2015 Challenge Wrap-Up

I’ve been dreading this post, because I feel like I’ve failed at most of my challenges during the year.    However, all is not usually as dire as I expect, so let’s have a look at my successes and failures for 2015.

I completed this challenge, strangely most of it in the first three months of the year, then it took me right to the end of the year to read the last book. The titles I read were:

  1.  Persuasion – Jane Austen
  2.  East of Eden – John Steinbeck
  3.  Orlando: A Biography – Virginia Woolf
  4.  The Plague – Albert Camus 
  5.  Confessions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  6.  Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
  7.  The Narrative of the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
  8.  Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  9.  The Club of Queer Trades – G.K. Chesterton
10.  Meditations – René Descartes
11.  The Adventures of Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
12.  Hamlet – William Shakespeare

My accomplishment on this one was a pleasant surprise.  I’d aimed for Level Two at 4-6 books, but made Level Four (12+ books) reading 15 books during 2015.  Woo hoo!



  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen




  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen


I managed to read all 6 of Austen’s main novels in 2015.

1.  Persuasion
2.  Sense & Sensibility
3.  Pride and Prejudice
4.  Mansfield Park
5.  Emma
6.  Northanger Abbey

I still want to add her lesser known works but I’m pleased that I managed to finish all of these.

Ew, this was a fail for me this year.  Normally I have no problem covering a number of pre-printing press books, but this year I only read three.

1.  Beowulf
2.  The Canterbury Tales
3.  The Rule of Saint Benedict.

Yipes!  Next year with my Ancient Greek challenge, I will certainly read more.

Oh, another fail.  I’ve never been able to complete this challenge. That’s because it’s impossible for me to follow a list. Actually I didn’t do too badly this year, managing to read 9 of the 12 books.

1.  Meditations – René Descartes
2.  Orlando: A Biography – Virginia Woolf
3.  The Plague – Albert Camus
4.  Confessions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
5.  Hamlet – William Shakespeare
6.  Walden – Henry David Thoreau
7.  Persuasion – Jane Austen
8.  Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
9.  The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer

This was one of my favourite challenges of the year.  The Canterbury Tales were so wonderful —- Chaucer is not only a poetic master but a connoisseur of human nature.  And Frank Mundo’s The Brubury Tales were a delightful surprise.  Like Chaucer, he not only showed a poetic prowess but also gave wonderful insights into the human condition, and wove a number of classic allusions through his modern retelling.  And excellent read!

In spite of initially being wary of my success with this challenge because of my concurrent Reading England challenge, this challenge turned out to be rather successful.  I made it to the highest level, “The Linguist”, reading 15 translated books.

  1. Meditations – René Descartes
  2. The Adventures of Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
  3. The Plague – Albert Camus 
  4. Erewhon – Samuel Butler (original in Latin)
  5. Confessions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  6. Beowulf 
  7. Ecce Homo – Friedrich Nietzsche
  8. What Is To Be Done? – Nikolai Chernyshevsky
  9. Money (L’Argent) – Émile Zola
  10. Mein Kamp – Adolf Hitler
  11. The Story of My Experiments with Truth – Mohandas Gandhi
  12. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
  13. Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  14. Selected Essays – Michel de Montaigne
  15. The Rule of Saint Benedict 

I didn’t make it!  Boo hoo!  I read 50 books.  I’ve never read so few books in one year.  I’m pathetic!  And that’s all I have to say about that!

In spite of failing miserably at this challenge, it was one of my most beneficial challenges ….. well, ever.  It forced me to focus on so many categories that I’ve always have good intentions to read from but never do: poetry, essays, short stories and classic children’s books.  I’m definitely going to choose this challenge in 2016 and hopefully improve my Deal-Me-In reputation.

Clubs – Short Stories
3 – Doctor Marigold – Charles Dickens
6 – The Princess – Anton Chekhov
7 – Father Brown: the Worst Crime in the World- G.K. Chesterton

Spades – Essays
2 – Friendship – Emerson
4 – Christianity and the Survival of Creation- Wendell Berry
5 – A Panegyric for Dorothy L. Sayers – C.S. Lewis

Diamonds – Poetry
A – Ode to a Nightengale – John Keats
4 – Sonnet XXIX – Garcilaso de la Vega
7 – Ode VIII: Quiet Night – Fray Luis de León
J – Song II:  The Dark Night – San Juan de la Cruz
Q – A Red, Red Rose – Robert Burns

Hearts – Children’s Classics
A – The Forgotten Daughter – Caroline Dale Snedeker
4 – The Ides of April – Mary Ray (1)
8 – The Cabin Faced West – Jean Fritz

I was quite astounded that many of these reviews were some of my most popular reviews of the year.

I’m still mulling over my challenges for 2016.  Deal Me In, Back To The Classics, Reading England, and the Ancient Greek challenge are definite choices, but there are so many other tempting ones floating around.  Stay tuned!