Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fiction Friction (#9): Reading Books Outside Your Comfort Zone

These posts are meant to bring about some conversation, discussion, and perhaps even a debate. These discussion posts can occur at varying days of the week, mostly depending upon what's scheduled on the blog and what I feel like discussing.

I've run into this...scenario recently. I'll get a book or pick up a book that sounds interesting but isn't something I normally read, whether because of the cover, topic, genre, or whatever. But I've been finding more and more often that these are the books I'm really enjoying. So I've been rethinking what my "comfort zone" is and what I usually like reading.

I usually don't like any of those cheesy, YA contemporary romance covers, and I tend to stay away from such titles. It's one of the reasons why I still haven't read Anna and the French Kiss. But I loved Open Road Summer, I love Sarah Dessen's books, etc. So are these books really outside my comfort zone? Maybe they were or maybe I was a bit embarrassed to be caught reading such books. I realized that perhaps it was less my comfort zone and more of what I thought I liked reading. I've always known that I liked contemporary, but I didn't think I liked YA contemporary romance more than I love fantasy or historical fiction. And now, I realize that by stepping out of what I usually read, I really enjoy YA contemporary of all kinds.

Another example is when I received an ARC of You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert. It's adult chick lit (or it could be). The premise drew me in, but I wasn't sure I'd really enjoy. I ended up LOVING the book. I never would have read it if I saw it in a store, but by stepping out of what I'm used to reading, I discovered another book that I loved.

I think it's really interesting to think about all the books I never knew about before blogging because I wasn't brave or willing enough to try something new. Now, I'm generally not into the paranormal genre, but I'll still try some books out because I may find another awesome book or series. I wasn't huge on dystopian until very recently (and I'm still a little wary at times). But I try to read books for their content and premise rather than their genre now, and I think it's made a huge difference. There are fantasy books I don't like, not necessarily because they're fantasy books. In the same way, there certainly are contemporary/realistic fiction novels that I don't like, but now I think it's less about the genre and more about the book.

Do you have a favorite genre? How do you determine whether or not you read a book? Have you had a similar experience as me? What's one book that surprised you (as in you liked it more than you thought you would)?

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