Monday, December 19, 2016

Ramblings from the Stack - Reading Different Books

This year one of my stated goals was to expand my reading a little bit.  Take on some books that I would have thought weren't for me or that my knee jerk reaction was to say no too.  The reason for this was because while 2015 was a good reading year there weren't many greats and I think the big reason was because I stayed within my comfort zone.  So now that the end of 2016 is shockingly close I figure it's time to look at what I read for 2016 that fell under the "different" category for me and what I thought of them.

1. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Why I Would Have Said No: I have it in my head that more masculine type action books are heavy and ponderous type books and automatically lumped in the James Bond books in with that.

What I Thought: Going in I was surprised to discover how short these books are.  I've read 3 and they're all around the 200 page mark.  Fleming's background as a naval officer and journalist come through as while things are described the prose is very straight forward and too the point.  I've really enjoyed the 3 I read this year and am looking forward to reading more.

2. Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

Why I Would Have Said No: Honestly the blurb makes it sound pretty angsty

What I Thought: While the book itself definitely has some angst it also had a chilling atmosphere and a plot that kept the pages turning!

3. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Why I Would Have Said No: The Pulitzer Prize winning author is an automatic turn off for me.  I tend to distrust books that are too critically acclaimed.

What I Thought: I enjoyed this though I wasn't blown away.  The story was quiet yet stuck with me and made me think in ways that were unexpected.  While I don't think I'll be automatically picking up all award winning books I don't think it will be as much of a "no" for me going forward.

4.  Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Why I Would Have Said No: Two words - ugly cry.  That did not appeal to me at all!

What I Thought: I loved this book.  I think I was expecting more angst because Moyes writes about so many really heavy subjects but despite the heavy emotions that were wound all through this book there was also a matter of factness and even a touch of humor that made it wonderful.  It was even worth the ugly cry at the end.

5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Why I Would Have Said No: I don't typically read sci-fi or YA so just based off the genres this didn't really grab me.

What I Thought: I loved this book!  I loved how the fairy tale was woven in.  I loved Cinder, I loved Iko and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.  I've gone on and read Scarlet and am looking forward to finishing up the rest of the series and finally finding out what happened.

6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Why I Would Have Said No: Is Neil Gaiman really in anyone's comfort reading list?  Not in a bad way but he does have a reputation for being odd and startling and eye opening

What I Thought: I was hooked by this magical bit of madness and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm hoping to get my hand on an audio edition because I'm sure it's fantastic in audio.

7. Everything Everything by Nicole Yoon

Why I Would Have Said No: A YA romance-ish book with a sick character is not usually something that I want to read.

What I Thought: I thought the book was well done and the characters were interesting but it definitely was not for me.  While I could appreciate the author's ability this is the kind of book that I probably should have stuck with the "no"

8. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Why I Would Have Said No: I don't like disaster books - especially if children are involved in any way.

What I Thought: I ended up really enjoying this book and found it fascinating reading.  The book itself was cleverly done and it was so interesting to see the story unravel.  I was thoroughly satisfied with the ending which was a nice bonus!

Have you read anything that your first impulse was to say no to?  How did it work out?


  1. I think it's a great idea to mix things up. I didn't think that I would like books with a more masculine tone either, but I have read some that I quite likes. I haven't read Casino Royal, but would like to. The Maltese Falcon was one such book that I loved.

  2. Awesome job getting out of your comfort zone this year!! I didn't do a great job of that this year. I want to push a bit more next year and try some different things.

  3. Love the format of this post! I was hoping to read Black Rabbit Hall for RIP this year, but didn't get to it... hopefully in 2017.

  4. I really enjoyed Black Rabbit Hall this year, too. I did the audio and it was really well done.

  5. I tend to stick close to my comfort zones, but sometimes I try new things, and it's always so rewarding when I like the book. I'm so glad you enjoyed Cinder and The Graveyard Book. I really love both those books.

  6. You know I never would have considered reading the Ian Fleming stories probably but your posts have made me curious. Black Rabbit Hall looks great. I think I've gone a little outside my comfort zone this year too, and I'm glad I did!

  7. I am sure I have missed some good books by not reading out of my comfort zone, but it's hard for me to do that. Reading light sci-fi is about as far out there as I want to get with genres I am not a fan of. :)

  8. What a fantastic post - I loved your format and the way you described why you ended up liking/disliking the book... Thank you for sharing.

  9. I need to read more books out of my comfort zone. You did well!

  10. I liked Black Rabbit Hall. It wasn't something I would have gravitated to except the synopsis reminded me of The Thirteenth Tale. It wasn't nearly as good as the Setterfield book, but I still enjoyed it. I want to read The Graveyard Book. :)

  11. I'm often pleasantly surprised when I read outside my comfort zone. The Elizabeth Stroud book I'd recommend is Olive Kitteridge. I thought the characters were very well come in OK.

    Maybe I will give Before the Fall a try....Thanks for your thoughts!

  12. I love taking risks with books too from time to time. That was how I discovered that I loved books with a time travel element, before I tried it, I thought it just sounded too off the wall. And I thought Agatha Christie would be lame, but now I adore her. It was fun seeing just how your experiments paid off. And I must read Before the Fall!

  13. Fascinating! You have been a very brave reader and well rewarded. I tend to steer clear of anything literary sounding like Elizabeth Strout but all the same would like to try her. I read the Neil Gaimon book because a 12year old talked me into it and I did like it too. (If I talked them into books, I felt I had to accept back!). I don't read that much YA either but I loved Cinder, and it was from a YA reader/blogger that I first heard of the book. I am looking forward to reading the rest in the series. Me Before You fell into my realm of reading naturally!

  14. Yay for stepping out of your zone! I have Cinder on my list as well. It's not my every day grab but I've wanted to read it for a while. I'm hoping I can find some time between review books in 2017 :D

  15. So glad that most of these worked out for you. I'm going to try to step a bit more outside of my comfort zone next year which as I am already a pretty eclectic reader mean more non fiction and LGBTQ/issues reads.

  16. I actually tried 3 times to read Cinder. I then forced myself to continue it and I loved the book. I am not a Scifi person at all and I think that was what was making me nervous. Good job reading outside your comfort zone! :)

  17. I love this post! I may have to borrow the idea. I like that you found some great reads stepping outside your comfort zone.

  18. Looks like you found more successes than not in stretching your boundaries!