On Reading Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Thursday, September 22, 2016

I am my most comfortable in my comfort zone.

I guess everyone is, really. I mean, it's named comfort zone for a reason, right? It's familiar and welcome and warm, kind of like an old blanket. Much like an old blanket sometimes you need to throw the old blanket away and get a new blanket. There's a whole wide world of blankets out there and you can try them all. Same goes for books. Except don't throw out your books (donate them to charity or sell them or do something so someone else can enjoy them, unless the end of the world is nigh and you need warmth. Make this your last resource, though).

Going with the blanket metaphor here, I want to say that it's okay to cuddle under other blankets. There's no need to commit yourself to one sole blanket. Except, I mean genre. 

It is hard, but hey, if you wanted easy you would be stuck reading one thing for the rest of your life. For as long as you draw breath. That is a long time (I hope) and really do you want to limit yourself like that? I know I don't.

Whick is why I've been thinking about my own reading and how I mostly read YA. Because man, I love YA and YA is what I know and what I'm most comfortable with, but it can also be pretty limiting on myself. I'm often scared to go out and venture into other genres, because the unknown can be freaking scary. Also, I'm only a marshmallow living in a savage world in which literary snobs abound and no one offers directions. However, lately I've been telling myself to go out and pick up books from outside my comfort zone.

Books from the unfamiliar can be some of the best surprises. This past July, for example, I read Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. This book is magical realism, mind you adult magical realism that is kind of sexy, provocative and so Mexican I could invite it to a carne asada with my family and it would fit right in. And after reading it I found that I loved it and that it was one of the best books I'd read so far. It was that good and I never would have picked it up if I hadn't made my mind up to read outside of my comfort zone.

Sure, comfort zones are tempting and familiar and there's nothing wrong with them, but sometimes it's nice to branch out and see what else the world has to offer. After all, think of all the great books that are out there in the world that you won't discover unless you decide to shake things up a bit and read outside what you know?

What are some books that you've read outside of your comfort zone that you absolutely loved? How often do you venture outside of your comfort zone?


  1. This is an interesting topic and one I think can extend just beyond an intended audience age.

    I too love YA, specifically YA Fantasy. But even though I already know that I like YA Fantasy, well written fantasy for MG, or Adult are still enjoyable to me. But hand me a thriller or a mystery and I might find myself plodding along and checking how many pages I still have to go before I reach the end.

    When I got asked to review a YA Contemporary this year I was kinda thrown, but wanted to do it. It wasn't easy, it wasn't comfortable and yet I did enjoy it at the end.

    Thanks for the thoughtful topic! Hope you're having a lovely week.

    Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    1. YA Fantasy is one of my fave genres. Yeah, I mean, there's definitely genres I struggle with but I still think that it's important to give them a chance and see where they might take me. If I don't enjoy them, well, that's a shame, but if I do enjoy them that's great.

      Thank you and hope you're having a lovely week, too!

  2. Mm, I totally agree! I actually love reading YA, but at the same time, I get tired of it...so sometimes I read adult fiction, sometimes I read psychological thrillers...a mix is always nice in life! Wonderful post, Laura! :)

    1. Yeah, a little bit of variety is what makes things fun. Thank you!