2020: January wrap-up


📚 Wow, 2020 has been starting crazy on the reading scene. I have been reading a lot, according to my standards.

📚 Besides The Classics Club, I have been doing the Japanese Literature Challenge (until March), I joined the #Pondathon (a reading competition: I earn points for my #Xiaolong team based on the number of pages I read and the number of books I finish), and the Murakami online Book Club.
Oh and of course at the beginning of January was Bout of Books. It was a busy week, so I didn’t read as much as I wanted, but still it worked fine.

📚 The biggest news for me is that so far, I have managed to review all the books I have been reading this month, and even started catching up on books read last year.
Posting again for the Sunday Post has been very helpful for that, as I post there small reviews when a much longer review is really unnecessary.
I also enjoy doing a Book Journal section in this weekly Sunday Post: I update it every day, recapitulating what I read the night before. Looks like more and more of you have been enjoying this section of my post as well. This helps me keep track and be more consistent.

📚 There were lots of posts in the blogosphere related to the previous decade. In case you missed them, I have a post on my favorite books and one on my favorite book covers of the past decade.

📚 Also, as I am reading a difficult Orthodox theology book, I have been again reposting book notes after a couple of chapters or so on my Orthodox blog.
I suddenly remembered I had lots of Orthodox notes and quotations on a very old book blog, so I’m going to republish these on my new Orthodox blog the coming months.

So here are the titles I read in January:

11 books:
8 in print 
with 1,862 pages, an average of 60 pages/day
3 in audio
= 11H37
, an average of 22 minutes

5 in literary fiction:

  1. Book of Genesis – audio
  2. Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki – ebook
  3. Goddess Power, by Yung In Chae – for review
  4. And Then, by Natsume Soseki – ebook
  5. The Gate, by Natsume Soseki – ebook, review will be live on 2/4

What a wonderful experience to read Soseki’s whole trilogy in the same month

4 in mystery:

  1. Perfect Little Children, by Sophie Hannah – ebook, for review
  2. Eagle Strike, by Anthony Horowitz
  3. Pietr-le-Letton, by Georges Simenon – ebook
  4. The Haunted Bookshop, by Christopher Morley – audio

1 in children:

  1. Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate

1 in nonfiction:

  1. The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura – ebook

It feels so good to see all these links under the books I read THIS month!


And Then  The Book of Tea


Classics Club: 15/50 (from October 2019-until September 2024)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 4 books read

Total of books read in 2020 = 11/110
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 9 (less than 10, I deserve some applaud, lol)


Besides the books above listed, this month I also reviewed:

Lady Clementine  Dreamland   Treachery

Figure Drawing for Kids Dogs Logic Puzzles The Fascinating Animal Book fort Kids

Essential Keto Bread The Healthy Breakfast Cookbook   Minimalism



The open giveaways are on my homepage



click on the cover to access my review 


The Ten Most Recent Additions to my 2020 bookshelf


That Artsy Reader Girl
please go visit


Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Silvia at Silvia Cachia
Angela at Musings of a Literary Wanderer
Karen at Booker Talk
Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog

please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs


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Come back on Monday
to see the books I plan to read in February

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How was YOUR month of January?


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


Bout of Books 27: Day 7 and final recap


Bout of Books 27


Click on the logo to join the fun!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized
by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple.
It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th
and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in.
Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.
For all Bout of Books 27 information and updates,
be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 
– From the Bout of Books team


As you can see below, I didn’t manage to read as much as I would have liked, even though this was less than my previous Bout of Books record.
So instead of an average of 82 pages/day, I reached 74.
BUT I’m happy, as I actually didn’t have much time this week, because it was our Nativity celebration at Church, and it ended up being quite exhausting.

And I’m happy I finished 3 books (5 already total) in 2020, and I have only 39 pages left in Sanshiro, so I’ll finish this one tonight.
So far, I have also reviewed ll the books I have read this year, which is unreal for me. I’ll try to make this last…

  1. Eagle Strike, by Anthony Horowitz = FINISHED
  2. Audiobook: The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura = FINISHED
  3. Audiobook: The Book of Genesis = FINISHED


Here is what I read on DAY 7:

  1. Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki = 18  pages
  2. Audiobook: The Haunted Bookshop = 24 minutes = equivalent to 16 pages

Total for Day 7:  34 pages
TOTAL so far:   523/575

That’s great for the audio time I had ironing to do!

I did the Instagram challenge, featuring (some of) my shelves



Here is what I read on DAY 6:

  1. Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki =  112 pages
  2. Audiobook: The Book of Genesis = 2H15, equivalent to 10 pages = FINISHED
  3. Audiobook: The Haunted Bookshop = 25 minutes, equivalent to 15 pages

Total for Day 6:  137 pages
TOTAL so far:   489/575

That’s great for the audio time I had ironing to do!

I did the Instagram challenge, about an anticipated release


Here is what I read on DAY 5:

  1. Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki = 56 pages

Total for Day 5:  56 pages
TOTAL so far:  352/575

This is getting more pathetic than even anticipated. It was definitely not a good idea to do it with this super busy and exhausting week

I did the Instagram challenge.
And on Twitter, I posted the perfect book for the “The One With the Books in It” challenge.


Here is what I read on DAY 4:

  1. Audiobook: The Book of Genesis = 10 minutes, equivalent to 2!! pages

Total for Day 4:  2 pages!!
TOTAL so far:  296/575

Who knew this was going to be the most pathetic day!!! I went to a late Christmas party and so had no time at all to read in the evening. And another party tonight, unless snow comes and changes our plans.

I did the Instagram challenge (the other one didn’t inspire me):

AND I did manage to write a short review for Eagle Strike. It will be live on 1/12 in my Sunday Post.


Here is what I read on DAY 3:

  1. Eagle Strike, by Anthony Horowitz = 111 pages – FINISHED
  2. Audiobook: The Book of Genesis = 1H05, equivalent to 18 pages

Total for Day 3:  129 pages
TOTAL so far:  294/575

I also did 2 challenges:

– on Twitter, bookish matchmaking, books I’m looking for
– on Instagram, a winter-themed book from my shelves

I also managed to write 2 reviews:
– For Perfect Little Children: will be live on 1/15.
– For Figure Drawings for Kids: will be live on 1/10



Here is what I read on DAY 2:

  1. Eagle Strike, by Anthony Horowitz = 80 pages

Total for Day 2:  80 pages
TOTAL so far:  165/575

I also did 2 challenges:

– on Twitter, my 2020 goal
– on Instagram, my feel-good book

With Church (Nativity celebration) and an evening party, I didn’t have much time, and decided to use the little reading time I had with an easy one, which is YA adventure/mystery.


NB: This is my 14th participation in #boutofbooks

Here is what I read (actually listened to) on DAY 1:

  1. Theological Territories, by David Bentley Hart = 16 pages
  2. Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki = 4 pages
  3. Eagle Strike, by Anthony Horowitz = 30 pages
  4. Audiobook: The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura: 1H40 minutes = 35 pages

Total for Day 1:  85 pages
TOTAL so far:  85/575

I also did 2 challenges:

– on Twitter, Introduce yourself #insixwords
– on Instagram, currently reading

The Book of TeaAnd I managed to write a short review for The Book of Tea (will be live on 1/12).
So not too bad withe little time I had today.

So glad I had to cook something for Church and wrap gifts for our Nativity celebration this Tuesday – that gave me time to listen to audiobooks!


Books I’m reading:

  1. Theological Territories, by David Bentley Hart
  2. Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki
  3. Eagle Strike, by Anthony Horowitz = FINISHED
  4. The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino, by Hiromi Kawakami
  5. Audiobook: The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura = FINISHED
  6. Audiobook: The Book of Genesis = FINISHED
  7. Audiobook: The Haunted Bookshop, by Christopher Morley


Sunday Post #20 – 1/12/2020

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
Mailbox Monday2 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2 WWW Wednesdays 2

Mailbox Monday,
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
and WWW Wednesdays

Click on book covers to access synopsis or review


The Book of Tea

The Book of Tea,
by Kakuzo Okakura
Narrated by Mike Rosenlof
Originally written in English in 1906
44 pages / Audio: 2:05 hours

Wow, I’m thrilled to start my Japanese Literature Challenge with this wonderful little classic.
I also listened to it for The Classics Club

I learned a lot about tea, its origin, the three major eras and ways of enjoying it – boiled, whipped, and finally steeped. Only recently have we been steeping it. And did you know it used to be drunk with salt in it?
The book also shows the tea journey from China to Japan and beyond.
But the book is so much more. It’s about Teaism, about its philosophy, its culture, and its association with so many art domains though the great tea masters. Actually originally, it was drunk in monasteries, like a sacrament.
The book also highlights some sad differences between Eastern and Western cultures in our ways of receiving and respecting the world around us, especially in the time the book was written (1906). What would he say now!!
There are some beautiful sentences.
And now I have another author to try as there’s a reference to “Chikamatsu, our Japanese Shakespeare”.
You can read the book for free here.

ADDITION on 1/16.
I was curious, so I read another introduction to the book.  Kakuzo Okakura is a very interesting person, bridging East and West. In the Penguin Classics edition, it is said that it is in this book that “Frank Lloyd Wright first came across the idea of interior space that inspired his own ‘architecture of within'”.
Kakuzo Okakura had also connections with Isabella Gardner.

Eagle Strike,
(Alex Rider #4)
by Anthony Horowitz
YA/Spy thriller
259 pages

I enjoy these thrillers by Anthony Horowitz. Just as smart and suspenseful as his adult books. This time, young Alex is in vacation in France when all hell breaks loose.
Don’t read the Goodreads synopsis, which takes away all the suspense by the way. On the beach, Alex sees a dangerous man who almost killed him in one of his previous adventures. Alex is curious and wonder if they are looking for him. Then, his girlfriend’s house is bombed in front of his eyes, and Alex wants really to know what’s going on, who is after whom, and why. He’s making very dangerous choices to figure it out.
I liked the tough part where he has to survive in a computer game environment, though it was for real, based on the design of a game.
There were some fascinating descriptions of factory and planes – I can’t tell you more, because of spoilers.
It got totally insane near the end, but I guess you need that type of things to keep young boys interested.
Actually, my library has this series in the children department. That might work for book 1 in the series, but I think this is really YA. I was actually debating if I wanted to keep reading (there are 12 total), but then Alex and the reader got very stunning revelations at the very end of the book. It totally changes the perspective of the series, and now I absolutely need to know what’s going to happen next, so I will definitely read volume 5!!
This was a fast read, perfect for bout of books week!!

I also finished Perfect Little Children, by Sophie Hannah.
I’ll post my review on January 15


Theological Territories Sanshiro

Theological Territories: A David Bentley Hart Digest
Received for review through Edelweiss
Release date April 15
Orthodox theology book on Edelweiss!  By an author I like! It’s actually a collection of 26 essays.
See details below in the Book Journal section.

Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki (1908)
Reading for the  Japanese Literature Challenge 13 and for The Classics Club (spin).
“Sōseki’s work of gentle humour and doomed innocence depicts twenty-three-year-old Sanshirō, a recent graduate from a provincial college, as he begins university life in the big city of Tokyo. Baffled and excited by the traffic, the academics and – most of all – the women, Sanshirō must find his way amongst the sophisticates that fill his new life. An incisive social and cultural commentary, Sanshirō is also a subtle study of first love, tradition and modernization, and the idealism of youth against the cynicism of middle age.”

Audio book

The Haunted Bookshop

The Haunted Bookshop (1918), by Christopher Morley
I was going to listen to another audiobook, and suddenly I remembered I so enjoyed Parnassus on Wheels recently, that I might as well listen to its sequel right away.



The Ten loves of Mr Nishino

Received in 2019 through Edelweiss
Will be reading for Japanese Literature Challenge 13

“Minami is the daughter of Mr Nishino’s true love.
Bereaved Shiori is tempted by his unscrupulous advances.
His colleague Manami should know better.
His conquest Reiko treasures her independence above all else.
Friends Tama and Subaru find themselves playing Nishino’s game, but Eriko loves her cat more.
Sayuri is older, Aichan is much younger, and Misono has her own conquests to make.”


 Siri who am I  Scorpia

Siri, who am I?
Release date 5/5/2020
It may be out of my comfort zone, but I’m intrigued by the geeky and social media based mystery.
“Memento gets a Millennial makeover by debut author Sam Tschida in this smart and edgy comedy about a Kardashians-obsessed woman who wakes up in an LA hospital with amnesia, a torn party dress, and a broken iPhone and must work backward, using her Instagram account, to piece together her identity, only to discover that her life is a perfect lie.”

Scorpia (Alex Rider #5)
As explained above, at the end of volume 4, Alex Rider receives stunning revelations, and he knows they are connected with something called Scorpia. I absolutely need to know what this is all about!!



📚 Wow, am really loving The Book of Tea (1906) (apart from the fact that I’m listening to a free audiobook, and alas this time the Librivox narrator is rather boring), I’m learning all kinds of fascinating information on “tea-ism“, its philosophy, its evolution in history – I had no idea there were three different eras, with different ways to drink it. Originally, it was even drunk with salt!
So proud of me I managed to review 2 books today!

1/6 – #boutofbooks week
📚 Nativity Eve. I was shocked by all I managed to pack today. Thanks to all the latest preparations needed for Church (food, gifts -besides the spiritual preparation!!), I managed to read a lot for Bout of Books 27.
📚 Theological territories: the first essay is more about literary criticism, though there are some theological elements. It’s about Tragedy and more specifically a reaction to Rowan WilliamsThe Tragic Imagination. Alas, I haven’t read this text by Williams, and shame on me, I haven’t read Medea (by Euripides) either (now added to my TBR!!) But I have read and studied closely Antigoneby Sophocles. So it’s hard to follow some arguments. I actually tend to disagree with some I can follow, and I’ll present that in my review.
📚 Eagle Strike: It’s definitely by the great Anthony Horowitz, with the same tension and suspense than his adult books, like for instance The Sentence is Death.
While on vacation on a French beach, the teen Alex recognizes the guy who almost killed him in a previous adventure (this is book 4 of the series, which I’m determined to read completely). As he follows him to see what he is up to now, he witnesses the bombing of his friend’s house, and from there, gets more and more involved and dangerous territories.
📚 Sanshiro: I’m actually still reading the introduction, which is a chronological survey of Soseki’s very depressing life. I had no idea! I keep reading the intro, because I think it will now give me a very different POV on his books.
And I finished listening to The Book of Tea, reviewed above.

1/7 – #boutofbooks week
📚 Nativity, so time in Church again, with such a powerful celebration. I actually love it that my Church follows the Julian calendar (that is, 13 days behind the Gregorian or civil calendar). So December 25 is more family time, with alas no religious element at all. But then, January 7 is really focusing on what happened when God came to live With Us on earth.
📚 With the little time for reading left, because I was so exhausted, I just read from Eagle Strike. Super easy read. I like how Alex has now to go through what’s the 3D reality of a virtual game.
At the beginning of this series, it was pretty mild, but plots have been getting fairly violent. I’m surprised my library has this series in the children section. Should definitely be YA.

1/8 – #boutofbooks week
📚 I keep listening to the Book of Genesis. I’m in chapter 24. Interesting how the format changes the way of reading: when I read it in print, it becomes meditation, prayer, or study. Listening to it makes me more attentive to the literary and story telling aspects.
📚 I finished Eagle Strike, see review above

1/9 – #boutofbooks week
📚 I decided to stop publishing my Read or Skip posts on Saturday for a while. Most of the books I have added on my TBR are unknown to most bloggers, so I’ll find other ideas to clean up as necessary.
📚 I wrote the above review for Eagle Strike

1/10 – #boutofbooks week
📚 With Nativity and its various celebrations, I’m almost as exhausted as after Pascha – sorry, only my Eastern Orthodox friends will understand this!
I was hesitating to participate in #boutofbooks this week, I should have chosen the way of wisdom, lol.
📚 So, I am not reading much (translate: I have to be super super exhausted then!!), BUT I’m thoroughly enjoying Sanshiro.
The ebook I’m reading is The Penguin Classics edition (ISBN13: 9780140455625), which is really cool: besides the very enlightening chronology of Soseki’s life (see above at 1/6), there’s a fantastic introduction by my dear Haruki Murakami. Sublime, a real piece of literary criticism, plus containing elements about Muramaki’s own life, and why this book is one of his favorites.
So far, I really enjoy the writing, with its great flow, nice images. But I’m not sure I like Sanshiro’s character and his lack of determination.

1/11 – #boutofbooks week
📚 So glad I had to do ironing. I finished listening to the Book of Genesis.
And I started The Haunted Bookshop (see above). Loving it! Available here.
We think we recently invented the concept of bibliotherapy. Well, it’s right there in this book written in 1918, even with this name!
It was unreal to hear the author mention The Book of Tea, that I just finished reading myself!!
“People need books, but they don’t know they need them” – Chapter 1



  Bout of Books 27   Japanese Literature 13

January 6-12 was: Bout of Books 27
1/13: Final Bout of Books recap
and Book review: The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids
1/14: Book review: Essential Keto Bread
1/15: Book review: Perfect Little Chidlren
1/16: Book review: Minimalism Room by Room
1/17: Book review: Breakfast Cookbook

January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13