Stepping out of my Comfort Zone the prejudices that hold me back

Filed in The Geeky Lover Posted on January 5, 2011 @ 1:00 pm 15 comments
In the past I often discovered that stepping out of my reading comfort zone can change your reading habits in a big way.
I started reading mostly science fiction and fantasy without any touch of romance, and yes reading my first romance made me blush like crazy and I thought I would never like that “kitsch”.
And here I am now Romance addict and fighting for it to be accepted by others. But no, my prejudices didn’t stop there.

I always loved to read Paranormal Romance or SciFi Romance (when I found one) but Contemporaries for me always were those housewife stories with the appealing names like “Virgin on her Wedding Night” or even better “The Playboy Sheikh’s Virgin Stable Girl”. Seriously? I swore to never read those and I was 100% sure that the rest of this genre couldn’t be any better. I had these conception that I would only find desperate woman on their search for their one big love, than find it, lose to some kind of big misunderstanding and then finally the big HEA. Sounds familiar? Yeah I admit I was wrong. There are so many outstanding Contemporary Romances and I can never apologize enough for judging this genre without having ever read it.
But It seems I will never learn. There are still some genres I still think about as a no-go even though I actually never read them. For example we have Young Adult. *hides behind her stone* I know there is a huge fanbase for the Young Adult books out there and all these people can’t be wrong- but I’m still reluctant to try them.
(c) pilpeled
But why? Tough question, I can’t really say why. It’s hard to really admit because all the reasons I have are just prejudices and deep inside I know they aren’t correct. But still they are holding me back.
I will just get them out and hope you won’t skin me: I’m afraid that the main characters will be childish and do the stupid things teens like to do from time to time. I hate that. Perhaps I was doing those too much in my youth but I really don’t like to actually read about these. Teenage Angst makes me cringe most of the time- it’s like a ride back into highschool hell.
IF I would ever read this genre I would probably go for the romantic ones in that genre and I’m afraid I will get the next morning line or even worse nothing like that at all. This one is tightly connected to my next reason, which is probably the big prejudice bomb but it’s one of the main point for me. Most books I read are American and I’m really reluctant to say that because I have many American friends, but those seem to be more prude than the Europeans are. *hides behind her 12 stars on blue* There I said it! *deep breath* The thing is I don’t think that it’s realistic for a 16 year old to not have sex or to not be thinking about it.
In today’s society, at least here in Europe, that is pretty normal and no one expects something else. We have all those sexual education courses in school pretty early and they are rather detailed to say it nice. It’s very important here for everyone that you know how to be on the safe side and to know what prevents you from getting any STDs. The motto here is: Knowledge saves lives! and being raised with that makes it hard for me to imagine it differently. So when there would be a heroine at that age “saving” herself for the right guy I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from rolling my eyes, with the risk of them falling out of my head. 😉 (and yes I’m aware of religious reasons for that but yeah I’m not religious so I don’t get those either).
Another genre I try to not read is Historical Romance. This one makes the feminist in me scream so hard it hurts my own ears. I know it is completely correct for the woman of that time to know nothing about the male anatomy or sex in general- but I still don’t like it. I think important for liking a book is that I can relate to the heroine and feel like she does. But it drives me crazy when they are these damsels in distress and need saving, when they can’t stand up for their own or look like they see a cucumber for the first time. I don’t like that they can’t make their own decisions and that the men are mostly these overbearing I’m-the-best-evolution…oopps…God-ever-made guys. I’m sure there are exceptions out there.
I actually read some I really liked for example Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel was really nice even though some tropes where in it too but most of them make me start sending totally unrelated emails to Caroline who rolls her eyes at me for being like I am.
I really know that those are just prejudices and that most won’t even be true but these are some of the reasons holding me back. I will probably breach my own limits some day but right now It seems I still need a little push here and there.

Did you step out of your comfort zone in the past?
So any title out there that would change my mind?
Why do you think your recommendation would make me lose my prejudices?

About Susi


Susi is a geeky vegetarian from Gemany. She just finished university and now works as a civil engineer in steel construction. Besides her reading addiction she also knits like a maniac while listening to audiobooks. Susi also blogs at the Secret HEA Society.

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15 Comments

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  • pattepoilue January 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Oh hon, I can't throw rocks at you because I don't often step out of my comfort zone. The more I read the worst it gets. Like you I was very ashamed of reading my first romances lol. Of course now I only read romance so yeah stepping out of my comfort zone was a good idea.
    The problem is that I did try new genre or new subjects that disgusted me even more and I end up crossing that genre completely from my list.
    *sigh* I can't for the life of me get myself to read cop/PI books with pleasure…I mean I do enjoy some books with Cops/PI but if I read a blurb that involved that I ended up running away lol.

    Now onto the important stuff, ahem…
    HOW DARE YOU!!!! Historical romances are fantastic! Eeeeeeeeeeekkkkk you should be spanked in public for that affront lol. Come ON, you don't have to go that back in the past to have 'virginal' heroines.

    ok it's dinner time but I'll be back to punish you

  • Blodeuedd January 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Lol, I know harlequin's have stupid titles, but I honestly thought you invented that stable one *snorts* guess not 😉

    As for sex, better to know about it, then not know about it and end up on 16 and preggers.

    Oh Susi, go and read some HR now, they are so fun, you must see the amusing things in them. One should never take books too seriously.

    I sure stepped out when I read erotica..now bf thinks I read it all the time cos every time someone has sex in a book I am reaidng I make some comments to him what they are doing, what can I say, I like to share

  • SusiSunshine {The Geeky Bookworm} January 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    @pattepoilue I don't get what you have aginst the cops. Those can be extra hot. Did you read the Noturne City booky by Caitlin Kittredge? Werewolf cop girl? Perhaps a touch for para is doing it for you. And pah…I'm not scared Muahahahh!

    @Blodeuedd OMG that sounds hilarious. Will start to quote to BF too. He just snickers at my presious covers and always tries to get his parents far far away from my shelves. LOL And I think I like HR as long as it'S fun and not too virginal. Suggestions?

  • Keri January 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I think it is always good to step out of your comfort zone once in a while and take a chance on something new. I've found when I've been reluctant towards a novel, I've really enjoyed it when I gave it a go.

    I do however think there are some genres which just do not appeal to certain people due to personal preference.

    I have been reading a lot of young adult fiction in the last half year and I have to say that it varies just as much as literary fiction. There is quite a wide selection of YA romance and paranormal YA romance and I do think that there are plenty of titles which involve sexual tension and sex. I think a fair amount of them are American.

    I don't really have any experience when it comes to reading historical romance, except perhaps Pride and Prejudice but at least there the protagonist levels up to her love interest on an intellectual level and challenges him, making for more conflict in the plot. I do agree about the reluctance to want to read a novel about an ignorant damsel.

    My advice is that if you are at least reluctant to delve into a new area of reading – such as YA – to read some reviews of YA novels. They're plastered all over the blogosphere and otherwise, just pick one up off the shelf at the library. That's how I seem to come across some surprising reads that I would have otherwise been reluctant towards.

  • SusiSunshine {The Geeky Bookworm} January 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    @Keri I agree 100%- Most times I stepped out of my comfort zone I found something awesome. You as a YA pro, anything you would rec? Romance but full of action and fun too is my fave?
    And yes, exactly I love when teh heroine actually levels up in HR.

  • Donna January 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I did that with the fantasy-type stuff when I started writing. It wouldn't make any sense for me to write fantasy with not having read anything outside of Harry Potter. I'm pretty big into it now. And lately I've been into YA contemporaries simply to take a break from a lot of the redundant fantasy (read: paranormal romance) that's out there.

    I tend to stay away from romance (as in the genre title to any extent) in general just because I don't like it. Never have. I don't mind storylines with some romance in it but when that's the plot, I just get bored. I shy away from adult titles too simply because doorstoppers scare me. I'll go there for horror but that's about it. I just don't have the patience to slog through 100 pages of nothing to get to the point of the plot.

  • Estella January 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I read all fiction genres. Took me a while to get into sci-fi.

  • Julia Rachel Barrett January 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I know it's illogical, but if I read a title like: The Billionaire Sheik's Virgin Bride, I run! Billionaire and Virgin are two trigger words that make my hackles rise. I think I'll throw millionaire in there too.
    A heroine can be a virgin, a hero can be wealthy as sin – just don't put it on the title – let me find out as part of the story.
    I too stay away from YA, mostly because I view it as a fad and a marketing ploy. Right or wrong, I think if YA stories were called fantasy or science fiction or even paranormal with a G sort of rating, I'd be more interested.

  • LSUReader January 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Susi, It sounds like you’re doing a good job of embracing change at your own pace. That you wrote this column shows you’re looking for a reason to break out some more.

    One of the things I like most about blogs like this one is the opportunity to learn about different genres and authors. I’ve found some wonderful books this way, including Historicals. I hope you’ll give them another try. I think you’ll be surprised at how different some heroines are compared to your expectations in this column. I’d suggest you try these recent releases: The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean or Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan. For strong Historical Romance heroines, few can beat Jessica Trent in Loretta Chase’s 1995 Lord of Scoundrels.

    I don’t ready YA, either, but for a different reason. My TBR stack is too huge. I know if I begin reading YA, it will just add to the problem! So, none of that until the TBR stack is manageable. Happy reading.

  • Blodeuedd January 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    All the virgins loose it way too fast for my taste these days in HR, lol.

    But let's see, last year I really liked Jennifer Haymore and Julia Quinn 🙂 Oh and Haymore had dungeon sex 😉

    Lol, go ahead and start, I just have to speak up when I come across a weird sex scene or when the woman comes when he kisses her. Those are moments to be shared 😉

  • SusiSunshine {The Geeky Bookworm} January 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    @Donna I have to say I really love fantasy and yeah romance lover here and yeah I love this genre. And there are great books with an awesome plot in them. But yeah I know everything about prejudices so I won't judge 😉

    @Estella Why do you think scifi took you longer?

    @Julia No, it'S not I agree hon. I really sometimes think you are my long lost twin. Would never read a billionaire/virgin book and yes that is a point about YA I forgot to mention.

    @LSUReader I'm scribbling down notes and I think I will get that Ian book. Everyone seems to love it so I wanna know why. And that YA reason should be one of mine too. LOL

    @Blodeuedd Yes I think it'S always a bit too convenient even for my taste. LOL Dungeon sex? Which one? Please tell me more! And yes we will see how BF likes this. Bwahahah! SOunds hilarious.

  • Anonymous January 6, 2011 at 1:02 am

    nice post. thanks.

  • Blodeuedd January 6, 2011 at 6:54 am

    A touch of scandal by Jennifer Haymore. lol, really liked the book even though the sex there made me snort ;=)

  • Sheree January 6, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Considering that I refused to read any romance novels as a teen (while my friends were all about romances), I suppose I have expanded my horizons. My first romance read was "Anyone But You" by Jennifer Crusie, mostly because it was available online via the local library and it had a dog on the cover. Now, I switch between YA books and romances (historical, paranormal, contemp, even erotica). I also have stopped yelling "don't do it" during love scenes (when the heroine finally gives into her feelings for the hero).

    Given my years of reading mysteries, I still have a bit of a problem reading romantic suspense because they usually don't have enough mystery for me.

  • Stella (Ex Libris) January 9, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Oh Sweetie, I'm absolutely there with you! 🙂

    All through my childhood/teenage /university years I was raised in a bit of literary snobbish way: just like you I looked down on these contemporary romances, thought them trashy and never could have imagined one day I would read romances! And now it is one of my favourite genres!

    And YA is a genre I'm prudent with: not because of prejudices but because of experience: maybe it is because I'm not a teen anymore, I hate whiny childish immature teenage protagonists when they are living their life in drama queen fashion and thinking every small difficulty is the end of the world. I would recommend Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James or Hush Money by Susan Bischoff which proved me so wrong in this department!

    I LOVE historical romances: though I'm an independent feminist, in historicals I like the fairy tale element (but even in those I require the heroine to be smart and not some wallflower without any willpower and character).

    I am a bit reluctant about sci-fis and fantasies. Somehow I have this prejudice that they are mostly for male readers and that I wouldn't enjoy them. So I'm trying to expand my horizons and ease into this unknown territory. Maybe I'll take baby steps with romantic sci-fis (seeing how muyh I LOVED Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch!)

    Oh my God, Susi! That Sheikh and Virgin title made me snort with laughter! I didn't believe it existed!! Thanks for teh proof! And oh my, how did you manage to find that perfectly awful cheesy HR pic? You're made of awesome! 😀

    ps: @pattepoilue: I love cop romances! 😀

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