I have a pretty well set comfort zone when it comes to books. Gillian books are super easy for me to recognize.
Let the record show, I LOVE my comfort zone. I read for me, and to enjoy myself, and to be obliterated in just the way I like to, and to be put together in just the way I need to. I love my tropes, and I love books that play with my tropes. It is a vast sandbox I play in, with many different genres and styles of writing and tones, but it's definitely a sandbox with edges. We all have them.
You may not be a ship-monster like me, or a fantasy-whore like me. Maybe you don't go all gooey at the sight of a dragon, or your eyes don't turn to hearts the moment a synopsis hints at hate to love. Maybe you--gasp--actually prefer books without any magic at all.
Maybe you prefer your contemporaries edgy (I like fluff) or grim (I like funny with a side of the deeps) or full of tragedy/illnesses/issues/drama llamas/DARKNESS (I really, really just like the kissing). Maybe you like horror (oh god please no) and things that go bump in the night (NO BUMPS PLEASE ALL SMOOTH SAILING). Maybe you don't like non-fic, or if you do, it's not the same kind I like--historicals about dead kings and queens who fuck shit up (and each other). Maybe you like books with bleak endings (I prefer happily ever afters).
But comfort zones--we all got 'em. Even if I think yours are weird and scary.
Sometimes, when I venture out of my cozy little sandbox, things go TERRIBLY and I realize, oh god no, back to the land of ships and banter, please, I want a fiery heroine in a flouncy petticoat and a dagger in her garter and a handsome prince she can argue with for a few hundred pages. Take me away from this foreign land of horror and literary fiction, my body is too fragile, I cannot.
And then sometimes, when I'm brave enough to take the plunge, it is so freaking rewarding. I feel like Supergirl when I conquer a book outside my comfort zone and realize I liked it. A lot. OH MY GOD I'M, LIKE, GROWING AS A PERSON AND SHIT.
Books I never would have discovered if I hadn't been brave enough to edge out of the Gillian Books Bubble:
So yeah, I think it's good to have a ZONE. I know what I like, and I don't think there's anything wrong with knowing what your heartbooks are. And there are still some topics and subject matters I straight up have to...not avoid, really, but make super duper sure I can handle in this iteration (grief, for one). But yeah. Sometimes I LOVE reading out of my comfort zone. Putting on a different hat, being a cool new Gillian for a day. A CRIME NOVEL GILLIAN, or a FANCY PANTS LITERARY AWARD Gillian, or a...yeah, no, still not going to be a Stephen King Gillian. Not quite that brave yet.
So what about you? Do you have a comfort zone? What was the last book you tried (and/or loved) outside of your zone?