Saturday 12 November 2011

Mixing it up Challenge 2012

This is the second challenge I have signed up to for next year. This one was created by Ellie from Musings of a Bookshop Girl. The idea is to branch out from what you usually read. There are 15 categories to chose from and you can sign up for as many as you like. I have decided on 12, one for each month of the year. Here are the categories I have picked out;

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.

Edit 9/01/12 - Read and Reviewed Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.

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? 

Edit 31/01/12 - Read and Reviewed Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

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!

Edit 3/4/12 - Read and Reviewed Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir.

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! 

Edit 20/4/12 - Read and Reviewed Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

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.
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.  You could even delve into some gritty true crime if that's more your style. 

Edit 25/06/12 - Read and Reviewed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John LeCarre

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!

Edit 17/07/12 - Read and Reviewed Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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.

Edit 04/09/12 - Read and Reviewed A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel

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!

Edit 07/09/2012 - Read and Reviewed A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson.

This could be a novelty collection of limericks, a collection by a particular poet, 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.  Or you could choose a play - how about Ibsen, Miller, Shakespeare or the brilliantly witty Wilde?

Edit 09/09/2012 - Read and Reviewed The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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 

Edit 28/09/12 - Read and Reviewed Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

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.

Edit 14/11/12 - Read and Reviewed The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins

The categories I have decided not to do are romance, children and young adult and social sciences and philosphy. I have absolutely no interest in branching into romance. It just doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. I have read my fair share of Children's and Young Adult books in the past and I have overkilled on it. My last degree was social sciences and whilst I would find some of the books interesting I had my heart set on doing 12 so it didn't make the cut.

There are a number on here that isn't exactly branching out for me so I have decided that the books I read for this have to be by authors I have never read before. Looking forward to discovering some new authors from this and perhaps a new genre. 


  1. Thanks for joining Karen! I like that you're going to try new things even in the areas you already enjoy - I'm hoping to do the same thing, pushing myself a bit more in the areas I already read most by picking something more unusual, or trying a new author. Good luck!

  2. Looks good! I like how you're choosing authors you haven't read before for the genres you're familiar with. Have fun! :)

  3. Good idea to choose authors you haven't read before! I'm hoping to do the same--at least in some of the categories.

  4. A lot of these categories are well within my comfort zone. Thought it would make it a little more difficult if I made it authors new to me only. Looking forward to it.

  5. Hi Karen! Just got your message over on the sign-up post - the answer is YES! That's great. If you link to your review for each category on this post, as you've done for 'Cranford', then I can easily keep track of how you're getting on! And I'll be creating update posts through the year as well where you can come across and comment on how you're finding it... Congrats on finishing your first title already!

  6. Thanks Ellie, just wanted to be sure I was doing it right.

  7. Congrats on a second book down already Karen! I've barely read a thing in January (much to my surprise, given my enthusiasm in late December!) but I've tackled one category and I'm reading from another two right now, so maybe there's hope yet! :)

    1. Thank you. Sometimes we all go through phases like that. I know I do. December was quiet for me reading wise. I was planning to do one a month but wanted to tie the second one in with another challenge. Means I will be skipping Feb.

  8. Another one down! Congrats, you're doing great, and you're right on track for one a month so far! :)

    1. Thanks Ellie, I start the modern fiction one next week. So hopefully I will stay on track. I also have the graphic novel lined up. It's one that has been collecting dust for a while now.

  9. Nice going! Such great books, and YOU DID IT! WOOHOO! I've entered you for the 'completed' prize pool. I know I'm super-late going round tallying everybody up, but life got in the way for a week or two! Congrats, and good luck! :)

    1. Thanks Ellie and thanks for setting up the challenge in the first place. I did enjoy it. Don't worry, this time of year is always busy.