Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Top Ten Books That Took Me Out of My Comfort Zone

It's Tuesday, and that means it's Top Ten day over at The Broke and the Bookish.  Head on over there to link to lots of great blogs and lots of fun lists.

Today's topic is Top Ten Books That Took Me Out of My Comfort Zone I had no trouble making this list because in the past seven years, I have a read a lot of books for my various book groups that I never would have chosen on my own.  I’ve focused here on the ones that I was pleasantly surprised by! 

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – I just recently read this for one book group and never would have chosen a book about the Vietnam War on my own, but it was well-written and powerful.
March by Geraldine Brooks – I’m a huge Brooks fan now, but I used to think I didn’t like historical fiction, until my neighborhood book group chose this one, and I loved it!
River of Doubt by Candace Millard – again, a selection by my neighborhood book group, nonfiction about Teddy Roosevelt’s trip down the Amazon, at a time when I rarely read nonfiction.  Absolutely fascinating.
The Lost Years by KristinaWandzilak and Constance Curry – read for a book discussion at a local bookstore.  It’s a memoir by a mother and daughter about the daughter’s spiral down into drug addiction – not a topic I would typically choose.
The Innocent Man by John Grisham – I love Grisham’s novels but probably wouldn’t have read this nonfiction book about an innocent man on death row on my own, until my book group read it.  Enlightening and eye-opening.
The Nine by Jeffrey Toomis – a nonfiction book about the Supreme Court?  Yawn!  But I read it for my neighborhood book group and found it very interesting.
Still Me by Christopher Reeve – I don’t normally read celebrity memoirs, but Reeve was an amazing and inspirational person.
Holy Skirts by RenĂ© Steinke – Funny story with this one.  It was the very first book I read for my neighborhood book group, which had been together for about 10 years before I joined.  Every single person in the group hated it and thought the main character was a pervert – except me!  I liked the book.  Happily, they let me stay!
Shattered by Debra Puglisi Sharp – the very disturbing true story of a local woman who was kidnapped and held captive for days, after her husband was murdered.  One of our book group members is friends with the woman, so we read it and she came to our meeting.  The book was compelling, and I was surprised to find I could relate to the author.
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant – another historical novel that I would never have read on my own, but I found myself getting drawn into it and ultimately enjoying it.

So, that's my list!  I had a tougher time making my list of Top Ten Kids/Teen/YA Books That Took Me Out of My Comfort Zone - check it out over at Great Books for Kids and Teens.
How about you?  Which books took you out of your comfort zone?


  1. Wow, first list I've seen today where I haven't read any of the books on it! Most of these I haven't even heard of, which I love. I noticed how many you read because of a book club - I have a few on my list because of book clubs, and there are more that didn't make it. Even the ones I didn't like, I'm still glad a book club made me read it, know what I mean?

    Here's my list.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly about The Things They Carried--it's a difficult book to read.

    For me, it's got to be Dubliners. I am (was) not a big fan of Joyce, and to even sit down and attempt this work was a big deal for me!

  3. Yes, exactly, Shannon! I belong to two book groups that I try to go to each time (one meets every 2 months; the other every 6 weeks) and I sometimes manage to go to the library's monthly book discussion, too. Before book groups, I read a pretty narrow range of books - the book groups have really broadened my horizons!

  4. Cath -

    I've never read any Joyce - one of many authors on my I Can't Believe I've Never Read Him/Her list!!

  5. I really enjoyed The Birth of Venus, too. Have you read In The Company of the Courtesan? It's also very good.

  6. No, I haven't, Trish - will have to look into that one - thanks!


  7. Oh my! I remember the story of Debra Puglisi Sharp. I don't think I read that book, but I definitely read a long newspaper magazine article about it. How amazing that were able to meet her. If I remember correctly, she was absolutely heroic and instrumental in her survival. I remember feeling so emotional after reading her story. Especially since her husband did not survive. What an interesting discussion that must have been!

  8. Pam -

    yes, that's right. I actually ended up missing the meeting she came to, but I read her book, and it was an amazing tale of heroic survival, not just during the crime but also dealing with its aftermath.