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Episode Discussions > Ep 99 Are comfort zones safe or boring?

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message 1: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (thomasathogglestock) | 251 comments As I mentioned on the episode I don't feel like I need to read outside my comfort zone to be a worldly, well read human, but I do like to pop out of the zone from time to time for the sake of variety.

What are your thoughts on comfort zones? And what specific titles outside my own somewhat narrow comfort zone (cozy, old lady fiction), should I really give a go?

And, do you have any boat or horse books that Simon should read despite his dislike for both? I think he really needs to read (and would enjoy) Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter. A masterpiece set entirely at sea.


message 2: by Samuel (new)

Samuel (slrp) | 8 comments I was very surprised at how much I loved We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo from last year's Booker shortlist since it was waaaay out of my comfort zone (never been into cross-culture fiction). It's very raw and visceral and written in African dialect so strays far from the cosy eloquence that you enjoy. And I understand how all these exotic, multicultural books that are so "hip" right now can get a little irritating, but this one really appealed to me, so I'd recommend it as something different.


message 3: by Annie (new)

Annie | 19 comments Thomas wrote: "As I mentioned on the episode I don't feel like I need to read outside my comfort zone to be a worldly, well read human, but I do like to pop out of the zone from time to time for the sake of varie..."

I enjoyed your banter about comfort zones and, Thomas, I definitely think you should push out of your zone from time to time. I'm a wide reader. I used to stick just to one genre before I got bored and moved on to another, but now I bounce back and forth between genres much more. (I blame NetGalley and Edelweiss and publication deadlines.)

My best experience pushing someone out of their comfort zone was talking someone into reading alternate history by Connie Willis and Mark Hodder. They ended up texting me towards the end of Willis' All Clear with a bunch of question marks and exclamation points. It was fantastic.

The thing about comfort zones is that you can't really force your way out of them. There has to be willingness to explore. Otherwise, you'll hate the books you force yourself to read and that's not fair on anyone.

Perhaps the best person to guide someone out of a comfort zone rut is a good readers' advisory librarian or a widely read friend. They can help you branch out by recommending books that share characteristics that you like (particular kinds of characters, language style, setting, etc.) in books in other genres.


message 4: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 135 comments I'm an eclectic reader who bounces about the genres but I do have comfort reads.
Comfort zones are boring if you never venture beyond them but are wonderful if what you need is a hug.


message 5: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ I'd like to say I read widely, but when I look at the books I read, they are similar in nature. I do tend to read outside of my comfort zone when the mood strikes and I am happy to do so.

I know if a book isn't necessarily my cup of tea I can still enjoy the read and value the writing.

I always try to blend in some non-fiction to my reading.


message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky Yamarik | 74 comments I'm reading something that might be out of both Thomas and Simon's comfort zones and so far it's a 5 star read for me, only half way through though. . . Sacred Hunger, ever read it? I came across it b/c it was on the goodreads "booker prize winners" list and had the highest rating. . . boy is it amazing. All about the 18th century slave trade.

Simon helps me out of my comfort zone by his summer readalongs. . . I wouldn't have read Ready Player One or The Last Werewolf otherwise and both were worth reading for sure!


message 7: by Books_Steve (new)

Books_Steve | 19 comments After listening to your podcast about finding books or authors you didn't know, where you recommended checking books long listed for book prizes, I found a great book, which I have just finished.

It's called Derby Day by DJ Taylor and it was long listed for the Booker Prize in 2011. It has horses in it!

Superficially it looks like a sports book a type of book which I think you both steer clear of. However this is a well written Victorian mystery with a raft of interesting male and female characters who reflect English society of that time and they all speak in a language which suits the period.

Very readable, much more than just a sports novel. It seems more like something Thackeray or Collins would have written, but don't let that make you think the prose is difficult to read, it's not. I enjoyed finding out about the motivations of the characters, and easily wanted to read until the end. It even has a brief mention of a cross-channel ferry but no horses on it! It's a great read I recommend - you might like it!

Really enjoy the podcasts. Thanks for all the effort you all put in. Just want to let you know the hard work is worth it.


message 8: by Ruthiella (last edited May 23, 2014 11:55AM) (new)

Ruthiella | 272 comments Books_Steve wrote: "After listening to your podcast about finding books or authors you didn't know, where you recommended checking books long listed for book prizes, I found a great book, which I have just finished.
..."

Derby Day is a book I a definitely interested in reading some day. I love neo-Victorian literature and this book falls squarely in my comfort zone!


message 9: by Books_Steve (new)

Books_Steve | 19 comments Thanks for the comment, Ruthiella. I hope you enjoy it when you read it. Do let me know!


message 10: by Kate (new)

Kate Gardner (nose_in_a_book) | 40 comments I would struggle to define my reading taste, but I definitely know when I've strayed outside it! Often I'm happy to have that experience but sometimes I'll beat a hasty retreat and switch to an author I know and love. For me it's important to mix things up, in fact I get bored if I don't, but there are times when comfort is all that works.


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