Something I really wanted to challenge myself with in 2017 was reading genres I have typically avoided in the past. Whether intimidating, “boring”, or just not my preference, I’ve decided to prove myself wrong. Here are some books among my summer reads that have been pleasant surprises from genres I don’t usually gravitate towards:
Dark Matter—Blake Crouch
Genre: Sci Fi
I know there are a lot of sci fi sub-genres, but I had written them all off until this year. Between Red Rising and this title, I have been pleasantly surprised by the grit, adventure, and creativity that accompany science fiction.
You can read my full review for more, but I was not put off by the physics involved in Crouch’s plot, but was instead blown away by its relevance to the plot. I’ve been recommending this book to anyone who will listen!
You Are What You Love—James K.A. Smith
Philosophy is intimidating to me. I can enjoy the thought exercise in listening to intellectuals spout theories, but in discussion I can ask follow up questions and get to a point of understanding. Reading philosophy doesn’t always extend that benefit.
When I joined a book club reading Jamie’s book, I was nervous, but was very much into his concept: We are beings of affection and repeated behaviors, so how does this impact us spiritually.
You Are What You Love has taken me on an important spiritual journey, looking at the practices I hold dear in my daily life and how that points to my true affections. I’ve had to be honest and have had to make some changes, but I’m grateful for the help this book has provided in this.
The Green Mile—Stephen King
Genre: King is a genre all his own—when you write that much, you earn that right
Many of the writers, songwriters, and general people I look up to in my world LOVE Stephen King. His memoir On Writing is great, but I had never read any of his fiction. (True, sad story, I know.) I am not a horror fan, and that kept me away from his work. I knew horror was not his only genre, but I really wasn’t sure where to start. The whole multi-verse thing was intimidating and there are just sooo many options when it comes to King.
While bumming around a bookstore a few weeks ago, a close writer friend of mine walked me through some great entry points into King’s work and I chose The Green Mile.
I’m still in the middle of this one, but am captivated by his writing every time I pick it up. I don’t know where he’s going with this (no, I haven’t seen the movie), but I’m excited to find out. Any prediction I’ve had has been wrong by a mile and it’s really fun to be wrong. (Not to be arrogant, but once you’ve read enough, you get really good at predicting plots.)
I have not been frightened, but instead mystified. It’s refreshing to be in awe of a piece of fiction you weren’t expecting to take you by surprise.
Just Look Up—Courtney Walsh
Genre: Christian Romance
I readily admit that romance is not my jam. I love a great love story, but I’m out for something else on top of it. Put Christian in front of it and I get a little skeptical that you’re mixing Jesus in with your emotional fantasy.
But when I found myself at a Christian Fiction event for work, I was quite taken with how kind and friendly Courtney Walsh was and really wanted to read her book after seeing a few internet friends speaking so highly of the work.
Romance is still not my jam, but I cannot deny that Walsh is a very talented writer and was going beyond the basic CBA romance formula in her latest novel, Just Look Up.
Yes, the love story of the plot is central, but there is more going on. The female protagonist if flawed in a relatable but specific-to-her way—she’s not the empty heroine of your stereotypical romance. The secondary characters are fleshed out and added to the conflict in interesting ways. There are a lot of external pressure on the protagonist that are keeping me engaged in the story and hoping she will succeed.
I can see where the plot is going, but I don’t mind Walsh taking me on the ride to get there. I’m not eager to head into another romance novel, but Just Look Up gives me hope for the future of the genre in CBA—it’s thoughtful, well-rounded, and just general fun.
Like The Green Mile, this is a read in process, but I can’t wait to finish it this weekend. It’s been a good summer read to close out the season.
4 thoughts on “Reading Outside My Box”
Great post! I’ll have to check these out!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Love the plan! I have to give On Writing by Stephen King another look, I borrowed a copy so long ago that I am going to have to reread it, but I also want to check out Dark Matter in the near future too!