Challenge: Read a book you can finish in a day.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio - A children's book about a boy born with a genetic condition that affects his appearance. When he switches from homeschool to a private school in 5th grade, there's a lot of adjustment necessary for him and the other students. A very positive book. (There is some mild profanity.)
Challenge: Read a book you own but have never read.
The Mabinogion, translated by Lady Charlotte Guest - A collection of very old Welsh stories. I wanted to read it because when I was young, one of my favorite series was the Prydain chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, which used names and ideas from Welsh folklore. The stories can get a little tedious in places, but it was interesting in a historical context.
Challenge: Read a book with a color in the title.
Blackout by Connie Willis - A time-travel novel with historians from 2060 getting trapped in 1940s London during the Blitz. The detail is amazing and makes the 1940s world seem very real. This is the first of two books and ends with nothing resolved. (Moderate profanity warning.)
Challenge: Read a book with more than 500 pages.
All Clear by Connie Willis - The conclusion to Blackout. Much more satisfying as the loose ends are tied up and things become more hopeful. The thing I like about this book is the underlying message that everyone can become a hero by doing their best, helping others and determinedly facing whatever challenges life presents them with. (Moderate profanity warning.)
Challenge: Read a book based entirely on its cover.
The Outsmarting of Criminals by Steven Rigolosi - The cover resembled the old PBS "Mystery" drawings by Edward Gorey and led me to pick the book up at the library. It's about a woman who retires and moves to a small town, hoping to take up a career as an amateur detective, and promptly finds a body in the basement of her new house. The premise is fun and the writing style is enjoyable and humorous, but in the last fourth of the book the plot became quite unbelievable and left me vaguely irritated with most of the characters. Lesson: Maybe don't read a book based entirely on its cover.