What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?

And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

I definitely found H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds to be really odd. I’m just not much of a sci-fi person, and I’m sure the radio version was totally shocking, and I might enjoy an audio version of the book… but I really couldn’t get into it. I read the first chapter twice, and the first few pages several different times; I just couldn’t get into it.

Alice Sebold is definitely an unsual writer. Her subject matter is not in any of the standard conventions — I’ve never read a story through the eyes of a girl who was raped and murdered (Lovely Bones). Then Lucky just blew me away — first person rape victim, Alice Sebold’s own story. And more recently, Almost Moon, a story written in first person about a woman who kills her ailing mother because she’s just had enough.

In terms of language and style, the first time I picked up a Shakespeare play I was baffled. It didn’t make any sense. Now though, I can recognize the conventions and terms that Shakespeare plays with, and I really enjoy the verbal humour. That being said though, Shakespeare is meant to be heard out-loud, not in your head. Reader’s Theatre with friends is the best way to appreciate Shakespeare.