Reading Challenge Book List

*These books were reviewed from fall 2019 through June 2020, the reviews are still available for you to read and are tagged under “Reading Challenge”

Reading Challenge Book List: Genres Outside My Comfort Zone

Welcome to my reading list! This list is the first of many that I will be using as I tackle my self-imposed reading challenge to read all different types of books in an effort to become a better writer. I invite you to read along with me, or to create your own list that reflects genres that you aren’t very familiar with.

How I Chose These Books

As you may know from the About This Blog page, I’m a fantasy fan from way back. I’ve also read quite a few classic novels (some of which fall into the below genres, but my purpose now is to read contemporary examples.) Even though my goal is to read outside my comfort zone I wanted to read books that sounded interesting to me. To that end, I used sites like Goodreads to help me determine which books to read. There were hundreds of popular books I could have chosen in each category so this list is not representative of all the great stuff that is out there. I consider this list to be a starting place and I will probably add to it as the year goes on. Please feel free to recommend books I should read. The genres I consider to by “outside my comfort zone” are: science fiction, romance, nonfiction, horror and the YA versions of those.

Without further ado here is the list:

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky 

Science Fiction

I picked this book because it was raved about as being one of the best science fiction books about evolutionary biology that’s ever been written. I haven’t read much science fiction, but I have always been interested in biology so I figured I ‘d give this one a go.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang


Romance is honestly the hardest sell for me genre-wise. This book looked interesting because it involves diverse characters and a rather unique situation. I’m hoping it doesn’t just follow the predictable tropes of Rom-Com movies.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

 YA Romance

I am picking an adult and a YA version of some of these genre’s because I think they have unique things about them that might be helpful. I picked this book because, like the Kiss Quotient, it looked like it might not follow all the tired tropes of the genre.

The Shining by Steven King


So, true confession time, the only book I’ve ever read by Steven King is On Writing. I really need to fix that. He’s one of the masters and if I want to learn about writing by reading then his work seems like a pretty great place to start.

One Of Us is Lying by Karen McManus 

Ya Thriller

Again a YA version. This book has really good reviews and I hope it will teach me something about writing creepy stuff for a younger audience.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer 


I read a lot of non-fiction in college but since then I haven’t read for information very often. This book stood out to me because it is a book about the Native American struggle that is written by a Native American author. I think that for any writer to be able to effectively write “the other” we first have to understand “the other’s” story as told from their own perspective.

The Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

 Hard Science Fiction

I’m hoping this book will take me even farther from my comfort zone than Children of Time. Biology is at least somewhat in my wheelhouse, but Yoon Ha Lee’s book deals with math. Nothing is further from my comfort zone than that.

Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott


A book about writing. I want to read several of these, as different authors probably have slightly different advice. This will be the first book about writing that I’ve read that is by a female author.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison


This book is about the experience of being Black in America. I’m hoping it will provide some insight that will help me to write “the other”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: