Sunday, December 13, 2015

Month of Faves - Reading Outside My Comfort Zone

I like to think that I'm fairly open to reading outside my comfort zone. I read nonfiction, literary fiction, women's fiction, mystery/thriller, books. But, let's be honest, it generally takes a little push from someone else to really get me to travel well out of my zone. If it weren't for Ti (Book Chatter), I never would have read The Wind-up Bird Chronicles. If not for the rave review by Andi (Estella's Revenge), I would never have found The Sparrow. Heck, if it had not been for the King-Along gang, I would not have found my way back to Stephen King. This year both Ti and the King-Along gang again pushed me to step outside of my usual fare.

This year I read King's Misery with the King-Along group. To be honest, it was not that much of a stretch out of my usual fare, lacking any fantastical elements. On the other hand, much, much more gruesome that the kind of thing I usually pick up.

Ti pushed me further when I joined her in reading Haruki Murakami's Kafka On The Shore. Talking cats, other dimensions, Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders - definitely out of my wheel house. Murakami baffles me and widens my world. He brings the fantastical squarely into the real world. I've finished both of the books I've read by him wondering what just happened but no really caring if I missed the finer points. The only question at the end of this read was when should I start my next Murakami?

Perhaps the biggest steps I took out of my comfort zone this year was to pick up more books about the African-American experience. In February my book club read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Although it may have been as much a PR effort as an autobiography, it was still an eyeopener for a group of white, suburban women. Balm, by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler, The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi Durrow, Finn by Jon Clinch, and, especially, The Book of Night Women by Marlon James all made me realize that I have a lot to learn about the culture of my own country. Events of the year in the real world only drove home how important it is for all of us to try to understand each other. To that end, I'll definitely be looking to read more books by African-Americans and about African-Americans in the coming year.

What did you read that was outside of your comfort zone this year?

No comments:

Post a Comment