2012 Mixing It Up Reading Challenge

05 Jan


Feel like branching out a little for 2012?  Then this challenge might just be for you!
Welcome to my first challenge!  The premise is really very simple.  It’s all about mixing up your reading, pushing your boundaries and exploring new genres.  Take a look at the categories below, and choose one book for each category.  It’s that easy!  You can choose to try anything from a gentle 4 to the full 16 different genres, and the book you pick for each is entirely up to you!

1. CLASSICS — This can be any classic work, from Alcott to Zola.  Always fancied trying Great Expectations, or finally feel like tackling Jane Eyre?  Now’s your chance!  From the fun to the frightening, the gentle satire to the all-out swashbuckling epic, there are hundreds of years’ worth of books to choose from.
2. BIOGRAPHY — This can be modern or historical, biography or autobiography.  From the latest celebrity autobiography to an academic biography of Henry VIII – it all counts!  Perhaps you fancy a book on your favourite classic movie star, athlete or musician?
3. COOKERY, FOOD AND WINE — Ideas for this one range from a delectable cookery book to a food memoir (like Nigel Slater’s Toast or Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential), a book on wine to the history of marmalade.
4. HISTORY — More scope to indulge a whole range of interests here, including local history, military history or world history.  It might be a biography of Anne Boleyn, a book on World War II aircraft, a study of the American civil war, or something with a much smaller focus, like Bill Bryson’s At Home or Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History.  Whatever floats your boat!
5. MODERN FICTION — This covers literary and popular fiction, so you can’t really go wrong with this one.  From Sophie Kinsella to Haruki Murakami, Wilbur Smith to Isabel Allende, Jenny Colgan to Kate Mosse, you should be able to find something to fit your tastes!
6. GRAPHIC NOVELS AND MANGA — This will be an entirely new genre for me, but I’m looking forward to hitting the library to see what all the fuss is about!  First on my ‘to check out’ list will be Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes and Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta.
7.  CRIME AND MYSTERY — This category will cover everything from the genteel Agatha Christie and the scrummy Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke, through Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, to the gruesome forensics of Martina Cole and Val McDermid.
8. HORROR — One for Hallowe’en, perhaps!  Maybe a modern writer like Stephen King or James Herbert, or you could turn to the classics with Edgar Allen Poe or the ghostly writings of M.R. James?  Some YA novels would also fit into this category – Darren Shan, or Lindsey Barraclough’s Long Lankin – but no paranormal romance!
9. ROMANCE — I’d say the cheesier the better for this one, but it’s up to you!  Mills and Boon, paranormal romance, chick lit fluff, whatever.  Personally I’ll be browsing our Mills and Boon shelf at the shop and pulling out the trashiest title I can find!  🙂
10. SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY — Again, plenty of scope here.  From the hilarious characters of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld to Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings, Charlaine Harris’sSouthern Vampire Mysteries to Frank Herbert’s Dune, you can go modern or classic, and pick from any number of sub-genres.
11. TRAVEL — The world is your oyster, as it were!  Maybe you’re going somewhere interesting on holiday and want to read up on it first?  Rough Guides, Lonely Planet guides, that kind of thing.  You could pick a Bill Bryson (always popular) or choose a book on a particular city, country or continent, like Francesco da Mosto’s Venice or one of Michael Palin’s books.  Then there are all the delectable memoirs by people who’ve moved abroad and opened a taverna/olive farm/vineyard!
12. POETRY — This could be a book of love poems, a collection by a particular poet, a novelty book of limericks, or if that sounds a bit daunting, a single, longer narrative poem.  How about ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, ‘Hiawatha’ or ‘The Waste Land’?  My particular favourite is probably Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’, which is more like a simple fairytale that just happens to rhyme.
13. JOURNALISM AND HUMOUR — This one might take a little more thinking about, but it should be a bit of fun!  Journalism collections can range from Nick Hornby’s Shakespeare Wrote for Money to Marian Keyes’s Under the Duvet, Jeremy Clarkson’s The World According to Clarkson to Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Big Country.  Anything that’s been published in a newspaper or magazine first!  Humour could be a book of cartoons, a novelty joke book or The Wicked Wit of Oscar Wilde 
14. SCIENCE AND NATURAL HISTORY — Again, this one throws the doors wide open for you to follow your interests.  Always fancied learning more about space?  Are you curious about the life of Charles Darwin?  Or got a lifelong love for a particular animal?  There are some wonderful ‘popular science’ books around too, including things like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, David Attenborough’s natural history books, and the entire works of the brilliantly funny Mary Roach.
15. CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG ADULT — This leaves the way open for pretty much anything, whether it’s reading The Hungry Caterpillar or The Magical Faraway Tree to your kids, revisiting the joys of The Secret Garden or Treasure Island, or devouring something from the modern tide of YA.  Lots of dystopian fiction, coming-of-age novels and supernatural shenanigans to choose from!
16. SOCIAL SCIENCES AND PHILOSOPHY — Another wide area!  Books on society and women (Female Chauvinist Pigs, Living Dolls), books on society and children (Toxic Childhood, Nurtureshock), books on how television and the internet are affecting our lives, Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World, books on Freud or Marx…
MEASURING JUG: Playing it safe with 1-4 categories
CUPCAKE MIX: Livening things up with 5-8 categories
MIXING BOWL: Branching out with 9-12 categories
TWO-TIER CAKE: Getting ambitious with 13-15 categories
ALL THE TRIMMINGS AND A CHERRY ON TOP: Going for gold with the full 16!
  1. Read one book from each of the challenge categories, using the guidelines above.  Don’t use the same book for more than one category!
  2. The challenge will run until December 31st 2012, so you can sign up any time during the year.
  3. Create a blog post for the challenge, to keep track of what you’ve read.  Add review links for each completed book so we can see how you’re getting on.
  4. The URL you leave in the Mr Linky MUST be a direct link to your challenge post, not to your blog homepage – I don’t have time to comb through several months’ worth of posts searching for it as the year wears on!
  5. Leave a comment on this post with your blog name (so I can match you to your Linky entry) and your chosen level of participation.
  6. Bookmark this post so you can come back later!  I’ll be adding links to update posts over the year, plus you’ll have the category guidelines handy if you need them!
  7. At the end of the year, everyone who has read along and hit their chosen target will be entered into a bookish giveaway.  Prizes to be determined!

Another different type of reading challenge, loving the category approach.  I’ll be going for the “All the Trimming with the Cherry on Top” so that means all 16 categories.  My tentative TBR:

  • Classics — The Bostonians by Henry James (1886)
  • Biography — Living History by Hilary Rodham Clinton (2003)
  • Cookery, Food, and Wine — TBD
  • History — Mayflower by Nathan Philbrick (2007)
  • Modern Fiction — P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (2008)
  • Graphic Novel and Manga — TBD
  • Crime and Mystery — Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn (2007)
  • Horror — Year Zero by Jeff Long (2006)
  • Romance — The Maiden’s Hand by Susan Wiggs (2009)
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy — The Magicians by Lev Grossman (2010
  • Travel — TBD
  • Poetry — TBD
  • Journalism and Humor — TBD
  • Science and Natural History — TBD
  • Children’s and Young Adult — The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (2010)
  • Social Sciences and Philosophy — The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order (1999)
1 Comment

Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Reading Challenges


One response to “2012 Mixing It Up Reading Challenge

  1. Ellie

    February 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Hi Tobe, welcome to Mixing It Up 2012! Some good books already on standby there – I’ve got The Magicians and P.S. I Love You still sitting on my TBR pile as well so maybe this will finally be the year… Happy reading!


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