Navigating our Reading Comfort Zones

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Deep down, I think we all know we are supposed to go outside of our comfort zone every now and then. Someone at some point has convinced us that it’s a good thing. So of course, my response to reading outside of my comfort zone is going to be, yes. A pretty easy question. For me, the kicker is this: how do we get ourselves to read outside of our comfort zones? Deep down, I know that I should broaden my reading horizons, but I can’t seem to quit this John Green kick I’ve gotten myself on lately.

I think a lot of it has to do with how we approach reading outside of our comfort zone. If I tell myself I have to, or that it’s what I should be doing, chances are that I’m going to see it as a negative thing. Perhaps if I make it a goal to do occasionally, the concept will be more achievable. For instance, saying you are going to read one book out of your comfort zone a month (or insert a time frame reasonable for you) is going to yield better results than stressing yourself out to feel like you need to be doing it all of the time. Another thing I’m trying is to get recommendations from other people. It does two things for me. The first is that it gives me a more concrete way to approach getting out of my comfort zone (as opposed to just vaguely saying that I should read more of a certain type of book). I also feel like I will have a better chance of liking a book out of my comfort zone if it comes highly rated by others.

I think it is perfectly acceptable to make reading out of your comfort zone an occasional thing. The majority of reading you do should be fun and enjoyable. Otherwise what’s the point? However, there is also value in trying new books. You never know whether or not you’ll like a book until you try it.

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8 thoughts on “Navigating our Reading Comfort Zones

  1. Going out and finding a new author or trying a new book type is as simple as a google search. I wanted books written similarly to John Green and it suggested many other authors. But if you really want to push yourself, walk into a library section you hardly read and select a book at random. You can always walk away if you hate it.

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  2. I think it’s important to remember when we read outside our comfort zone that we don’t have to finish the book. I think when I read outside my comfort zone I like to plan the book I’m reading. If it’s something I have a desire to get through I will finish the book. It might take me two weeks instead of two days, but I am aware that I want to read and finish the book.

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  3. If there’s something wrong with being on a John Green kick, I don’t want to be right. 🙂 I think I get into phases with books. I do have to challenge myself to try new things, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad to know what you like. I enjoyed your post and loved the idea of trying one outside-the-comfort-zone book per _____ idea. I’m going to employ that one myself.

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  4. I found this post to be very inspiring. So far this semester I have found myself struggling with choosing books outside the realm of fantasy. I just can’t seem to get into books like those written by Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult. I really want to branch out but at the same time I just keep going back to what I love. However, your post has inspired me to keep trying to push that envelope!

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