Top Ten Tuesday this week is all about the books we actually enjoyed which were outside of our comfort zones. If you don’t already know, TTT is a weekly, list-themed book prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Looking back through my shelves to try and compile this list, it became pretty clear that I don’t tend to read outside of my comfort zone an awful lot nowadays. I wonder if this is one of the contributing reasons the infamous ‘reading slump’ seems to take hold every now and again. Most of my list is made up of compulsory books from reading lists of my English Literature High School and Degree Courses. Perhaps it should be my 2020 resolution to read more widely and get my head out of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy clouds for a while!
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – I don’t normally tend to read crime fiction or detective novels that much, despite one of my English Literature degree modules being crime fiction 😂. If I’m being perfectly honest, the only reason I picked this up in the first place was because it was J.K. Rowling who wrote it, however I soon grew to love the characters and the story that she wove together and now I am a massive fan of this series.
Walking Home: My Family and Other Rambles by Clare Balding – I was gifted this book by one of my students after telling them that I really wanted to read the new Clare Balding book. They bought me this for Christmas and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the book I actually meant was her children’s book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop. Nevertheless, I read it over that holiday and absolutely loved it. The way she merged discussions about walking routes, her experiences with various different groups of people alongside how walking is an outlet/escape from real life was actually quite inspiring and I enjoyed reading it a lot more than I expected to.
The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black – This book has quite a lot of pages and the font is so tiny that I almost never wanted to put the effort into reading it. At times, all of the esoteric and theological references were a little heavy going too. But when I finally did get into it, it was actually more intriguing and interesting than I’d originally given it credit for.
All My Sons by Arthur Miller – I don’t tend to read playscripts out of choice, other than the Shakespeare plays or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which I saw for the first time last month 🙌), but after reading this once upon a time as part of my school coursework I found that it is actually quite a powerful piece of writing with some really memorable and compelling quotes.
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks – I can’t even remember how or why I read this book. All I do remember is that it was a type of storytelling and subject matter that I hadn’t come across before and it was weirdly fascinating to read.
Once in a House on Fire by Andrea Ashworth – This was suggested to me by one of my teachers for a piece of English coursework I was writing. Memoirs are also not really a genre I would typically chose to read, unless it’s either a person or subject matter which really interests me. Ashworth’s writing was so poignant and gripping that I couldn’t put it down and still have my copy on my bookshelf to this day.
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks – Yet another one from the days of High School English Literature classes! I don’t read books set in war history from our time but Faulk’s tale moved me to tears.
The Girls by Lori Lansens – When I relocated, this was the first book which I bought from my local bookshop. It is a story about two conjoined twins and how they are on the verge of becoming the oldest living conjoined twins in history. It’s not something I’d normally buy but it was a really endearing tale.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – This book always gives me fond memories of my school days. It’s one of those American classics that I don’t normally go to but I really enjoyed reading it.
Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake – I like reading poetry but sometimes I find it difficult to become a fan of a poet’s whole works. William Blake was the first poet that made me want to read his entire collection. The Songs of Innocence and of Experience are famous for so many lines and references and they definitely contain some of my favourite poems of all time.
Have you read any of these? What books would make it onto your own TTT list this week? As always drop me a comment to chat!