Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Ten Books That Were Out of My Comfort Zone

Today's Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish:

1. The Theory of Everything by Stephen Hawking

I challenged myself to read this, and the first time, as interested as I was, I couldn't wrap my head around it. The second time I got through and understood a lot better, although much of it is still beyond me. Still, I'm interested and appreciate Hawkin's effort to write simply, so I know I will read this again someday.

2. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Not the type of thing I normally read, this was for a 16th century British literature class (even though it's Italian), but I really loved it. It wasn't an entirely quick or easy read, but funny in parts and very thoughtful.

3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Nabokov is a master of language, so that in itself is difficult, but the subject matter was really what was out of my comfort zone. I'm glad I read it, but I can honestly say it made me distinctly uncomfortable the whole time and I definitely never warmed to Humbert Humbert.

4. Neuromancer by William Gibson

This weird compendium of technobabble eventually overcame me, I just couldn't get past all the new universe/technology distractions to the story.

5. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

I was very intimidated to read Joyce, and he's not really my cup of tea, but I got through it and really learned a lot about reading in general as well as Joyce's style and intentions in particular.

6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Faulkner and I just don't get on. I can't get past the dialect and confusing language and organization in general. Didn't finish, maybe another time.

7. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

What a title! Stream of consciousness drove me crazy, but I got through it. I've met Eggers though and he was so nice, it made me want to try one of his other books, despite not really digging this one.

8. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Not the kind of thing I usually read, with good reasons. One of the most boring and predictable books I've ever read.

9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Again, I don't usually read thrillers, but this one got such high praise, I picked it up and really enjoyed it. So, just goes to show you shouldn't write off an entire genre.

10. Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris

"Trashy", chick-lit vampire books are not really my cup of tea either, these are fluffy, but amusing reads, if you can ignore the recaps of all the silly, dramatic events that have gone before.


Sue Jackson said...

Great list! We seem to have similar tastes.

I have always meant to read Stephen Hawking, William Faulkner, and James Joyce but haven't yet.

Lolita is definitely out of my comfort zone, and I haven't been brave enough to try it yet, despite its renown.

I also enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and wasn't thrilled with a Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.


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Trish said...

How cool that you met Dave Eggers! I read HBWoSG when it first came out, and LOVED it. Unfortunately, I tried reading it again last year and couldn't get through it - ugh- I don't know what happened. It was like it was a completely different book.

Biblibio said...

I find it somewhat interesting that most of the books that were outside your comfort zone seemed to have been there for a reason. While I believe that it's important to try to stretch outside our comfort zones, I think it's unreasonable to expect that these books would necessarily blow our minds. It's a hit-or-miss kind of situation, but it's good to see what comes out of it. Your list certainly shows that.