Wednesday, 9 November 2011

My Mixing It Up Challenge 2012

This is my 'base post' for my very own Mixing It Up Challenge 2012!  For more details, and to sign up for some horizon-expanding reading this coming year, head on over HERE where you'll find instructions, a Linky and a complete list (with guidelines and ideas) of the sixteen potential categories you can read from...  How many you choose to tackle, and what book you pick for each one, is entirely up to you!

Personally, I'm feeling ambitious for the New Year, so I'm going for the ALL THE TRIMMINGS AND A CHERRY ON TOP participation level, aiming to read a book from each of the 16 categories.  I've listed them all here, with a few ideas for each one.  Of course I might end up reading something entirely different, but either way, when I complete one of the categories I'll exchange the ideas list for a review link so I can see what's left to read!


King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Exciting adventure classic in which hunter Allan Quatermain sets out with two friends on a quest to find King Solomon's legendary diamond mines.  The fire of the African desert, the ice of the mountains, a brutal tribal war and some huge movie-worthy moments come together in a beautifully written, gripping and evocative novel that is definitely going to be one of my favourites of 2012!

Not completed yet

Cookery, Food and Wine
Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
Quirky and amusing account of Julie Powell's 'Julie/Julia Project', in which she attempted to give her life focus by cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year.  It occasionally gets a little self-absorbed, but Powell grew on me as the pages went by and I really enjoyed reading about her cookery experiences and how the project brought her and her loved ones closer.  I particularly liked the chapter about her lobster-cooking exploits, it was so funny!

Not completed yet

Modern Fiction
Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas
Short stream-of-consciousness novel about Ari, a nineteen year-old gay Greek boy living in Melbourne.  He is conflicted about everything in life - his sexuality, his friends, his future, his traditional parents - and relies on sex, drugs and music to get him through his days in relative peace.  Like a more relatable modern version of Catcher in the Rye - angry, absorbing, passionate, political and dryly humorous.

Graphic Novels and Manga
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
My first ever graphic novel - and it absolutely blew me away!  It is the story of an enigmatic masked freedom fighter known only as 'V', and a naive young woman called Evey, and how their lives become entwined as V sets about systematically taking down the totalitarian government that now runs England.  The striking visual style and the emotionally charged plot fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and the 'musical interlude' a third of the way through is pure genius.  Needless to say, this may have been my FIRST graphic novel - but it won't be my last!  

Crime and Mystery
Skin Privilege by Karin Slaughter
The sixth Sara Linton novel, in which a detective is arrested in her home town on suspicion of murder and arson.  Her Chief of Police, coming to the rescue with his coroner wife Sara, uncovers a web of corruption, drug trafficking and neo-Nazi bigotry.  They must fight the stifling claustrophobia of the town and piece together what really happened that night, before they become the next victims of the meth dealers' reign of terror.  My first Karin Slaughter - but definitely not my last!

The Godsend by Bernard Taylor
A slice of vintage horror from the seventies, using the 'cuckoo in the nest' formula familiar from novels like The Omen and The Midwich Cuckoos.  Beautiful little Bonnie, abandoned by her odd mother and welcomed into the Marlowe family, is deeply loved by her new parents and siblings.  But as his children die off one by one in tragic 'accidents', Alan Marlowe starts to put two and two together.  Can he break through his wife's blind maternal devotion and make her see the truth about Bonnie's manipulative evil in time to save his fourth and last living child?  Deliciously compelling, understated and mercifully gore-free!

Dragon Heat by Allyson James
The first in James' Dragon series, this Berkley Paranomal Romance novel tells the story of Lisa Singleton, a young woman in San Francisco with a golden dragon living in her spare room.  When Caleb turns human to save her from harm, the sparks soon start to fly - but they still have an exiled black dragon, a handful of power-hungry witches and a horde of demons to deal with.  If they can stay focussed that long, obviously... ;)

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Not completed yet

Not completed yet

Poetry and Drama
Not completed yet

Journalism and Humour
How to Leave Twitter: My Time as Queen of the Universe and Why This Must Stop by Grace Dent
Pithy and amusing little book about the Twitter Experience - how we come to join, how we get hooked, the different kinds of people who inhabit the Twitterverse, celebrity tweeters, the politics of following and unfollowing, conversations, viral videos, jokes, links and all sorts of other stuff.  Great for a social media junkie with a sharp sense of humour!

Science and Natural History
Not completed yet

Children's and Young Adult
Seizure (Virals 2) by Kathy Reichs
The second book in the series, in which a group of teenagers, previously infected with a new strain of parvovirus, attempt to locate a famous pirate's treasure to stop their beloved Loggerhead Island being sold off.  Young Indiana Jones meets Pirates of the Caribbean, I loved it!

Social Sciences and Philosophy
 Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender by Nick Krieger
Fascinating transgender memoir, shortlisted for the GLBTQ category of this year's Indie Lit Awards.  Landing in San Francisco's Castro neighbourhood, Nina Krieger finds herself drawn into the local queer community and, surrounded by an intriguing new group of genderfluid individuals, begins to question and explore her own relationship with her body, gender and identity. Insightful, honest, and thought-provoking.

Good luck everyone - and don't forget to keep an eye on the original sign-up post for updates as the year goes on!  Happy mixed-up reading for 2012!


  1. Wow - great ideas for your books! I may have to rethink signing up for only 12. :) Have fun reading!

  2. Haha, thanks! Well, you know where we are if you change your mind about your categories! I'm just in the middle of working out categories and choices for an even bigger challenge on LibraryThing ('12 in 12' - as many books as possible in each of twelve self-chosen categories) and it's making my mouth water, as it were. I want to start reading all of them right now! ;)

  3. This sounds like a fab idea! Best of luck with it :-) Awesome book choices. Responding to your comment on my blog I'm not taking part in ANY challenges next year. I've done so many the past 2 years that I'm not doing a single one and letting myself read what I want and cracking through the TBR pile. I'm taking a more relaxed approach next year but of course will still be supporting you along with everyone else :)

  4. Haha, yes - that might be me next year! I overdid it challenge-wise in 2010 so I kept it simple this year - but of course I ended up keep picking up new stuff again instead of tackling Mount TBR. Hence my renewed enthusiasm for challenges for 2012!

    So help me, I WILL shrink my heaving shelves to more manageable proportions! Sooner rather than later, hopefully!

  5. I am having the devil of a time trying to narrow down my choices! I do love the wide range of categories. I've never read a graphic novel, so that one will be a particular challenge for me.

    And forgive me, but placing Romance right after Horror seems particularly apt. Or perhaps it should be the other way around!


  6. Haha, sorry about that juxtaposition there Julia! I was just working my way around our bookstore picking out sections, and our crime/thriller/horror section happens to be just in front of the romance!

    I've never read a graphic novel either, but I've got three on my list to check out at the library next week. It'll be a first for both of us! You don't need a definite list before you start anyway, so you can take things as they come if you prefer...

  7. Hi Elli,

    This is very nice challenge :) and I am all game for it :)

    I am travelling as of now, so will be participating from January 2012 :)

    Thanks for the challenge

  8. I'm participating in the challenge on my book blog and wanted to check in. You asked me to leave my participation level and I've decided to try for the double-tiered cake.

    Michael (aka Nashville Book Worm)


I love comments almost as much as I love chocolate buttons. AND THAT IS A LOT.