January 3, 2011

"Read Outside Your Comfort Zone" Challenge

I've seen some other bloggers initiating challenges for 2011, and it inspired me to come up with my own. So lo and behold...the Read Outside Your Comfort Zone Challenge!

I think most of us like to stick with certain genres of books, but every once in a while, it's good to explore something we might not normally read. Expanding your reading horizons leads to finding more great books and learning more about your own reading tastes.

This challenge encompasses any and all genres; the point is to pick some books you would ordinarily pass by or shy away from. Never liked history class? Pick some historical fiction. Uneasy about werewolves? Read some paranormal books. They do not all have to belong to the same genre - the goal is just to stretch your reading choices a little!

The levels:

1-3 books: Peering Out the Window
4-6 books: Opening the Door
7-10 books: Standing on the Porch
11-15 books: Walking through the Neighbourhood
16-20 books: Exploring the Unknown

The challenge will run from now until Dec. 31, 2011 (you can sign up at any point). I'm not sure yet just how many books I'll get to, but here are some I have in mind:

- The first in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and/or Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I am not a big vampire fan (although I did go through a Twilight phase) and the few vampire books I've read haven't appealed to me that much. However, I have heard fabulous things about both of these books, so I figure I should give them a try.

- Non-fiction. I read almost no non-fiction, but I'm sure there are some fabulous books out there I'm missing. Any suggestions for this category? Biographies/memoirs, perhaps?

- Books with PoC (people of color) characters and/or written by PoC authors. There need to be more of these in YA as it is, and The Story Siren's feature on PoC books last year made me realize that I haven't read all that many. The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson has been on my wishlist for a while now (it's being released this month). Others I'm considering are Duplikate by Cherry Cheva, When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer, and Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang.

- Some of the lighter, fluffier-looking YA books I might ordinarily pass on. For instance, the Pretty Little Liars series or You Wish by Mandy Hubbard.

- Adult fiction. I haven't had too much success with adult fiction in the past, but there have been the occasional books (Still Alice by Lisa Genova, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, and some of Jodi Picoult's novels) that I have definitely enjoyed. I'm thinking about reading more books by these authors - Left Neglected by Lisa Genova and The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen are both being published this year. Any suggestions for other similar books you think I might like? Or adult books that would also be suitable for YA readers?

If you would like to join me in this challenge, fill out the form below! And feel free to grab this button to put on your sidebar :)

A Tapestry of Words


  1. This is a wonderful idea for a challenge Danya! Since blogging I have been reading a little bit more out of my comfort zone, especially after recieving review copies I wouldn't usually pick up. My out of comfort zone reads sound pretty similar to yours. I'll be filling in the form after I've posted about it :)

  2. Fabulous idea Danya! I'm so set in my comfort zone I hardly read anything outside of paranormal YA or adult fiction, but I'm sure there are tons of books I'm missing out on! Looking forward to seeing what you think of Vampire Academy given you're not a huge fan of vampires:)

  3. That sounds like a great idea! I'll definitely join after I come up with a couple I'd read for it! I'm really bad at reading things I don't think I'll like.

  4. Last year, I read a lot of books that were outside of my comfort zone (or at least that had been for a long time). I hadn't touched paranormal novels since the early 90s and at that time, they were actually more of a horror theme then a romance angle, but I read and actually loved a lot of them. I also had scoffed at Pride & Prejudice & Zombies when I first saw it, but I read Jane Slayre and Romeo & Juliet & Vampire last year, which were both enjoyable. I also have been quite vocal about reading (despite my uncertainty) and absolutely loving Confessions Of The Sullivan Sisters. I think that the best part of reading outside of your comfort zone is that you can be super surprised and impressed by what you find.

  5. Thanks for your comment and for giving some additional suggestions to Blayne. I wanted to help support her idea in any way I could.

    Also, it was my pleasure to leave the comment listed above. I know what you mean about being uncertain with mixing Austen (and I suspect other classic authors) with paranormal elements. I can't say that all of these mashups would be enjoyable to me. For example, I've heard that there are a lot of fart jokes in P&P&Z, which just sounds terrible to me. What I've found with some other mashup artists, in particular, Sherri Erwin Browning who created Jane Slayre is that they can offer a loving hand to the original novel, and if that isn't there for me, then I don't think I could get into it. With R&J&V, which I didn't love quite as much as Jane Slayre, I still was able to something positive from it. Moreover, I came to the conclusion that Shakespeare couldn't be untouchable because all of his plays except The Tempest were based on earlier narratives and plays. True, he perfected them, but he himself was a mashup artist writ large. In fact The Tempest is considered to be his least successful play.

    I'm sure that you'll love Confessions and in a similarly surprising/more than meets the eye type of book, I'd also recommend Erin Downing's novel Kiss It.

  6. Haven't read Jane yet either, but I'm also interested in it. Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite novel. Hope you enjoy it and Kiss It if you do in fact read them. :)

  7. I can't speak to the Vampire Academy series, as I've never read it, but I did like Sunshine. Also, all the different covers for Sunshine are equally gorgeous, and that never hurts, right?


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