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!


Sunday Post #19 – 1/5/2020

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

I’m baaaaack! Last time I wrote for The Sunday Post was in January 2016!
One of my 2020 resolution is to post short reviews of books I have just finished (and keeping long review formats only for books received for review).
Plus, I’d like to start a type of book journaling, we’ll see how this goes.
So I think the Sunday Post will work well for that – though I may not be able to link it until late afternoon, because of Church commitments.

Click on book covers to access synopsis or review



by Katherine Applegate
Feiwel and Friends
Childrens Books
245 pages

I really like Applegate’s style: it’s very simple, though at the same time beautiful and very real. She always tackles important themes. In this one, we meet young Jackson.
He understands much more than his parents tell him, and he knows they are major financial problems. Because of that, they will probably have to go back and live in their van, as they did some time ago. When things get too tough, Jackson suddenly meet Crenshaw, a very special giant cat.
These are difficult issues, homelessness, how kids cope with adversity, poverty, and hunger, for instance by living in their head with imaginary friends. But Applegate, as usual, does it in a delicate way, with lots of tenderness and wisdom.
Highly recommended.


Perfect Little Children Theological Territories

Perfect Little Children
Received for review through Edelweiss
Release date February 4
A woman goes to have a peek at the place where her former friends are now leaving. She sees their kids, but they have not aged, whereas they should be 12 years older.

Theological Territories: A David Bentley Hart Digest
Received for review through Edelweiss
Release date April 15
It is so unusual to find Orthodox theology on Edelweiss or Netgalley. Plus I have read an enjoyed another book by this author, so of course I had to request it.

Audio book

The Book of Tea

The Book of Tea
Am listening for The Classics Club
“That a nation should construct one of its most resonant national ceremonies round a cup of tea will surely strike a chord of sympathy with at least some readers of this review. To many foreigners, nothing is so quintessentially Japanese as the tea ceremony–more properly, “the way of tea”–with its austerity, its extravagantly minimalist stylization, and its concentration of extreme subtleties of meaning into the simplest of actions.”




📚 I managed to finish my first book of the year, Crenshaw (see above) = 1/110
📚 I also started listening (35 minutes) to the Book of Genesis. Indeed it recently dawned on me (finally!), that I could listen to the whole Bible, a nice way to revisit it. So I plan to do this. I found a good recording of it on YouTube – I chose The King James, which is close to the Orthodox translation.
📚 I also figured out a way of reading 2 ebooks at the same time, without having to switch back and forth between 2 books on my kindle. Actually, I didn’t realize I could read books sent by Edelweiss Plus on the kindle app!! So I’m now reading a theological book on my kindle, and a mystery on my phone (see titles above), through the kindle app. Works great!
📚 Perfect Little Children: What’s going on? I have some ideas, but I may be wrong. In the mean time, I enjoy the flow of the writing and the suspense. Sophie Hannah is masterful.

📚 Perfect Little Children: It’s getting really weird, and now there are many more issues about the reliability of the narrator. I enjoy how her teenagers, especially her daughter, is trying to help explain what’s going on.
📚 Theological Territories: I have read the introduction, that basically presents each of the 26 essays. Some of them may totally be over my had, as they refer to authors I have not read.

📚 Listened to the book of Genesis for about 15 minutes. I really enjoy the experience, it’s like rediscovering the text.

📚 Theological Territories: Read the 1st chapter on Rowan Williams’s The Tragic Imagination. I don’t really agree, as I will explain in my review, for instance with this statement: “As aesthetic experiences go, tragedy is probably among the least intellectual.”



 Everything is Illuminated  The Salt Path

Everything is Illuminated
Recommended by my niece
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man — also named Jonathan Safran Foer — sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.
A reviewer wrote: “a very complicated narrative structure”. I am intrigued!

The Salt Path
Recommended by Booker Talk
“Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.”



Downloaded for free
Classic recommended by my niece.
Colette write about her Mum and her childhood


  Bout of Books 27   Japanese Literature 13

January 6-12: Bout of Books 27
It starts on Monday, but I’ll probably won’t be able to read much the first two days!

1/6: Book review: Lady Clementine
1/7: Top Ten Tuesday, if I have time, about Most anticipated 2020 titles
1/8: Book review: Dreamland
1/9: My top 12 favorites of the decade!
1/10: Book review: Figure Drawing for Kids

January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13
You are going to read a lot about Japanese Literature here for three months!!



Six degrees of separation: From Daisy Jones to Japan


Six degrees of separation:
From Daisy Jones to Japan

Using my own rules for this fun meme hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest (see there the origin of the meme and how it works – posted the first Saturday of every month), I started with Daisy Jones and ended up in Japan!
Come with me!

Here are my own quirky rules:

1. Use your list of books on Goodreads
2. Take the first word of the title offered and find another title with that word in it
3. Then use the first word of THAT title to find your text title
4. Or the second if the title starts with the same word, or you are stuck

Daisy Jones & the Six  The One And Only Ivan

 To Open One's Heart  Open World

 The Secret World of Arrietty  Ikigai

1. Daisy Jones and the Six
I haven’t read this book and have no intention to do so. I couldn’t find any book on my Goodreads shelf with the first two words, so I had to go with and.

2. The One and Only Ivan
From my review: “Applegate has a knack for writing deep stories full of wisdom, in a very accessible style for middle graders.”

3. To Open One’s Heart
A beautiful short book on the heart in Orthodox spirituality. Unfortunately, I never took the time to review t, so here’s the Goodreads synopsis:
“There are many ways to open one’s heart. The heart is opened in those who love, and yet the heart is injured in those who sorrow. It is a deep well, and he who plumbs its depths can find spiritual wonders. The heart is the locus of the person— emotional, physical, and moral. But over and above all these dimensions, the heart is also the place of spiritual encounter with God.
Since God is constantly inviting each person to open his heart, he also wishes to heal those whose hearts have been bruised or injured by the hardships of life. Drawing freely from the writings of Scripture, the saints, and even Pascal, Michel Evdokimov offers an initiation into this spirituality of the heart born out of the traditions of Orthodox Christianity.”

4. Open World: The Collected Poems 1960-2000
This one has been on my TBR for a while. It looks like these nature poems should talk to my heart.
“His vision is a remarkably consistent one and the same elements recur again and again—rocks, sea, mist, gulls and the natural world.”
Have you read this Scottish poet?

5. The Secret World of Arrietty
Sad, but gorgeous art, so detailed, so good with nature, colors. Totally my cup of tea!It is actually a Film Comic Adaptation, I didn’t even know such a thing existed before I discovered Miyazaki, one of my major 2019 discoveries.

6. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
From my review: “Fascinating, about the Japanese concept of ikigai – a reason for living, as the root of happiness. This little book is packed with goodness, lots of great tips on health.”


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