Reflecting on what I’ve read this year, I’ve realized that I’ve accomplished something that I usually do not in 2019: I’ve read quite a few books outside of my comfort zone. Usually (read: always) my reading timeline page is solely YA fiction books, mostly contemporary with a few fantasy mixed in. This year, I think I’ve really branched out and read more genres and age groups than I normally do, including poetry, some graphic novels, middle grade, and adult books.
So, for today’s post, I’ll be sharing some of the books I’ve read that were outside of my comfort zone and why they were outside of my comfort zone as well as what I liked about them and what urged me to pick them up in the first place. Onward!
- The Tea Dragon Society | Katie O’Neill – I picked this one up because I decided I wanted to be a children’s librarian and needed to read more books for kids. I don’t normally gravitate toward graphic novels, especially ones like this that don’t have a lot of text, but I found myself swept up in the beautiful art depicting the story of two girls and adorable creatures with queer themes and friendship themes. I ended up reading another graphic novel by this author called AQUICORN COVE, which I liked even more.
- The Bullet Journal Method | Ryder Carroll – I was unsure about picking this one up because it’s nonfiction, and I don’t read nonfiction pretty much at all unless it’s self-help-y. But, since I am an avid bullet journaler, I gave it a shot, and got a lot of ideas for my bullet journal and my personal life.
- The Kiss Quotient | Helen Hoang – I honestly don’t know what compelled me to try an adult romance. I had read some adult romance before, but it was all unpublished because it was for a publishing internship, and didn’t have a good experience with the genre that way. I went into this one knowing little about it except some bloggers I follow enjoyed it, and I think that was better because if I’d known it was about an escort, I probably wouldn’t have tried it. I ended up loving the writing and totally falling for Stella and Michael’s romance and not being at all uncomfortable with the sex stuff like I had been with romance novels in the past.
- Check, Please! | Ngozi Ukazu – Since this book was a graphic novel about sports I was hesitant to pick it up, but a YA librarian at my library system recommended it at a meeting and said it was also gay and about pie, so I decided to give it a go, and OMG I NEED THE NEXT ONE!! This is slow burn central, which is probably hard to do in a graphic novel, and the MC is so adorable, and I love all the members of his hockey team, and just <3 <3 <3
- Wild Embers | Nikita Gill – Poetry isn’t completely outside my comfort zone because I have read a couple authors in the past who I liked, but they were more of the Instagram poetry style of super short poems and also the tagline style poems. Nikita Gill is maybe more on the literary side of poetry while still appealing to pop culture, in my opinion. I liked some of the poems more than others, but ultimately found most of her poetry pretty similar throughout and I liked her prose better.
- The Right Swipe | Alisha Rai – After loving THE KISS QUOTIENT so much, I felt inspired to try some other adult romance, and gave THE RIGHT SWIPE a try. This book spoke to me so much in ways I wasn’t expecting at all, and that made it a five-star read for me.
- Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee | Megan Boyle – I read this on a total whim because my boyfriend had her book LIVEBLOG on our shelf at home. Apparently, Megan Boyle decided to live blog her entire life at one point as a self improvement project, got too obsessed with it, and had a very public breakdown eventually. The book was supposedly marketed as poetry, which I can understand because there is an oddly poetic and lyrical tone to her blog posts. I really liked this collection and would be interested to read LIVEBLOG, but it’s very long and could probably get a little boring and tedious at times.
- Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! | Mariko Tamaki – I haven’t read a children’s novel in a while so this one was interesting for me. I definitely didn’t like it personally as much as I do YA, but that’s because I’m not the target audience! I can definitely see myself recommending it to adventurous girls who come into the library at work though, which was the point of me reading it in the first place.
- Daisy Jones & the Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid – This was the first (or one of the first) actual adult books that I read that wasn’t a romance, but after seeing it was in a cool format and was about music, I knew I had to buy it when I saw it at the bookstore. I’m so glad I did, because it’s now one of my all-time favorite books. Also, I relate to Billy Dunne too much and that is probably an issue.
So far, 21 out of 41 books that I’ve read this year have been not YA, aka outside of my comfort zone. That’s basically half of the books I’ve read, which is way more than I ever have before! I’m happy that I’ve been making an effort to expand my reading tastes because I’ve managed to find a couple of new favorites in the process. Based on my success with this so far, I’ll definitely continue reading outside of YA books and pushing myself to be adventurous with my reading!