I tend to stick with books I’m familiar and comfortable with – YA, contemporary and paranormal, that sort of thing. And, beyond that, I rarely get library books or buy books that aren’t on my to-read shelf on Goodreads. Lately, though I’ve gotten a little better at being open to new genres, and beyond that I’ve created a “might-read” shelf that helps me be open to more books while still keeping a nice list of them all instead of it all being completely random. These are just some of the books that I’ve managed to read that were a bit unusual for me.
1. Lacey Flint series (S.J. Bolton)
I really only started reading adult books about two years ago or so, and only from authors I already knew – so, just Meg Cabot and J.K. Rowling. But I saw a review for one of the books in this series in Entertainment Weekly, so I decided to give this series a shot. It’s brutal and doesn’t shy away from horrible deaths (it’s a mystery series, so there’s plenty of murder), but I couldn’t stop reading to see who the criminal was, why people were being hurt and all that. There are four books in this series so far (hopefully so far – the fourth book didn’t feel like it was ready to end), and I devoured each one in my attempt to get answers, despite how much the books could scare me. They weren’t perfect, but they made it clear that I could enjoy adult books that came from less familiar authors.
2. Cocaine Blues (Kerry Greenwood)
I’m sorry to sound hipster-ish, but I discovered Miss Fisher before most of the blogging community – I noticed it at the library and thought my mom would like it, and everyone ended up liking it. Anyway, when I found out that there was a series, I decided to check it out. It wasn’t quite my thing – too much historical-stuff, not enough mystery-stuff, but I still gave it 3 or 3.5 stars, so it wasn’t horrible and I don’t regret picking it up on a bit of a whim.
3. Brooklyn Girls (Gemma Burgess)
You’re going to see quite a few adult books on this list because I was taking a chance on many of them. This was my foray into more contemporary adult stuff a la Meg Cabot, and I ended up liking it even more than I expected. It’s a bit of a new adult vibe, although past college age – it’s the fun and scary mid-twenties years, which I am terrified of – yay for switching my major late and needing to do one more year of college and avoid the real world a little longer!
4. Spinster (Kate Bolick)
A nonfiction book? Yeah, I’m surprised, too, but I heard good things about this memoir from a woman mostly comfortable with her desire for spinsterhood, so I picked it up. It definitely took me longer to read than regular fiction, but I had fun learning about the man women who have inspired Bolick – it definitely made me want to check out more nonfiction, such as…
5. Asking For It (Kate Harding)
A book about rape culture! Not a happy book, but as soon as I saw that this book was about rape culture, I knew I had to check it out. There was so much information in this book, most of it quite enlightening and interesting even when it was being depressing. I really need to check out more nonfiction.
6. Luckiest Girl Alive (Jessica Knoll)
This was one of the first books on my might-read shelf that I actually picked up at the library. I had heard some buzz about this book and thought the summary sounded interesting, so I finally picked it up at the library. This book made me realize how important trigger warnings can be, but it still kept me interested from start to finish, even when it terrified and sickened me.
7. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids (Sarah Ockler)
I’ve had mixed results with Sarah Ockler, and unfortunately this was one of the negative ones. I saw enough interesting reviews and saw the diversity evident on the cover, but I just didn’t care enough about the characters to keep reading. I am glad that I picked it up and tried it, though, so I don’t regret my spontaneity since I now know whether the book was for me or not (it just unfortunately wasn’t).
8. The Possibility of Now (Kim Culbertson)
This book wasn’t perfect, especially by the end, but I still enjoyed it for the most part and didn’t have trouble reading it. I’m curious to see more things from this author, and that seems like a pretty good outcome for a random(ish) book I picked up at the library.
9. The Girl From Everywhere (Heidi Heilig)
This was a super success! It wasn’t perfect, but I had a lot of fun reading this debut and am really excited for the sequel now, and I almost skipped it because I hadn’t read a lot of reviews and it sounded a little cliched and overly-typical-fantasy-fare to me. When I saw it at the library, though, I took a chance and I was enthralled from nearly the beginning. Why do I have to wait for a title, cover, and the actual book?!
10. Texts from Jane Eyre (Mallory Ortberg)
This is a nonfiction/classics mix, in a way – the author wrote a bunch of text message conversations based on classics old (Gilgamesh and Hamlet) and newer (The Babysitters Club and Harry Potter), and some even based on the lives of famous authors. It was a quick and entertaining read – I definitely need more books like this in my life.