Challenge: Mixing It Up 2012

Logo for reading challenge is a set of nested mixing bowls with a wooden spoon balanced across the top.

I’m all in on the Mixing It Up Challenge 2012, hosted by the charming Ellie at Musings of a Bookshop Girl. Ellie has defined 16 genre categories for her challenge, ranging from Classics to Contemporary Fiction to Graphic Novels (gulp!). I’m excited about the idea of stretching my reading beyond the types of books I’m comfortable reading, so I’m choosing to try to complete all 16 (Ellie calls this the “All the Trimmings and a Cherry on Top” level).

Here are the categories, and some ideas I have for books that would fit each one. Please add any suggestions in the comments!


Ideas: Any of the Charles Dickens I have on the shelf (Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, etc.), any of the F. Scott Fitzgerald on the shelf (Tender Is the Night or This Side of Paradise, perhaps), Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, any of the Leatherstocking books by James Fenimore Cooper.


Ideas: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Lincoln by David Donald, Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson by Don Van Natta Jr.

Cookery, Food, and Wine

Ideas: Feasting on Asphalt by Alton Brown, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child.


Ideas: Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 by Pauline Maier, Austerity Britain by David Kynaston, A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in America’s Civil War by Amanda Foreman.

Modern Fiction

Ideas: All Is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Change, Home by Marilynne Robinson, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.

Graphic Novels and Manga

Ideas: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi, or … I need help with this category! I have never read a graphic novel in my life.

Crime and Mystery

Ideas: Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason, Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson (Jackson Brodie series), The Quiet Game by Greg Iles.


Ideas: Just After Sunset by Stephen King, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. There must be other good stuff that I’m missing here …


Ideas: I have none! Suggestions gratefully accepted, if not actually demanded.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Ideas: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Skies of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. This isn’t a category I read a lot of. Suggestions, please!


Ideas: Songlines by Bruce Chatwin, Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson. I feel like I should be able to think of other possibilities but I am drawing a complete blank right now. What do you think?

Poetry and Drama

Ideas: The Complete Sonnets by William Shakespeare, or … another category I desperately need help with! I like the idea of poetry …

Journalism and Humor

Ideas: Idiot America by Charles Pierce, Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller. I’m sure there are other great choices in this category as well.

Science and Natural History

Ideas: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. Another category that isn’t in my wheelhouse, so to speak.

Children’s and Young Adult

Ideas: Yet another category I need some help with. Too bad I read The Hunger Games trilogy last year! Update: Unwind by Nick Shusterman has been suggested by my friend T-Jaye.

Social Sciences and Philosophy

Ideas: Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings. Any other great ideas?

So, that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll post reviews of each category finalist as I go, and I’ll update this post with any good suggestions that you might have for me. Happy reading!


4 thoughts on “Challenge: Mixing It Up 2012

  1. Oh, I’m glad you are going to take the challenge! Graphic novels I definitely need help with — I have never read one in my life. We must chat.

  2. Welcome to Mixing It Up Julia! Never fear, I haven’t read a graphic novel before either. I’m hoping to track down Watchmen, V for Vendetta, or the first in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series at the library. I like your other ideas so far – some of those are on my wishlist and some on Mount TBR, so we might overlap a bit along the way! Good luck… 🙂

    • Thanks, Ellie! I think we do have somewhat similar tastes, which is how I started following your 75ers thread on LibraryThing. It will be fun to see where we cross paths through the year, and how similar our opinions are.

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