Today at The Broke and the Bookish, the topic is books we've read in the past year(ish) that are outside of our usual reading preferences or outside of our comfort zone. In case you haven't figured this out, I have fairly eclectic tastes, so I'm not sure what my 'comfort zone' is, but here are a few that stood out from the past year.
Outside Of My Comfort Zone Reads
1. The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King: This book was difficult to read, because it forced me to confront the history that I'd been taught in school and the privileges that I hold as a white person in Canada. It was a good book, but challenging to process.
2. The Orenda by Joseph Boyden: I LOVED this book, but it was difficult. It's a heavy read, and there is violence and abuse in it, and even more, as with The Inconvenient Indian, it forces Canadians to see our own history from a different perspective.
3. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande: I've blogged previously about how much I loved this book, but it was outside of my comfort zone, because I don't like thinking about the fact that my parents will get older and their health will decline (as will mine, obviously). I don't like having to think about the decisions we'll have to make one day. Having grandparents that have recently moved into assisted living, it was a really poignant read.
Atypical Books (For Me)
4. Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn: I have been a die-hard Star Wars fan since childhood, so I got on a kick shortly after watching the most recently film, even though I tend to dislike traditional science fiction (i.e., books with aliens and spaceships). I can't say this was my favourite book of the year, but it was fun to read more about some of my old friends Han and Leia, so I'll probably read the rest of the trilogy.
5. Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman: I never saw the TV show, and I tend to be very skeptical of popular memoirs, but something about this intrigued me.
6. Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders by Linda Sillitoe and Allan D. Roberts: The truth is, I only read this because we were doing a school presentation on the Mormon forgeries. It is the opposite of the kind of book I would usually pick up, since I generally have no interest in true crime. Also, this book was massively in need of a good edit....
7. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: I don't typically read Westerns, but this one was great!
8. The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey: I read this for a book club, but generally horror is not my thing.
9. The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett: I read this book because I took part in a summer reading challenge, and I needed a bestseller from the year of my birth (1980). I can't say I liked this book. I'm not a huge fan of spy thrillers and this wasn't particularly well-written, but oh well.
10. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: This was my first introduction to Neil Gaiman. I think I get him a bit more now that I've read American Gods, but at first I was twisting my brain trying to figure out all the symbolism in The Ocean at the End of the Lane.