Top Ten Tuesday- You're Making Me Uncomfortable

A lot of things make me uncomfortable in my life. People changing their baby's diapers in front of me. Being questioned about my personal life by people not involved in it. Teenagers with low rise pants. Opening gifts in front of people. Being hit on when I'm sober. The list goes on.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish asks us to divulge the top ten books that have made us uncomfortable. This is pretty difficult; books don't make me uncomfortable and I'm quite accepting of new genres. But there are some that have forced me to go outside my comfort level, and a few that maybe I shouldn't have read when I did. Here we are:

1. Shank by Roderick Anscombe: I read this when I was about thirteen- I have no clue what made me want to buy a book about a man in prison when I was that young. I remember very little except the graphic description about the glory hole (thanks to my husband for that terminology) that the male prisoners employed. At the time it was traumatizing; now I understand that we all have needs and 20 years can be quite a long time...

2. Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison: This is another novel I read way too young and just remember feeling very strange when the young protagonist masturbated, considering I was reading it in the family room while my little brother and sister watched cartoons (see note above about needs... I promise no more awkward sexual references from my youth).

3. Maybe Baby by Lori Leibovich and assorted writers: This was a collection of essay written by people who have made choices to have, and not have, kids. I read this recently, and I think it made me uncomfortable in a good way- as a married girl in my late (ew) twenties this is very relevant topic that deserved some reflection.

4. Big Machine by Victor Lavalle: I'm not normally a sci-fi reader, but I had heard great things about this text so I gave it a try. The unrealistic elements being treated real was hard for me to accept in a novel, but the writing was superb. While I haven't read much since, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up his next novel.

5. A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne: I read this for a college education class and was legitimately uncomfortable with the assumptions she made about the culture of poverty. The blatant stereotyping and borderline racism was just too much for me. As educators we need to understand the culture are students come from, but it needs to be accurate.

6. Marley and Me by John Grogan: I'm not one for the "I found the meaning of life in my animal" genre, but I read the young adult version to my students when I taught elementary and this one made me horribly sad at the prospect of losing my pets. I read it every year and made sure that I had a bottle of water handy when I got to the part where they put him down. I'd stop, yell at some kid for not paying attention and take a few sips so I wouldn't cry in front of my kids.

7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult: This book didn't make me uncomfortable for the scientific organ-harvesting aspect; it made me uncomfortable because I was reading such a highly popular mainstream book. What can I say? I'm a snob. It was okay; what my husband would refer to as "Oscar bait" in movie terms. The writing was definitely mediocre.

8. Open Me by Sunshine O'Donnell: This novel is a high under-rated novel, all about professional wailers that people pay to mourn at funerals (illegal in many places, but still happens). It's hard to pinpoint why this bothers me. In a way it trivializes mourning and death, by turning it into a business. Also the abuse the young child in the novel faced was very depressing (by the way, I highly recommend this book).

9. Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Firlik: I've used this book before on the blog, and I've rambled on about the regret associated with it as well. This memoir is about a female neurosurgeon and her trials and tribulations in the field. The discomfort factor comes with the remorse I feel in regards to switching from the doctor track to the teacher track. While I've grown to accept and embrace it, I can honestly say it will probably forever be one of the biggest regrets of my life. That and not partying more in college.

10. Underworld by Don DeLillo: This makes me incredibly uncomfortable because I started it six or seven years ago and have yet to finish it. What the hell? That isn't like me, not finishing something I start. I'm a doer! I problem solver! A task manager, a list maker, a to-do addict. It's downright shameful. But, it will happen. Mark my words.


  1. Interesting list! I haven't read Marley and Me but I watched the movie a few weeks ago when it was on TV. For the most part it wasn't for me but when they had to put him down...yeah a bottle of water would have been handy!

  2. I read Marley And Me when the movie came out cuz I'm totally a lemming. And yeah, hard to read especially when you get to thinking about your pets.

  3. I've probably been reading Underworld for a similar amount of time. What is strange is that I like it. I just cant finish it.

    Laura @ The Scarlet Letter.