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Comfort Zone

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This post prompts a very timely and interesting question that is worth further discussion. What do we read for comfort? In honor of March 6, World Book Day in the UK and Ireland, Cornflower raises the question about our reading comfort zone:

Do we all have reading comfort zones, I wonder – that is genres or specific types of authors or periods or subjects within which we like to stay, knowing that our reading experience in that chosen sphere will most probably be a pleasurable one? Or do we read much more freely, never saying “I don’t touch science fiction/chick lit./poetry/etc.” but choosing our books as we happen to find them, unrestricted by preconceptions?

I read for lots of reasons: information, comfort, joy, and sensation. When I’m not gravitating on Russian literature or historical fiction, I dig the books in which I can identify myself. The two books I mention in the post below, Giovanni’s Room and Maurice both ring some truth about me and sketch an incomplete but impartial patch of my character and attitude toward relationship. The journey to self-discovery through reading provides the best comfort when friends sometimes just cannot visualize themselves in my shoe. The three recent reads: Hotel Du Lac, The Aerodynamics of Pork and Kansas in August on the same note also fall into this comfort category.

Armchair travel books that whisk me away to distant, somewhat less traveled domains like The Gentleman in the Parlour, Burmese Days, The Hotel on the Roof of the World and River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze River deliver the sense of romance, sensation, and thrill that I crave when I’m on the road. Sometimes I begin creating plots, imagining circumstances and drama for the people that are mentioned in these books. Not that the writing of these books are not gracious or elegant, they are more light-hearted and fluid that I don’t have to analyze from sentence to sentence. Nor are they shoddy and bland like those airport pocket-sized books. They are simply great readings that I don’t have to sweat about keeping dialectical journal.

3 Responses

  1. I definitely have comfort zones in my reading. I love ghost, haunted house and zombie stories/novels, just to get my adrenlain pumping. I also lean toward reading gay/lesbian fiction, to learn about different experiences with being gay. And I have a set of favorite authors that I always read and re-read.

    But sometimes, reading challenges or lists allow me to break out of the confines of my comfort zone.

  2. I tend to prefer the classics of English, American and Russian literature. I read this blog and sometimes others to get ideas for an occasional foray into something more unusual or contemporary. Moleskine Notebook gets some very interesting responses. I check often to see what some of you out there have to say.

  3. Although I think I’m a voracious reader, there is no way I can keep up with your stacks of books! I find the reading challenges keep me on the straight and narrow, but only sometimes and then I go off again because of a review or something that comes recommended on a blog….

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