Reading the post from Kaitlin @ Reading is My Treasure, I found myself wondering about comfort zones and what on earth mine is. In terms of writing about books, I can be uncomfortable with talking about books that feature queer and gender related topics: I don’t control who reads this blog, and just about anyone could come along. I’m especially cagey about discussing asexuality in books, though I have reviewed a couple of books specifically on the topic (The Invisible Orientation; the essay What Do You Mean You’re Not Interested in Sex?). Mental illness and specifically anxiety is an awkward topic, too. It feels a little bit too naked — and my mother has reminded me several times to be careful about what I talk about on here, lest my goal of getting into medical school be harmed by it.
And, given that my mother reads this blog, talking about books which contain sex or other mature themes can feel a bit weird. (But not quite as weird as the inevitable times when, watching NCIS with my grandfather, there’d be a naked scene or something sexual. Gaaaah!)
But what don’t I read? Mainstream YA, I guess; John Green’s books don’t interest me much, and I know that The Fault in Our Stars wouldn’t be a good fit for me, given the subject matter. But then again, I have read Rainbow Rowell’s books, like Eleanor & Park. I have baulked sometimes about YA series like Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy, and I’m still pretty sure no one is going to drag me into reading Kiera Cass’ The Selection. I’m not sure if that’s a comfort zone thing, though — it’s more of a lack of interest, and reading the first chapter of The Winner’s Curse convinced me to try it (and I enjoyed it greatly).
Hard sci-fi, maybe? But I have enjoyed it sometimes, and I’m willing enough to try classic works like Larry Niven’s, even though I know the books contain frankly cringeworthy moments in the representation of women and other minorities. I’m fairly okay with classifying it as ‘of its time’, and not letting it hurt now. (Even if I do comment on it.) And I happily read actual science books, so the issue only really arises when the science is technobabble and I just can’t stay interested.
Romance? Well, that definitely used to be a thing I’d insist I wasn’t interested in. Sometimes my fantasy/sci-fi would steer into romance, and I’d make all kinds of disclaimers about that. But now I cheerfully read Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart, and abandoned the whole idea of ‘guilty pleasures‘.
I think, for me, my ‘comfort zone’ might be less about what I’m willing to try, and more about what I’m willing to let people see me try. If I wasn’t blogging, would I pick up anything different? I’d like to say no, but maybe I would.
Which seems to me an excellent reason to maybe pick up Kiera Cass’ The Selection, just to find out if maybe I would like it. (And get round to reading Anna and the French Kiss.)