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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Sometimes you just have to step out of your comfort zone. My boyfriend and I are both avid readers. We are always recommending new reads to each other and discussing our favorite authors. While we both love to read, our tastes in literature could not be further apart. I like the classics; his tastes are a bit more...well, nerdy. I mean, don't get me wrong, I certainly embrace my inner nerd. I love Harry Potter and Transformers and Pokemon, etc. But even I have my limits. Let's just say Star Wars is not my forte. However, thanks in part to his gentle persistence, I finally decided to step outside my comfort zone and try some of his recommendations. I was astonished by what I found. Below is a short list of authors who might not exactly appear on Oprah's Book Club reading list, but are worth checking out nonetheless.
Orson Scott Card
Card is most famous for his Ender series. As I said, Star Wars is not really my thing, so I was a bit wary of reading a science fiction novel. However, I was pleasantly surprised! I started with the first novel in the series, Ender's Game. The story takes place on a future Earth that is at war with an alien species known as the "buggers." The brightest, most promising children are taken from their parents at a young age and trained by the government to become elite soldiers who will fight in the war against the alien threat. The book follows just such a young child, named Ender. Despite this futuristic theme, I found the book wonderfully relatable. It was so well written, I often found myself forgetting that I was reading a science-fiction novel. Other books by Orson Scott Card include Speaker for the Dead, Children of the Mind, and Xenocide.
Mark Z. Danielewski
Anything written by Mark Danielewski should come with a disclaimer: *Warning! Drop your cerebral trousers because your mind is about to get blown* would work nicely. Danielewski is a master of the experimental novel. His book House of Leaves is about a family that moves into a picturesque house in Virginia, only to find that their dream home is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. When they start to explore the hallways and passageways that mysteriously appear in the house, things get weird. The physical appearance of the book reflects this. At times the text on the page appears backwards, upside-down, or spiraling toward the center of the page. For more "weirdness by Danielewski," check out Only Revolutions and The Fifty Year Sword.
Sanderson is a fantasy author. Now, when I first head the term "fantasy novel," I couldn't help but blush. I am happy to report that it's not what it sounds like. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson is about a group of people, known as allomancers, who ingest and "burn" elemental metals to fuel super-human abilities. They use these abilities to topple the oppressive regime of their god-emperor, the Lord Ruler. An imaginative name, I know. The strong female protagonist really struck a chord with me. Sanderson is the author of other fantastical works such as Elantris, Warbreaker, and The Way of Kings.
If you've ever been hesitant to explore genres you're unfamiliar with, consider this an invitation for you to step outside of your comfort zone. I sincerely hope you enjoy your journey! Have a wonderful week, as well.