Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Oh dear.

This is a hard one since I read a little bit of everything and also have very clear areas where I do not go. Self-help, photography and religious romance are subgenres I avoid like the plague. I don’t read them because I’m not interested.

Heterosexual Romances

Romance in general is a genre I have steered away from (although I love chick lit, so riddle me this, batman), but I’ve been dipping my toe into the romance waters recently and…while I’m not a fan of the super duper hypermasculine ones that reinforce the misogyny of the patriarchy (helluuuuuu The Friend Zone), I will say that I absolutely adored reading Ayesha at Last, The Kiss Quotient and The Unhoneymooners.

M/M romance

I tend to steer clear from m/m romance, mostly because I just don’t give a shit and also because much of it is written by women for women which just sounds…kinda weird? I mean, you do you? There’s also a lot of Amish romance written by non-Amish folks for non-Amish readers and this is also I thing I do not understand. But Red, White and Royal Blue was perfect in every way, mainly because I adore royal books and alternate histories, and also because it was inclusive af and didn’t feel fetishizey (as I am not a gay man I don’t know for certain).

Memoirs

Memoirs are hit or miss. I tend to avoid reading them, mostly because a person’s life is well, their life, and I just feel weird reading about real people from their own words. I love history books, but often feel that memoirs are a bit too personal? However, these four books are fantastic, despite being intensely personal, raw and, in some cases, super triggering for me. I enjoyed them, but damn were they hard reads.

True Crime

True crime is not a genre I usually read, mostly because they tend to be scarier than any Stephen King book ever will be because they are all true and that gives me nightmares and makes me wish my dog was a vicious protector instead of a floofy floofypants (she just looks scary). However, I tend to stay away from true crime due to the tendency for authors to sensationalize the murders and salivate over every single blood splatter and gruesome detail, exploiting the victims and reducing them down to their horrific details. Not I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, which was fantastic, humanizing and empathetic—at least, the parts written by McNamara. I also enjoyed (as much as one can) Dave Cullen’s Columbine and Parkland, which are true crime (kinda?) and deal with school shootings.

Commandant’s Reading List Books

I’m talking Commandant of the Marine Corps, here. Granted, this is a stretch, since these (well, Black Hearts) was required reading and all required reading sucks the joy out of reading (and any gung-ho lieutenants who say they enjoyed On Infantry or Rommel’s Attacks can pound sand—happily the former is no longer on the list). But Vietnam and Black Hearts were both excellent, as was Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Okay, I’ll admit it: some of the books are damn good, but many are snooze fests and all are what you’d expect from an all-white male staff to select (*cough* very singular viewpoint, no women *cough cough*). Also, the list has Ender’s Game, a mainstay that shows no signs of dropping the highly problematic asshole that is Orson Scott Card. Seriously—get rid of this book and add Hurley’s The Light Brigade or Bhagwati’s Unbecoming.

What books outside your comfort zone did you enjoy?

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