, 2011, 7:43 am

    The Stand was one of my favorite SK books! Glad you liked it, too.

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  • Mimi @ So Many Books November 8, 2011, 7:57 am

    Good list. I am also an SK fan but he is definitely not for everyone. I’m glad you love him too!

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  • Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) November 8, 2011, 9:54 am

    Aww, I’m sad … I loved City of Bones! But there are YA books that just aren’t for everyone. I had been debating reading Game of Thrones for a while–might leave it on the shelf for a little while more!
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  • A little sun shy November 8, 2011, 10:02 am

    Ooh, breaking the list into what worked for you and didn’t was a stroke of genius!

    I pretty much always want to slap Jace REALLY HARD when reading the City of … books. He’s so… GRR!!!

    I am literally aghast about Game of Thrones, mind.

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  • Books of Amber November 8, 2011, 11:10 am

    I have A Game of Thrones on my list as well. I’m only a couple of chapters in at the moment, but the descriptions are so in depth. It’s very different to anything else I have read. I hope I enjoy it though, it’s a shame you didn’t!
    Books of Amber
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  • gfbooksmom November 8, 2011, 12:24 pm

    I liked all but one of the books. We really have difference tastes.
    Here’s my Post

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  • Mervi November 8, 2011, 12:26 pm

    Don’t worry. I didn’t like Martin, either, and I usually like fantasy. Turns out I don’t really care for the grim and gritty type.

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  • Daisy November 8, 2011, 1:07 pm

    NO! Oh, I’m so sad you didn’t like A Game of Thrones! I’m currently reading the second book in the series and LOVING it!
    I tend to avoid books that have huge hype following them… You not liking City of Bones will not get it bumped up on the to-read list.
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  • Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books November 8, 2011, 1:09 pm

    One of the things that has become clear to me in recent weeks is that I MUST give Stephen King a try. I feel like I’m missing out!
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  • Laura November 8, 2011, 2:33 pm

    Aw, I loved Atonement even though I’m not really a McEwan fan- but that book is well within my comfort zone and I can definitely see reasons to dislike it- same for The Shipping News too really!
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  • Willa November 8, 2011, 2:54 pm

    Great list!! It is quite different from some of the others that I have seen and really inspiring.
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  • Megan Swicegood November 8, 2011, 8:28 pm

    It took me forever to get through Wicked. FOREVER! I only know two other people who’ve finished it and it took them forever too. Wicked wasn’t my first Maguire though – I really enjoyed Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Lost.

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  • Nomes November 8, 2011, 9:39 pm

    oh, i still have to read ‘the stand’ i mean, i REALLY want to, but the size of the thing! really need to carve out some time to get into it 🙂

    also, i did not like city of bones, either 🙂

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  • Melissa @ i swim for oceans November 8, 2011, 9:54 pm

    I’m with you on Harry Potter and Atonement haha Totally similar thoughts! Great list 🙂

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  • fishgirl182 November 9, 2011, 12:28 pm

    i didn’t love atonement either, but city of bones? awww. i liked wicked but it took me a long time to read. it is really dense and kind of depressing. thanks for sharing your list.

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  • Evie November 9, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Ha! I’m happy to see you enjoyed Stephen King and you’re now a fan! 🙂 I grew up reading his books and he is definitely my numero uno writer 🙂 Godfather was also a really great read! I still need to watch the movies, tho!
    Harry Potter? I still didn’t get around to reading this one. I would love to, but it’s a HUGE commitment and I simply can’t spend that much time on one series 😛

    City of Bones turned out to be a disappointment? It was one of my first YA books (first was actually Twilight and back then I didn’t realize that it was in fact an YA). I liked it, it was ok. Didn’t blew me away, but I liked that it had an LGBT characters and was different from what I used to read (Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Philip K. Dick). Cassie’s new series – much better!

    Great post, thanks for sharing!
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