- Fizzy Thoughts: Well, that was different

Well, that was different

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?

The thing is, I like my boundaries. Some books I read are weirder than others…and I’m pretty open to weirdness. It’s the reading of certain Genres (I’m reading Oscar Wao, and felt the need to capitalize Genre) that I have a hard time with. Westerns? Nope, no can do. Horror? No way. Vampires? Sure, bring ‘em on. Romance? Sure, I like the happily ever afters. Chick lit? No, thank you. Self-help? Not only no, but hell no, watch me run screaming in the other direction. Sci-fi/fantasy? I went through that phase in my teens and I’m pretty much over it.

Up until about 5 years ago, I only read fiction. You wouldn’t catch me reading anything non-fiction, with the possible exception of the back of the cereal box. And magazines. Somewhere along the way, though, I discovered I really like travelogues. But I can’t read them all the time …I get too jealous and start dreaming about moving to Mexico/Italy/England/Ireland/France/ Canada/Morocco. Rory Stewart’s The Places In Between falls into this category, although it was a bit more political and serious than I like. But I toughed it out and was glad I did.

I also tend to stick to contemporary authors. I read War in Val d’Orcia for my online book club last year and just about died of boredom. I don’t know why I equate anything pre-1970’s with stuffiness, but I do.

Have I answered the question, or am I still talking around it?

8 comment(s):

Eva said...

Last year, I tried reading Lonesome Dove in an effort to get into a new genre. I lasted ten pages...

Traci said...

I'm not a non-fiction reader, but I will occasionally read a travel memoir. Under the Tuscan Sun and McCarthy's Bar are two of my favorites. But, like you, I need a lot of time, and other books, in between reading those.

Karen Harrington said...

Very interesting. i think we all stick to our genre preferences. Same with movies, right? And don't get me started about restaurants...I tend to order the same thing! Ugh.

jlshall said...

I chuckled when I read that self-help books make you "run screaming in the other direction." My feelings exactly! I probably need a lot of help, but I just don't want to have to read about it.

"Confuzzled" Shannon said...

It depends on the self help book for me but I do get embarrassed if I am caught looking at them.lol

Brad'll Do It said...

To answer your question, you're still talking around it. The book that moved me the most was The Magus, by John Fowles. It took me to a realm of possibilities that I had no idea existed. I think I was in high school when I read it, which probably had something to do with its tranformative quality.

Ramya said...

hey..thanks for visiting me at my new location:) was going to come over and leave a msg here.. but man! you are quick!!:)
so, you do like the new look?? phew!

Ramya said...

i have to agree with most things you said! i can't get myself to like self help books.. i think that's just a money making tactic.. that's just my opinion.. and yeah.. i do have a hard time with pre 1970s books as well! what's with them and complicated writing! but i still make an effort to read at least a few classics every year.. surprisingly, i really enjoyed crime and punishment this year..:)
the only place where i'd differ is chick lits..:) i love to read light books after finishing something heavy and chick lits are so perfect for the occasion:)

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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