Thursday, September 25, 2008


What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?
And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

Outside my comfort zone in a good way: The Eyre Affair. Such a hoot and it was a new kind of fantasy/science fiction that was new to me. I've done the Harry Potter books, but it's not my usual type of books. Until The Eyre Affair, go read it!
I've been surprised that I've enjoyed graphic novels as much as I have. And Ender's Game introduced me to some sci-fi that wasn't so bad, so much so that I read the sequel.

Outside my comfort zone in a bad way: Pedro Paramo and my introduction to magical realism. I didn't understand a single thing about this book. I did learn there is a type of writing called magical realism and I'm not interested in reading more. There was a little bit in The Bone People but it was small and made sense in that story.
Also, books which wax philosophical in an abstract way without enough plot, like Elizabeth Costello, and The Picture of Dorian Grey do not appeal to me.
A book that surprised me recently was Running With Scissors. I thought it would be funny from the general descriptions, but I found it uncomfortable and inappropriate.


  1. I don't go for magical realism either but I loved The Picture of Dorian Gray.

  2. I loved The Eyre Affair! I didn't get into it right away, but now I must read all the rest.

    Don't give up on all magical realism! I hated my first couple encounters with it, but grew to enjoy it. It is weird though. For a shorter piece, you could try one of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short stories. The one I remember the most is "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings". Or the novel Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen seems like magical realism light to me.

  3. I mentioned Pedro Paramo on my post, but I couldn't remember the title! I also have a good one listed. Come visit.

  4. I've read a little magical realism. The requisite Hundred Years of Solitude in school. A few novels since then- but I didn't really like any of them.

  5. Hundred Years of Solitude was my first and last foray into magical realism. I didn't care for it at all. I agree with you concerning Running with Scissors. It was not funny and I was bitterly disappointed with it.

  6. I have to be in the right mood to tolerate magical realism, but I enjoyed 100 Years of Solitude. Running with Scissors -- gross. I picked it up in the library sale and did my flip test (in which I flip through a book and read a passage, flip and read a passage) and every page I landed on had something disgusting on it. I put that baby back on the shelf.

  7. Too funny - I picked The Eyre Affair also as a different book that I've read!

  8. Yeah for The Eyre Affair!! And yeah for Maeve Binchy--(my friday favorite)

  9. I've seen a few people post about The Eyre Affair now. I was interested before, but now...

  10. Hmmm, I wonder if I should give The Eyre Affair a try. You have piqued my interest - just being that you liked it.

    Running with Scissors - I agree. It was uncomfortable and inappropriate.


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