Ride into the Danger Zone: Ten Books I Read Outside My Comfort Zone

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fantastic Broke and Bookish and created by Jamie.

This week’s topic is Ten Books I Read That Were Outside My Comfort Zone. Peeps, my comfort zone is really big. I read pretty eclectically. I’m not a one genre, one age group kind of girl so it was REALLY hard to come up with this list. Alas.

1. Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank by Ellen Hopkins


Who knew that free verse actually doesn’t blow and can strike right through your heart? I totally know that now. YAY for free verse.

2. Columbine by Dave Cullen

Columbine, Dave Cullen, Book Cover


So after college I did not read much non-fiction. Yah, my brain rotted a little tiny bit. BUT THEN there were good reviews for this book. And the audio was on sale on audible and thus I read Columbine and learned SO MUCH.

3. One Dance With A Duke by Tessa Dare

One Dance With A Duke, Tessa Dare, Book Cover, Pink, Romance

One Dance With A Duke

Holy sexytimes balls was this book full of legit. Prior to this I did not read any romance novels for serious. But afterwards, bring on the seXX0rz. Seriously. Bring it.

4. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Cranford Elizabeth Gaskell Book Cover


Vignettes! About! Old! People! YESSSSSSSSS. This is totally something I love, but never read.

5. Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon S. whose name I cannot spell

Guys Read Thriller Jon Scieszka Book Cover, trench coat, hat

Guys Read: Thriller

Friends, I am not a big short story reader. I’m also not big on reading books aimed at guys. But this book was SO AWESOME. Even for girls. The stories are all thrilling.

6. A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn

A People's History Of The United States, Howard Zinn, Book Cover

A People's History Of The United States

I read this during my senior year of college for fun, because I am hardcore and also because it made me way smarter than the other people in my social studies teacher classes, you know the whole reading non-fiction for fun. And at that point in my life I was a fiction girl.

7. Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett

Waiting For Godot

Waiting For Godot

This play was fucking weird. But I could dig. Plays are out of my comfort zone especially ones that fly WAY over my head. I read this in high school for class, obvi. This was also when I got put in AP English with the 20 other smart kids. YAY.

8. The Prince by Machiavelli

The Prince, Machiavelli, Book cover

The Prince

Bish, please. I totally read this for my AP Euro class as summer reading. Oh yeah and I totally owned that 5 on the AP Euro exam. WHAT UP HISTORY. All I remember from this hard read was THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS. Also that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission. Words to live by.

9. The Republic by Plato

The Republic, Plato, Book Cover

The Republic

College! I love you! You guyyyyyyys. THE CAVE. AKA a really awesome metaphor. I read this for a political science class and I feel so well read and brainy when I say that I read this book.

10. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf, Book Cover

To The Lighthouse

Hey remember that one time my AP English teacher was all like HEY LET’S READ STREAM OF CONSCIOUS BOOKS. Yeah, I remember that. I did not mind this book. I also didn’t really get it.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. So, this list makes you sound really smart. 🙂

  2. Cranford is a delight, isn’t it? I visited the village it was based on last week and it was such an awesome experience. Also, I really love the sound of Columbine!

  3. I just got Once Dane With a Duke in the mail yesterday. You’re the second person I’ve seen rave about this book recently, I can’t wait to read it!

  4. I saw that you reviewed Columbine not too long ago. I have a hard time reading/listening to anything on this subject matter in particular. I was a senior in high school when this school shooting happened and I remember it like it was yesterday. Maybe one of these days I’ll pick up this book.

  5. Crank is on my list! and wow… haven’t been able to read Columbine but I’m glad it taught you a lot.

  6. To The Lighthouse kind of baffled me, too. I’ve tried reading other Virginia Woolf books but -ehn- I just don’t get her.

  7. Of all the Top Ten lists I’ve read today (if not ever) I’ve added more books to my wishlist from your list today than any other! The only one I’ve read is Columbine,, and I can definitely agree that it was one a bit outside my comfort zone.

    Please check out my Top Ten / Teaser Tuesday!

  8. I love your list. I’ve read To the Lighthouse too many times to count. You have to love the stream of conscioussness. Never The Prince, though. That seems intense.

  9. I would like to try Crank. I recently read Triangles and it was much better than I was expecting.

  10. I would never have read The Prince had it not been assigned to me in college. As for Cranford, I loved it. Ditto for Columbine!

  11. Cranford is wonderful and Waiting for Godot is crazy town. Sometimes it’s good to try something new.

  12. I am completely with you on Plato! That shizz blew my MIND!
    I’ve noticed Crank has been on a lot of people’s lists…I think I need to give it a shot!

  13. Oh my gosh, I did an entire thesis on Virginia Woolf. I’ve read To The Lighthouse 5 times. When I finally understood it all it was an amazing read. One of my favorite authors ever.

  14. gfbooksmom says

    What a fascinating selection of books.
    Here’s my Post

  15. I read One Dance with a Duke recently and I loved it! Tessa Dare is a new-to-me author and I’m slowly, but surely working my way through her books. You should try Sarah MacLean’s Love by Numbers series or The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn 🙂

  16. So is One Dance With A Duke a good starting place for “that” type of book, lol? Seriously. I mean, it started you in this genre I guess, right?

  17. You are totally hard core 😉

  18. Never read romance either. But One Dance with a Duke does look H.O.T. seriously. Hmmm…

    Ellen Hopkins is pretty amazing with verse. Not the biggest fan of Virginia Woolf’s stuff. Don’t mind stream of consciousness stuff, if it’s a consciousness I’m interested in reading the stream of. Stephen King maybe….

  19. I think it’s awesome that you’ve got such a gigantic reading comfort zone! Major kudos to you for reading both 3 and 4 and not judging past those GAG-TASTIC covers.

  20. To the Lighthouse was my first Woolf and it definitely confused me. Glad to hear the good review of Columbine.

    Laura @ The Scarlet Letter.

  21. Great list April!
    Oh wow, free verse, that’s definitely not my comfort zone! Which is why I’ve never tried that series. Only Roald Dahl could ever win me over with rhymes. 😉

    Ha ha, “vignettes about old people”, that’s so true! I never thought of it that way when I was reading it but it totally sums it up! Nice one.

    I’m not a big fan of stream-of-consciousness books, and the one Woolf book I’ve managed to read so far was Mrs Dalloway – for a class at uni, of course. It must be her shortest book ever but boy was it a slog. I was so bored, I really had to push myself to finish it. Clearly didn’t connect with it at all.

  22. Love how eclectic your list is! Crank and Cranford are both on my TBR and I’ve done Plato and Machiavelli for University back in the day.

  23. Very cool idea for a top ten list. I need to read a bit more out of my zone.

    I have been toying with several of those. I disliked the Masterpiece Theater version of Cranford (way too precious), but I think I’d like the book. I think I’ll try it.

    Thanks for including my book. Sorry in advance if my stalkers spam you.

  24. There is a reason why you are my favourite person – and this is the reason. THESE BOOKS ARE SO WILDLY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE I’VE NOT EVEN HEARD OF LIKE 80% OF THEM.

    Also, Crank? i think we know why i can’t read this one, and even typing this is making me giggle a LOT.

    yay!! i can’t beliebe you read Plato you clever sausage you!

  25. Machiavelli’s Prince tends to be underrated: but its so topical, even today. Great List.

  26. Oo, great list here! It’s so all over the place, I love it!