I have a pretty specific set of books I like to read: YA Fantasy. Sometimes I will shift from one of these – Adult Fantasy! YA Contemporary! But my favorite is still YA Fantasy. However, shifting far enough out of this genre to get into something really different? So rare. A book really need to catch my attention. In fact? Half the time, even if it does, I’ll add it to my TBR and when it gets to the front of the line, I’ll say “eh no”.
But I keep adding these books because – you never know! Sometimes, I really, really like them! So in celebration of that phenomenon and in alignment with today’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’d like to share ten books that are very much not YA Fantasy that I ended up completely taking me by surprise, and I ended up quite liking!
So, why didn’t these fit into my normal reading zone, and what made me like them? We-ell….
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is part memoir, but mostly a discussion in astronomy and the technicals of planetary science. I’m not a science person, but the declassification of Pluto as a planet was a major thing in my lifetime. I found this book fascinating, and it didn’t read like a scientific textbook at all.
The Rosie Project is an adult contemporary romance. This is actually the opposite of what I like to read. But it ended up being really well-written and funny and endearing and I loved it! Plus the rep was really well and respectfully done for a non-#OwnVoices writer.
The Poet X is a novel written in prose and I was really, really uncertain if I would like it. When I think novels-in-prose, I still think about a lot of classics I struggle with, like The Iliad and The Divine Comedy. But after a while, I was so immersed that I didn’t even notice it was prose!
My Life on the Road is a memoir, and yeah I read a decent amount of memoirs, but they’re almost exclusively memoirs by female entertainers. This one only came to me through Our Shared Shelf, and it was inspirational. Beautifully written and about important things. Sure, it was light on jokes, but it filled my heart in different ways.
Sleeping Giants is a military-ish science fiction novel written interview-style. All of these make me go, “please no”. And yet? This is one of my favorite books of all time. I think the audiobook had a lot to do with it, but the story and the mystery swallowed me whole and honestly I can’t recommend it enough. Especially the audiobook.
Where’d You Go Bernadette is a quirky adult contemporary. It honestly ended up on my TBR because I kept hearing about it and felt left out. I don’t think I really liked it until the end… and the end got me so engrossed that I actually missed a turn while driving and had to loop back around to get to work. Haha, oops.
The Rook promised some exciting urban fantasy and my soul cringed because, ugh, the romance in those just does not work for me. Surprisingly, this book ended up being pretty funny and clever with some great characters. Really, it only lost as many points with me as it did because it was slooooow.
Lamb nearly threw me off just based on the content – I am very uncomfortable reading any books that are even vaguely theological. Reading the description, I thought this was going to end up satirical, and gave it a go. I am so glad I did because honestly this book is so funny and I deeply enjoyed it. Not for everyone, but great for me.
The Orphan’s Song is an adult historical fiction romance. It’s the only one I’ve ever read that wasn’t inspired by a true story (the Tudors, generally) and I wasn’t sure I’d like it at all. I think this only worked for me because Lauren Kate’s writing is really lovely and Venice feels both far away and alive. I really liked this one but I don’t think I’m sold on all the adult historical fiction romances.
Rebecca had me concerned as soon as I found out it was gothic. I associate gothic lit with the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen and I am just solidly against it. It’s so… ugh. Not for me. But Rebecca was an incredible story I wasn’t expecting in any way. Amazing twists, unexpected character traits coming out at the last minute and just dang this was good!
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was “Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone (i.e., a genre you don’t typically read or subject matter you’re not usually drawn to)”. As I mentioned above, for me, this is anything that isn’t YA or Fantasy or… preferably both! I am pretty drawn to classics as well, which is why the only classic that made my list was Rebecca.
I’ve been trying hard this year to read more books on my TBR that aren’t my usual fare. I find I can’t read them all at once because they burn me out faster than my favorites, but I am finding some I like!
What genre is your comfort zone? I know many of you are in the YA community, but what genre beyond that? Do you love romance? Fantasy, like me? Vampires? Contemporaries with brooding heroes? I want to hear all about it. 🙂