In which I challenge myself to step outside of my (bookish) comfort zone

I don't ever step outside my comfort. Okay, I sometimes do. But very rarely. I am an anxious peanut and I like the known, I like the familiar. I have been an avid reader and keen eater of books for the past 12 years of my life and I have read many books so I generally know which books will have me flailing and screeching I LOVE THIS BOOK and which books will have me wanting to throw them against a wall. I know I love YA fiction. I know that I love contemporaries, urban fantasies and paranormal fantasies. I do a brilliant job of avoiding adult fiction, high fantasies, thrillers and weirdly, sci-fi (even though I'm obsessed with space. I don't get me either, don't worry.). BUT what happens when you *shock horror* stumble upon a book that isn't in your genre...and you actually end up liking it or, even more bizarrely, loving it? 

NOW WHAT?! HOW CAN THIS BE?! And most worrying of all, how many potential favourite books have we missed out on because we haven't wanted to venture out of our comfort zone? That, my friends, is one heck of a sobering thought which has led me to challenge myself to read books that aren't in my normal genres. To read adult fiction if it sounds interesting, to try that thriller that everybody is raving widen my search for my next favourite book.

Recently I've been reading out of my comfort zone, not massively outside of it, but slightly and I've been loving said books. This has made me incredibly eager to start reading books I wouldn't have considered reading before.

It all started when I was at the library and I saw a book on the shelf that I'd never seen around the blogosphere and never heard of before. The book had an eye-catching cover (I hate to admit it but a pretty cover is the first thing that draws my attention!) and when I read the synopsis I was like “Ooh, this sounds good. It's sci-fi though and I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi books but...I think I'll give it a go. What's the harm, right?” I took the book home, sped through it and fell completely and utterly in love. I wandered outside my comfort zone...and I found a new favourite trilogy (The Chronicles of the Invaders by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard, if you were wondering). I did the same thing when my dad bought a Nick Hornby book and he said it was good. I thought “Hmm, this looks interesting. Not my general genre but there's nothing to lose, right?” and although it didn't end up being a favourite, I had a good time reading it. Last example: I don't read as many middle-grade/”children's” fiction even though whenever I do I really enjoy them. The past two weeks I've read two middle-grade novels (Bad Magic and Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch) and I loved them so much and I felt like I was falling in love with reading all over again. It made me want to go to the children's section of the library and take out books that I know I would've chosen to read when I was a younger reader.

Because of all the amazing books I've read that aren't what I typically read I've decided I want to read more books in genres that I generally steer clear from. I probably won't buy or request books in a genre that I'm still slightly wary of but, as you probably know by now, I'm a HUGE fan of the library and I'm going to make more of an effort to read books that are thrillers, books that are sci-fi, books that are high fantasy, books that scare me. Why? Because I could find a new favourite, and that's a wonderful thought.

So tell me! Do you ever wander outside your comfort zone? Do you have a comfort zone or are you one of those people I highly admire that can read a book in any genre? Which book have you read that you wouldn't generally read and you ended up loving?