2022: November wrap-up


November went really fast. I was very bad at posting on my blog, even though I participated a bit in Nonfiction November and Novellas in November.

BUT I read a lot of short books (novellas), in six different genres. In fact, I am now at 107% of my yearly goal – 129/120 books.

Most importantly for me, I read my first novel in Italian, by Italo Calvino. Teaching myself to read Italian (mostly with Duolingo) had this one goal: read this wonderful author in the original text.
It was not easy Italian, but I learned a lot and so much enjoyed the experience that I’m planning on reading more in Italian, and also go back reading in Spanish.

My Japanese studies are going well, and I’m starting reading tiny little books for beginners – level 0! I am giving here the link to these free Japanese books by level. But if you are studying Japanese yourself, you probably already know about this famous resource.
Right now, I’m mostly using these 3 tools for Japanese: Duolingo, Anki (the JLPT 5 deck), and Wanikani (to learn kanji)

📚 Here is what I read in November:

15 books – most of these in translation or in language other than English
11 in print 
with 1,709 pages, a daily average of 56 pages/day
4 in audio
= 29H58
, a daily average of 59 minutes/day

5 in literary fiction:

  1. Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, by Nikolai Leskov – from the Russian
  2. The Lifted Veil, by George Eliot
  3. Bel-Ami, by Guy de Maupassant – in French, with a student
  4. Crimson Sails, by Alexander Grin  – from the Russian
  5. Le Petit Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry – in French, with a student

2 in historical fiction:

  1. The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico
  2. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Emmuska Orczy – audio, WITH THE FABULOUS NARRATOR RALPH COSHAM!!

2 in mystery:

  1. Respire, by Niko Tackian – in French, with a student
  2. Where’s There’s Love, There’s Hate, by Adolfo Bioy Casares – from the Spanish

2 in fantasy/literary fiction:

  1. The Heart of a Dog, by Mikhail Bulgakov – from the Russian
  2. Il visconte dimezzato, by Italo Calvino – in Italian

2 in children’s lit:

  1. The Story of the Treasure Seekers (Bastable Children #1), by E. Nesbit – audio
  2. Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling – audio

2 in nonfiction:

  1. Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, by Isabella Lucy Bird – audio
  2. Novelist as a Vocation, by Haruki Murakami – from the Japanese


Very very hard to pick only 2 this month.

Unbeaten tracks in Japan The Scarlet Pimpernel


Classics Club: 27/150 (from September 2022-until September 2027)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 9/12 books – During the year: 15
2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 10/12 books
2022 books in translation reading challenge
: 29/10+

Total of books read in 2022 = 129/120 (107%)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 33 (several because of Nonfiction Nvember!)



Talk to me

click on the cover to access my review


The top 9 books to read in November 2022


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Come back tomorrow to see the titles I’ll be reading in December
How was YOUR month of November?


Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!


Novellas in November 2022: recap

Novellas in November 2022

Picking from my 4th list of books for The Classic Club, my plan was to read 8 novellas this month for the Novellas in November event.

I managed to read them all, but have been bad at posting reviews recently.
I did post a short review for these three (click on the cover), the three reviews are on the same post:

  The Lady Macbeth of MtsenskThe Lifted Veil  The Snow Goose 2

The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, by Nikolai Leskov (1865)
The Lifted Veil by George Eliot (1859)
The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico (1951)

And here are now a few words on the 5 other novellas I have read.
I may end up writing more and more super short “reviews” of that type. Would you still be interested in this blog if I did?
Click to continue reading

Sunday Post #69 – 11/06/2022

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news.
A post to recap the past week on your blog,
showcase books and things we have received.
Share news about what is coming up
on your blog
for the week ahead.
See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


This post also counts for

Sunday Salon      Mailbox Monday2

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2  IMWAYR  WWW Wednesdays 2

#SundayPost #SundaySalon
#MailboxMonday #itsmonday #IMWAYR
#WWWWednesday #WWWWednesdays

Click on the logos to join the memes

November is full of so many blogging events. I’m participating in two, Nonfiction November and Novellas in November, as reflected by I what I have read and posted this week:

I finished 5 books this past week.




📚 Bel-Ami,
by Guy de Maupassant
French literary fiction
Published in 1885
416 pages
Read with French student F.
It counts for The Classics Club

I like Maupassant’s short stories, but I think Bel-Ami might be the very first novel I read by him.
I found in it the same talent Maupassant has to describe scenes, people, and the social milieu.
I have a lot to say about this book, so I’m planning on writing a review on it next week.

I read these 3 novellas – click on the pictures to read my short reviews of them:The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk The Lifted Veil The Snow Goose 2

And I finished the audiobook I presented last week:

The Leavenworth Case🎧  The Leavenworth Case (Mr. Gryce #1)
by Anna Katharine Green
Published in 1878
439 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

This was a major discovery for me.
Anna Katharine Green (1846-1935) was an American poet and novelist.
She was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America and distinguished herself by writing well plotted, legally accurate stories.

Check last week’s post where I give more details about it.





📚 Wanderlust, by Rebecca Solnit
Nonfiction / History and Travel Essays
Published in 2001
328 pages

Finally reading this book that I bought a long time ago.

I’m not far into it, but loving it so far: a neat history of walking.

“This volume provides a history of walking, exploring the relationship between thinking and walking and between walking and culture. The author argues for the preservation of the time and space in which to walk in an ever more car-dependent and accelerated world.”

Scarlet Sails


📚 Crimson Sails,
by Alexander Grin

Translated by Fainna Glagoleva
Russian literature
Published in 1922
Reading it for Novellas in November
It counts for The Classics Club

I am actually reading a different edition than the book cover – couldn’t find a decent cover of my edition. And the title of Glagoleva’s translation is Crimson Sails, not Scarlet Sails.

“In a small fisherman’s village there lived the widowed and reclusive Longren with his daughter Assol. The neighbors consider the family odd, which was true. Assol is waiting for her prophesied fate–that she will meet the man of her dreams when he comes to her on a ship with red sails.”

Il Visconte Dimezzato


📚 Il Visconte Dimezzato,
by Italo Calvino
Translated into English as The Cloven Discount
Italian literature / Fantasy
Published inn 1952
Reading it for Novellas in November
It counts for The Classics Club

The day has finally come: after several months of studying Italian through Duolingo, I’m now reading Italo Calvino in the original text – which was my goal in learning Italian.
The advantage of reading ebooks is that it’s easy to check a word I’m not sure of, but knowing how sentences work, grammar, and conjugation, makes it smooth. I’m really thrilled by this.
And I’m starting to dare dream being able to do the same one day in Japanese as well. That type of dream never hurts, right?

Now, this is a very weird story, and I am very curious to see how Calvino will show here he is a true Oulipo member.

“The narrator tells the story of his uncle, Medardo di Torralba, who fighting in Bohemia against the Turks, ended up cut in half by a cannon shot.
The two parts of his body, perfectly preserved, show different characters: the first half shows a cruel disposition, rages on his subjects and threatens the beautiful Pamela, while the other half, the good one, does its utmost to repair the misdeeds of the other and even Pamela asks in marriage.
The two halved faces challenge each other to a duel, and in the clash they begin to bleed in their respective broken parts. A doctor takes advantage of this to reunite the two halves of the body and restore an entire viscount to life, in which good and bad are mixed.”

Unbeaten tracks in Japan🎧  Unbeaten Tracks in Japan,
by Isabella Lucy Bird
Published in 1885
400 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

Another awesome discovery, and I am glad a Librivox member recorded it, so I’m actually listening to it.
Imagine, an English woman traveling to Japan unchaperoned in 1878, and discovering the real Japan of the interior, far from touristy places, visiting villages who had never seen “a foreigner” before, and “a woman foreigner” at that.
She is seeing the real Japan of the time, far from romantic views reported by wealthy tourists.
Lots of poverty, even miserable people, living in miserable conditions, plagued by insects and skin diseases.
But Isabella L Bird also knows how to appreciate and describe a gorgeous landscape when she sees one, especially after going through horrible paths.
These are actually the letters she sent to her sister all during her trip. Most most fascinating. Full of details on daily life there at the time, on architecture, food, etc.
And my first months of Japanese do help him understand the use of some local words!

I am also still reading two books with French students:
Respire, by Niko Tackian
Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret, by Georges Simenon


A Dog's Heart

📚  A Dog’s Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov
Russian literature
Published in 1925
Will be reading for Novellas in November
It counts for The Classics Club

I enjoyed The Master and Margarita, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

“Mikhail Bulgakov’s absurdist parable of the Russian Revolution.
A world-famous Moscow professor — rich, successful, and violently envied by his neighbors — befriends a stray dog and resolves to achieve a daring scientific first by transplanting into it the testicles and pituitary gland of a dead man. But the results are wholly unexpected: a distinctly and worryingly human animal is on the loose, and the professor’s hitherto respectable life becomes a nightmare beyond endurance.
As in The Master and Margarita, the masterpiece he completed shortly before his death, Mikhail Bulgakov’s early novel, written in 1925, combines outrageously grotesque ideas with a narrative of deadpan naturalism. The Heart of a Dog can be read as an absurd and wonderfully comic story; it can also be read as a fierce parable of the Russian Revolution.”


November is a crazy month with so many book blogging events. It’s also sci-fi month.
I won’t have time to read any sci-fi right now, but I’m running into new titles on blogs I visit. This one sounds fabulous:

The Last Gifts of the Universe📚 The Last Gifts of the Universe,
by Rory August

Published on April 7, 2022
203 pages

“A dying universe.
When the Home worlds finally achieved the technology to venture out into the stars, they found a graveyard of dead civilizations, a sea of lifeless gray planets and their ruins. What befell them is unknown. All Home knows is that they are the last civilization left in the universe, and whatever came for the others will come for them next.

A search for answers.
Scout is an Archivist tasked with scouring the dead worlds of the cosmos for their last gifts: interesting technology, cultural rituals—anything left behind that might be useful to the Home worlds and their survival. During an excavation on a lifeless planet, Scout unearths something unbelievable.
A past unraveled.
An adventure at the end of a trillion lifetimes.”

Once again, looks like the official synopsis gives too much away, so I shortened it.