Monday, July 04, 2011

New Ventures in Reading

What I'm reading: Pioneer Woman, by Ree Drummond; Daughter of a Pioneer, by Atlanta Georgia Thompson; Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson.

Happy Independence Day to my readers in the US. We have a total burn ban in the county, so we won't be doing the fireworks thing here. However you celebrate, be safe.

First, a reminder that today is the last day to take advantage of my Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale. Second, there's a new summer sale at Smashwords and WHAT'S IN A NAME? is on special for 25% off. Check the Deals & Steals tab.

My reading pile has taken a shift in genre recently. I tend to stick to mystery or romantic suspense. The majority of my variations come from giveaways or because I'm judging a contest.

At my last RWA chapter meeting, I won a drawing and had a choice of two books as my prize. My tastes in reading seem to be reasonably well known, because one member of the group called out, "You took the Pioneer one?" I pointed out that the second offering was FINDING SARAH, which I just happened to be one I'd written, so there wasn't really any question about which book I'd choose.

The title of the book was PIONEER WOMAN. I figured I'd be reading some sort of historical novel, and to be honest, the only times I enjoyed (or tolerated) history class was when we studied the old west, so I thought I might like it. But when I got home and looked at the book, it was subtitled "From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" and wasn't at all what I expected. It's a current day memoir and, to my surprise, is an enjoyable read, as memoir isn't usually my thing either. Would I be reading it otherwise? Probably not. But it's downstairs in the basket of my exercise bike, and it actually motivates me to work out so I can read some more.

I've also decided to attend a book club meeting. Normally, I don't like book clubs because "assigned reading" feels like homework, especially if it's not a book in a genre I'd pick up on my own. But I figured I'd give it a try (and the woman who invited me to check them out did stress they served an excellent breakfast).

This book club is divided into two groups because they're too big to have enough time for everyone to contribute if they're talking about one book. One of the books for July is a first person account of life in early Colorado. Since I'm new to the area, I thought it might be interesting. And since I'm not a member of the club, so I'm not in one of the groups, I thought I'd try to read both of them.

The second is a novel set in the English countryside. I've enjoyed Agatha Christie mysteries as well as the Richard Jury series by Martha Grimes. Although this one isn't billed as a mystery, but more humor, it appears interesting to delve into.

I'm looking forward to reading them and then seeing what others have to say. (And breakfast). I only hope I have time, as I'm going to be spending 5 days with my parents, and I'm traveling with my NOOKcolor for reading material, since I intend to take a carryon only.

As with anything else in life, sometimes we have to be willing to venture beyond our normal reading preferences. It's not like there's a huge risk. If I don't like the book, I can stop reading, right? And if I do like it, it's a pleasant surprise, and maybe an expansion of my horizons.

I'll have a follow up report after the book club meeting at the end of July.

Have you ever discovered some pleasant surprises when reading something outside your normal "comfort" area?

Tomorrow my guest is Karla Brandenberg, who's talking about searching for inspiration.


Carol Kilgore said...

The last book I read outside my normal zone was very inspiring, and I truly enjoyed it. It doesn't always work that way for me, so when it does, it's always a pleasant surprise.

Fireworks banned here, too :(

Ray said...

I have read more outside of my usual favorites since joining Yahoo groups and since acquiring a Kindle. One book I heard about online was Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE. I don't usually read political books, but this one seemed to stand out from all the rest. I only finished about half the book so far as I wanted to get back to reading fiction, but every time I watch the news I think back to what I have read in Klein's book and see it in the day to day events in politics and the economy.

Normally my favorites are romantic suspense or mystery. I have branched out, but still do not read much non fiction. I maintain that quite a bit of fictional writing is non fiction without footnotes.


Terry Odell said...

Carol, I admit I'm also surprised when I like something outside my realm.

Ray - Chris Whitcomb wrote a non-fiction account of his days with the FBI HRT, and he said it was more fiction than when he wrote a novel about the same events.

Jemi Fraser said...

I have! I picked up Shiver, having only heard it was a terrific YA book. I do enjoy YA and try to read a fair amount so I can suggest current books to my students. What I didn't expect was a werewolf book. I would NEVER have picked one up. It was terrific - a love story wrapped around a well thought out plot that took a unique approach.

Terry Odell said...

Jemi - it's always nice to find those surprises. I missed out on some good books because they were billed as "thrillers" which wasn't a genre I liked. But I tried one simply because the author was going to be a keynote at a conference, and I thought I should try one of his books, and I truly enjoyed it (although I wouldn't call it a thriller--so sometimes those pesky labels are wrong)