Outside the Comfort Zone

I wanted to write about reading outside of my comfort zone and it has got a bit weird. Firstly I tried to define what my personal comfort zone is and I couldn’t. If I say fantasy I have to immediately re-qualify it with not all fantasy and I guess that is the thing. Its easier for me to say what I am unlikely to touch which feels negative.

For the last few years I’ve binged mainly on Fantasy and SCience Fiction and all kinds of funky subgenres inside. I’ve dabbled with reading paranormal romance and enjoyed some of it but I struggle with some of the established tropes.

I guess that the above paragraph sums it up although it doesn’t do justice to the breadth and depth of what I do read. I adore ‘literary’ writing as well but nothing shocks me so much as when I dip a toe in a neglected genre and I find I enjoy the novel I’ve found.

I feel like I construct myself from the books I read. If I stay too long in an era or world I will start speaking like a character. I once told my old boss that I would be obliged if she would do something after reading the complete Jane Austen. I seek other times and other places because reading for me is the ultimate escape I regain energy by retreating from reality for a bit. And when I say I construct myself I have deliberately avoiding genres like Romance and Chick-lit because I don’t want to be defined by those elements. That said when I have been persuaded to read something from that area I have loved the novels but something stops me from pursuing more titles in that area. Likewise thrillers and detective novels and manly men grr books also put me off.

I should try and read more widely. I recently read something that would normally be way outside of my comfort zone. Gemini Cell by Myke Cole is probably best described as military fiction meets fantasy. Its set in a contemporary world but magic has been returning and the US government are using magic and jinn in order to create super soldiers. It really isn’t something I would ever have picked up but I’ve been following Myke Cole on twitter, heard him on Tea and Jeopardy’s podcast and he seems like a fascinating guy and so I picked up the book.

The book itself was good, strange because a lot of the tropes deployed were unfamiliar and it took a while to get used to the writing style.  A couple of moments I found somewhat difficult to deal with but for the most part it was well thought out and very enjoyable.

Will I read something like this again?  Yes but not straight away.