I’ve been traveling and thus remiss in pointing this out when it landed yesterday: I participated in a “mind meld” with many other excellent people over on SF Signal. The topic, ably managed by Paul “Prince Jvstin” Weimer, was about books that pushed us out of our comfort zone.
I took a slightly different tack on it, based on my early reading of steampunk and other alternate histories. A lot of these books didn‘t really push me from my comfort zone at all, and I wanted one that would. Ultimately, I found a really excellent steampunk book that took its storytelling quite seriously.
Which book, you ask? Read the mind meld!