If you’re thinking, “Comforts is so not a real word,” you would be right. However, it is a fun word despite its fakery, and is best applied to situations involving snuggly blankets, as illustrated below.
Now that I’ve demonstrated my willingness to throw the English language out the window, on to the books! This week’s Top Five Wednesday is all about the books that strip away the proverbial blankets, i.e. books that take us out of our comfort zones.
- The Rosie Project | Graeme Simsion
This was my first intentional romance read, thanks to the wonders of book club and the fact that I can’t commandeer the reading list and fill it with YA fantasy. I read a romance by accident once, but that’s a different story.* I was a little wary at first, because romance, but thoroughly enjoyed this. Definitely more of a non-traditional romance, professor Don Tillman is hilarious as he tries to reduce love to a carefully controlled science project. It’s doubly fun if you personally know an engineer, doctor, or other meticulous professional.
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close | Jonathan Safran Foer
Another book club pick (hats off to the gals for expanding my horizons), this one makes the list, but probably not for the reasons you’re thinking. It follows a young boy searching for closure following his father’s death in the 9/11 terror attacks, and is thought-provoking on a variety of levels. However, my discomfort actually stems from a single page in which the protagonist demonstrates an age-inappropriate knowledge of sex. It came out of nowhere, did nothing to advance the story, and I really could’ve done without it.
- Red | The Circle Series by Ted Dekker
It has been so long since I read these, but I remember having a moment while reading “Red” that has never been replicated. The best I can remember it, one of the characters represents a Jesus figure, but I didn’t catch that until after I’d been swept up in the viewpoints of his opposition and was gung-ho for his execution. As a Christian, the revealing moment was incredibly convicting, a sobering reminder of how quickly humanity can turn against those who go against the grain despite our professions of morality. If a religious example doesn’t connect with you, it would be like finding out you cheered against someone like Martin Luther King, Jr., but a thousand times worse.
- Everything, Everything | Nicola Yoon
This book is supremely fantastic, as everyone who has read it can attest to. See my full review here. However, it’s contemporary YA romance, and as a permanent resident of the YA fantasy camp, I just didn’t read that sort of thing. The fact that my mom kept pressing it on me didn’t help, since I have a rather obstinate personality. I finally caved after a few weeks, and dang it if she wasn’t right. Go ahead and gloat, mom.
- Harry Potter | J.K. Rowling
Since I just professed citizenship of the YA fantasy realm, this would seem like a shoo-in for me. WRONG! I was 7-ish when Sorcerer’s Stone came out, and initially wasn’t allowed to read them, largely because a close friend of mine checked out books on witchcraft after reading HP. Frankly, the notion of being tempted into witchcraft scared the pants off me, so the ban by the parentals really wasn’t a big deal. After that, my obstinate nature kicked in – long after the childhood ban faded away I refused to read them simply because everybody else was. It was very hipster of me. In college, I finally came to the conclusion that “not reading Harry Potter” did not have to be an integral part of my identity, and I indulged of my own free will.
*It was Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe, and it was acquired during my phase of downloading the Nook Free Friday book every week regardless of genre. I guess I didn’t pay enough attention to the descriptor tags, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize “WHAT AM I DOING THIS IS A ROMANCE. NOBODY MUST KNOW.” By then it was too late to back out. It actually wasn’t half bad, but nothing I’d recommend.