Armchair BEA 2014: Beyond the Borders

Posted May 29, 2014 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 18 Comments

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Last year I saw a lot of bloggers participating in Armchair BEA and it looked like a lot of fun, so decided to join Armchair BEA this year. More information about this event you can read on the Armchair BEA site. Also as I live in the Netherlands attending the real BEA convention isn’t really an option, but everyone can attend Armchair BEA.

For todays topic I choose Beyond the Borders, here the Armchair BEA description of today’s topic:

Beyond the Borders
It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!

I am going to take todays topic a bit broadly and talk about borders I set for myself when it comes to reading. Mostly I’ll focus on which genres I didn’t used to read and now do and which genre’s I still don’t read and I’ll be asking for recommendations from you :).

Setting limitations
For a long time I only read fantasy books, because I thought that was the only genre I enjoyed reading. I didn’t even try other genres because I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy them. I just had these ideas and prejudices against those genres that I wouldn’t enjoy them. Once I joined Goodreads I met people who read also other genres then fantasy and then some people starting raving about some contemporary romance books and when I gave a few of them a try I completely fell in love with this genre and I think at least half of the book I read nowadays are in this genre. This experience teached me that it is good to go beyond those borders I set. I do think I’ve become a lot more open to a wider variety of genres after this experience, but when I think about it there are still some genres I instinctively shrink away from. I want to change that and give those genres a try as well.

Going beyond my borders
Even though in my review policy I mention I read every genre as long as the blurb appeal to me, there are some genres which I rarely read. So today I am going to ask you for some recommendations for books that will prove me that those genres can be great as well.
Non-fiction. I don’t know why but I don’t like reading non-fiction or maybe that’s just what I tell myself. Because besides from my study books back in university I can’t remember reading a lot of non-fiction, so maybe I just don’t know what this genre has to offer?
Historical Romances. While I love romance books I usually shy away from historical romances, they just don’t appeal to me. And again when I think about it, I actually can’t think of a reason why. I just get this idea of dusty history books or histoircal incorrect stories and then I shudder. And the weird thing is I actually like history.
Sci-fi. For a long time sci-fi books where a sure no-go for me, when I saw a book listed as sci-fi I was all like nope not for me. Then I read the first two books in the Nogiku series by SJ Pajonas and I started wondering whether my opinion and ideas of sci-fi where al wrong. I am not interested in space opera books, but as long as the characters and story are interesting I am willing to give sci-fi books a try. Only problem? I have no idea where to start. Edit: I recently watched the Star Wars movies and loved them and guess what they turn out to be categorized as space opera, so who knows I might have been wrong about that as well.
Mystery and suspense books. The few mystery and suspense books I’ve read, I really enjoyed, but for some reason I hardly ever read them. So please recommend some great mystery and suspense books to me, preferable with some romance on the side as well.
LBGT. I don’t think I ever read a LBGT book so far, I do have one of them for review which I really hope to read soon, The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen. I actually have nothing against this genre and would love to read more books in this genre, but I just don’t seem to come across LBGT books when I surf around the internet and I hardly ever get review requests for them. And I am not actively searching for LBGT books, so they just don’t cross my path. So give me some recommendations so that I finally come across books in this genre.
Fairytales and retellings. I haven’t read a lot of books in these genres as I somehow think i won’t enjoy them, but I might have missing out on some great books because of this.

Okay so those are genres I hardly read and I want to try reading more of those. So hit me with your recommendations!

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18 responses to “Armchair BEA 2014: Beyond the Borders

  1. Fairytales – Cinder and the sequels. These are set in the future where Cinderella is a cyborg trying to save the Prince from an evil queen.

    Nonfiction – I like nonfiction that reads like a story. Devil the Grove or The White City are crime nonfiction that are page turners.
    Heather recently posted…Armchair BEA – Beyond BordersMy Profile

    • Cinder is already on my to-read list, i’ve heard so many good things about it and I want to read it. Now I only have to find a good excuse to actually buy it.

  2. I like a lot of the genres you’re wishing to branch out into. Especially non-fiction and fairy tale retellings. In the non-fiction category, I also think of memoir, and that seems like a logical place to start. Lately I’ve enjoyed Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl, I love anything by David Sedaris, and while it’s not a memoir, I loved The Astronaut Wives Club last year. Fairy tale retellings can be hit and miss, but I have The Woodcutter by Kate Danley coming up on my TBR. I’ve also loved the Fables series of graphic novels by Bill Willingham. They’re edgy and smart.

    • Non-fiction is going to be a really difficult genre to branch out in for me, I just instinctively shy away from it. And every time it’s mentioned I am like uhm now, I really should just read one and see if what i think about the genre is true. Indeed a memoir might be the right place to start, but it just feels weird knowing it’s real. I’ll check out your recommendations πŸ™‚

  3. I was really stuck in fantasy and classics as well, because I just enjoyed them so much and I was convinced certain stereotypes about YA were true. I was convinced in favour of trying them out by friends and after ‘Untold’ I realised each genre has something good to offer! Sci-Fi can be quite hard to get into when you don’t think you like the space opera aspect of some of its novels. Try ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, it has space, aliens but especially it has humour so maybe it’ll make you enjoy the other things too!
    Great post πŸ™‚
    My Beyond Borders post
    Juli @ Universe in Words
    Juli @ Universe in Words recently posted…Armchair BEA – Beyond the BordersMy Profile

    • It’s really hard to look beside those general ideas I have about certain genres and actually give a genre a chance. I actually just found out Star Wars is categorized as Space Opera and I loved the Star Wars movies (I watched them for the first time last week). So yeah maybe I just have the wrong idea and I think what I am actually is afraid of is that there’s only focus on the battle and not enough character depth to keep me interested, but maybe that really depends on the book.

  4. First off, you’ve been very honest in your post. (incidentally…I don’t like historical novels either. Romance or not…). I like that. Also, I love the challenge – to get someone interested in books outside their confort zone! πŸ™‚ Let’s see…
    – Sci-fi.
    The Jenna Fox Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson (trilogy); All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (+ sequel on its way! There’s just the right amount of romance in this one). I reviewed them on my blog/Goodreads page if you are interested.
    – Mystery and suspense books.
    Do you like adult books? Because you really need to try some Agatha Christie, if you haven’t already. (On second thoughts, I first read her when I was a kid…). As for YA, Remember Me by Christopher Pike (afterlife/mystery crossover); Last Act & Weekend, also by Pike (do you see a pattern here?). I reviewed the first one.
    – LBGT.
    Trying Hard to Hear You by Sandra Scoppettone. Reviewed it too.

    Let me know if you decide to try one of them :).
    Roberta R. recently posted…Armchair Bea Day 4: Beyond the BordersMy Profile

      • Thanks for the recommendations, I recognize some of the titles from having heard of them before. If I am correct All our Yesterdays is a time travel book, right? Another one of those genres I avoid like the plague. I didn’t even list it here, because I still think I have a valid reason for avoiding that genre, lol. I actually read all age catgeories whether, MG, YA, NA or adult as long as the blurb appeals to me. I’ll check out your recommendations πŸ™‚

        • I have to admit I’m a sucker for time travel…but from what I saw, All Our Yesterdays has managed to win lots of people over, and I suppose at least some of them could have been not particularly inclined to read a time travel novel. I usually shun largely hyped books, but this one was worth it. Also, the t. t. aspect is really well done – not too technical, not too messy.
          Roberta R. recently posted…Armchair BEA Day 5: Middle Grade/Young AdultMy Profile

  5. I can’t help you with some of those genres because I have no interest in them myself. However, sci-fi I do enjoy from time to time as long as theirs some kind of love invovled. ha! I really enjoyed The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Under the Never Sky could be considered a bit sci-fi and the Sky Chasers series by Amy Kathleen Ryan I enjoyed. Good luck branching out!

    Holly @ Words Fueled by Love
    Holly @ Words Fueled by Love recently posted…Armchair BEA Day 4: GIVEAWAYS!!My Profile

    • I own Under the Never Sky already, I really want to read it soon, although I thought it was dystopia. And I agree I want some love or at least focus on characters in my sci-fi books. Actually even on other genres I want more beside the story, namely characters and world building.

  6. Hi Lola, great post! For non-fiction you might want to try The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. It’s like a non-fiction/thriller/sci-fi mash-up that’ll keep you on the edge of your armchair and will definitely take you across some borders! For LGBT some of my favorites are Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, and Patience & Sarah by Isabelle Miller. Happy reading!
    Chris Wolak recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Missy & WillaMy Profile

  7. Non-fiction: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. It is now one of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 picks.

    Historical Romances: I’d recommend the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I gushed about book one in my ABEA intro.

    Mystery and suspense books:
    Patricia Cornwell – Kay Scarpetta series
    Lee Childs – Jack Reacher series

    Sci-fi/Fairytales and retellings: Jael Wye did a guest post on my blog. She wrote a sci-fi romance that is a retelling of Jack and the beanstalk. I haven’t read it yet but I bought a copy based on her post.

    Author Jael Wye Discusses Science Fiction Ideas and Classic Fairy Tales

    LBGT: I started reading LBGT books last month. I’d recommend The World Unseen by Shamim Sarif. It was adapted into a movie of the same name.
    Skeeter Lee recently posted…Excerpt + Giveaway: The Navy SEAL’s E-Mail Order Bride by Cora SetonMy Profile

  8. Funny that you like romance, but not historical. I’m the other way around :p so I like to pick up Historical fictions. I had a long time that I didn’t read sci-fi books too, until I met Cinder πŸ˜€ Fairytales and retellings is my favorite genre, like you know. So if you need recommendations, shoot me a message :)!
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Monthly recap. May (+ vlog!)My Profile

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