Top Ten Tuesday: My ten most unusual (or uncomfortable) reads from the last 12 months

Top 10 Tuesday new

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Ten Books I Enjoyed Recently (last yearish) That Weren’t My Typical Genre/Type of Book (or that were outside of your (my) comfort zone).

I’m not sure that I actually have a comfort zone when it comes to reading, or what could possibly be outside it. I read a lot of different genres, and can’t think of much of anything that would actually be uncomfortable for me to read. Well, apart from extreme violence, hard-core porn, gratuitous brutality, and… I don’t know… books about car racing? Okay, I guess there are some things I just won’t read.


In any case…

For purposes of this list, I think I’ll focus on books that are a little different from what I might be most likely to read, for a variety of different reasons. My top ten unusual reading choices from the past year are:


1) The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (review): I read very little non-fiction, and might not have picked this one up on my own if not for my book group. I’m so glad I read it! It’s a marvelous piece of historical storytelling that is moving and informative and so very readable.

The Boys in the Boat

2) Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (review): I am just not a short-story reader. I get bored, my mind wanders, and I’m dying to get back to “real” reading (i.e., novels). But I discovered that I can tolerate short story audiobooks, and having Neil Gaiman narrate his own stories made this one a pleasure.

Trigger Warning

3) The Expats by Chris Pavone (review): I don’t gravitate toward spy thrillers all that often. I don’t remember why exactly I was drawn to this book, but I’m glad I read it and want to read more by this author.


4) The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy (review): It’s not that I don’t read horror, although I haven’t read quite as much lately. But The Dead Lands was certainly an uncomfortable read, despite being a great story. So icky and full of scary creepiness and nastiness. But really worth reading!

Dead Lands

5) All I Love and Know by Judith Frank (review): This one actually made me uncomfortable because of its political stridency. I was surprised, because I’d expected to really enjoy this book, but found it so preachy that it made me unhappy.

All I Love and Know

6 & 7) Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke (review) and The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (review): I love science fiction, but it’s been several years since I’ve read any of the classics. Both of these books were terrific.

Childhoods EndMan in the High Castle

8) Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (review): I wouldn’t call this an unusual choice for me, exactly — but I was uncomfortable with the questions marks surrounding this book, including whether we really understand the author’s wishes and whether she truly wanted this book to see the light of day.

Go Set A Watchman

9) The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand (review): Not a bad book, but romance is definitely not my genre. I mean, I love a good love story, but this was a bit too much for me.

Chocolate Thief

10) My final book is perhaps a weird choice, but I think it’s got to be Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer (review): I never thought I’d want to read another book related to the Twilight universe, but this gender-swapped version of the original story was a quick read and satisfied my curiosity.

Life and Death

What books made your list this week? Please share your links!

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10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: My ten most unusual (or uncomfortable) reads from the last 12 months

    • It was amazing! I ended up listening to the audiobook for Boys in the Boat, and the narrator was wonderful, so it was a great experience. The subject is really fascinating, because it gives such a personal view of what the individual rowers experienced in their lives, and the historical pieces of it were so moving too.

    • Ha, that’s a great question! I wasn’t going to read it either, but there it was at my library! Let’s put it this way — it was entertaining. I was just pretty much amused by the whole concept, plus it had been so long since I read Twilight that it ended up being kind of funny to revisit that world and remember how I couldn’t put the book down when I first read it. 🙂

  1. The Boys in the Boat keeps popping up for me all over the place, like one of those words you never heard and then you hear it everywhere. Maybe the universe is telling me something?

    And I was just thinking, it would be funny if you got a bunch of recs for hard-core porn and car racing reads. Well, funny and also kinda scary.

  2. The Expats sounds like an interesting read, I think I might have to add that one to my own TBR 🙂

    I still have Life and Death to listen to (I couldn’t quite face getting the actual proper book version lol) I know a lot of people make fun of Twilight, but it was a series I enjoyed at the time (aside from the final book, which I just pretend doesn’t exist).

    • Ha, there are a few book series (and TV series) where I just pretend certain parts don’t exist. 🙂 I’m about to read a new book by the author of the Expats. I hope it’s as good!

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