2022: December wrap-up


Before launching into my 2022 advanced stats, here is how December 2022 went. Really well according to my standards, with some amazing books.

📚 Here is what I read in December:

11 books 
8 in print 
with 2,220 pages, a daily average of 71 pages/day,
which is almost my highest monthly page average this year.
3 in audio
= 24H09
, a daily average of 46 minutes/day

3 in children’s lit/YA:

  1. Jasmine Toguchi (#5), Brave Explorer, by Debbi Michiko Florence
  2. The Last Human, by Lee Bacon (scifi)
  3. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils/ The Further Adventures,
    by Selma Lagerlöf – audio

3 in mystery:

  1. A World of Curiosities (Armand Gamache #18), by Louise Penny
  2. A Death in Tokyo (Detective Kaga #3), by Keigo Higashino – for review
  3. An English Murder, by Cyril Hare – audio

2 in science fiction:

  1. Du fond des âges, by René Manzor – with French student F.
  2. Progress Report, by Roman Lando – for review

2 in nonfiction:

  1. Diary of a Tokyo Teen, by Christine Mari Izner
  2. Wanderlust: A History of Walking, by Rebecca Solnit

1 in historical fiction:

  1. The Story of the Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke – audio


Picking 3 this month:

Progress Report The Last Human

A Death in Tokyo


Classics Club: 30/150 (from September 2022-until September 2027)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 9/12 books – During the year: 16
2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 11/12 books
2022 books in translation reading challenge
: 31/10+

Total of books read in 2022 = 140/120 (117%)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 20


Japanese Kanji Made Easy


Japanese Kanji Made Easy

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


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The top 10 books to read in December 2022

Here are
The top 10 books
I plan to read in December 2022

This month, I’ll focus on a few “Christmas time” books, and trying to finish a few projects.

Click on the covers to know more


Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret

📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon

Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
Reading with French student E.
It counts for The Classics Club

This is the first collection of short stories in the Maigret series (written between 1936-1938).

We have read 5 out of the 19  short stories included, and so far have been enjoing finding in this shorter genre the same quality of writing as in Simenon’s novels.

Du fond des âges

📚 Du Fond des âges, by René Manzor
French Mystery and scifi?
Published on October 19, 2022
Reading with French student F.

This is my our novel by Manzor and so far we are really enjoying it, though we have no idea what’s going on and where it’s going.
This is not available yet un English.

“New Zealand. A little boy runs breathlessly through the streets of Christchurch, chased by an armed man.
Gunshots erupt. At the hospital, they discover that the child was reported missing three years ago.
His name is Nateo, he is the son of the famous explorer Marcus Taylor.
Why has he been found now? Was he kidnapped? Did he run away? And who would want to kill an eight-year-old child?
A year earlier, glaciologist Marcus Taylor led a mission of scientists on a base in the middle of Antarctica.
When they arrived there, they discovered ransacked and deserted buildings. The previous team disappeared without a trace.
What connection is there between the reappearance of the child and this expedition which turns into a nightmare?
One thing is certain. It’s too late to be afraid…”

Wanderlust📚 Wanderlust, by Rebecca Solnit
Nonfiction / History and Travel Essays
Published in 2001
Reading for the 2022 TBR Pile Challenge

I ended up reading another nonfiction this past month, the new Murakami: Novelist as a Vocation, so I haven’t finished Wanderlust yet.
I really like how Solnit explores various topics in relation to walking, like pilgrimages, mazes, labyrinths, or memorization techniques!

“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.”

I am also reading an excellent Orthodox book by Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou: Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and Acquiring the Orthodox Christian Mind.
But I am going slow, as we organize weekly discussions with our catechumens focused on it.


A Death in Tokyo📚 A Death in Tokyo (Kyoichiro Kaga #9),
by Keigo Higashino

Japanese mystery
Published in March 2011/December 13, 2022
by Minotaur books.
Received for review through Netgalley

I enjoy a lot this author. It’s the 9th book in the series in Japanese, but actually the 3rd in English translation, after Malice and Newcomer.

“In the latest from international bestselling author Keigo Higashino, Tokyo Police Detective Kaga is faced with a very public murder that doesn’t quite add up, a prime suspect unable to defend himself, and pressure from the highest levels for a quick solution.
In the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo an unusual statue of a Japanese mythic beast – a kirin – stands guard over the district from the classic Nihonbashi bridge. In the evening, a man who appears to be very drunk staggers onto the bridge and collapses right under the statue of the winged beast. The patrolman who sees this scene unfold, goes to rouse the man, only to discover that the man was not passed out, he was dead; that he was not drunk, he was stabbed in the chest. However, where he died was not where the crime was committed – the key to solving the crime is to find out where he was attacked and why he made such a super human effort to carry himself to the Nihonbashi Bridge. That same night, a young man named Yashima is injured in a car accident while attempting to flee from the police. Found on him is the wallet of the murdered man.

Tokyo Police Detective Kyoichiro Kaga is assigned to the team investigating the murder – and must bring his skills to bear to uncover what actually happened that night on the Nihonbashi bridge. What, if any, connection is there between the murdered man and Yashima, the young man caught with his wallet? Kaga’s investigation takes him down dark roads and into the unknown past to uncover what really happened and why.

A Death in Tokyo is another mind-bending mystery from the modern master of classic crime, finalist for both an Edgar Award and a CWA Dagger, the internationally bestselling Keigo Higashino.”

A World of Curiosities


📚  A World of Curiosities
(Armand Gamache #18), by Louise Penny

Published on November 29, 2022

Did you hear? Sounds like a Three Pines series will start being available on Amazon Prime tomorrow, December 2!

I have devoured every volume of this series. They were already 8 people ahead of me when I requested it at my library, like six months ago! But hopefully, they will buy more copies and I can read it in December.

“Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in the eighteenth book in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny’s beloved series.
It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.
But something has.
As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.
But to what end?
Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?
As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.
In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.”

Arvo Pärt_Out of Silence

📚 Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence,
by Peter C. Bouteneff

Published in
Will be reading for the 2022 TBR Pile Challenge

I hope to finish Wanderlust and then read this, my 12th and final title for this challenge.
I really enjoy a lot this composer, and I hve heard how good this book is.

“Listeners often speak of a certain mystery in the way that Arvo Pärt evokes spirituality through his music, but no one has taken a sustained, close look at how he achieves this. Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence examines the powerful interplay between Pärt’s music and the composer’s own deep roots in the Orthodox Christian faith—a relationship that has born much creative fruit and won the hearts of countless listeners across the globe.”

Gaspard Melchior & Balthazar


📚 Gaspard, Melchior & Balthazar,
by Michel Tournier

Literary French fiction
published in

I enjoyed a lot this author when I was a teen. I started this book years ago, but for some reason put it aside. December is a perfect month to go back to it.
It has been translated in English as The Four Wise Men – inicdentally, a very regrettable title, you will know why when you read the book. And the official English synopsis is revealing too much, so here is a translation of the French synopsis:

“The episode of the Three Kings who came from  Arabia to adore the Child Jesust is the subject of only a few lines in only one of the four Gospels, but it has magnificently inspired Western painting.
But who were these kings? Why had they left their kingdom? What did they find in Jerusalem – with Herod the Great – then in Bethlehem?
These are the questions Michel Tournier is trying to answer here, with this naive and violent story which plunges into the sources of Western spirituality.”



The Jungle

🎧 The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Historical fiction
Published in 1905
It counts for The Classics Club

Yes, I am finally listening to this Chicago classic!
I realize on the cover of this edition it talks about an uncensored edition, Ido hope the audio version I’m listening to is also the original.
Right now, I’m at the beginning, in the long wedding celebration, and I like the scene a lot, with how the emigrants connect to their roots thorugh music and feast. But it’s supposed to become bad, and someone told me, from worse to worse, we’ll see.

“Upton Sinclair’s dramatic and deeply moving story exposed the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century and brought into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American Dream. Denounced by the conservative press as an un-American libel on the meatpacking industry, and condemned for Sinclair’s unabashed promotion of Socialism and unionisation as a solution to the exploitation of workers, the book was championed by more progressive thinkers, including then President Theodore Roosevelt, and was a major catalyst to the passing of the Pure Food and Meat Inspection act, which has tremendous impact to this day.”

  The Story of the Other Wise Man  An English Murder  

🎧 The Story of the Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke
Classic short story
Published in 1895
It counts for The Classics Club

Perfect time to finally listen to this classic Christmas story, plus it could be interesting to see if it would connect with Tournier’s novel, mentioned above.

“You know the story of the Three Wise Men of the East, and how they travelled from far away to offer their gifts at the manger-cradle in Bethlehem.
But have you ever heard the story of the Other Wise Man, who also saw the star in its rising, and set out to follow it, yet did not arrive with his brethren in the presence of the young child Jesus?
Of the great desire of this fourth pilgrim, and how it was denied, yet accomplished in the denial; of his many wanderings and the probations of his soul; of the long way of his seeking, and the strange way of his finding, the One whom he sought–
I would tell the tale as I have heard fragments of it in the Hall of Dreams, in the palace of the Heart of Man. — Henry Van Dyke”

🎧  An English Murder, by Cyril Hare
Classic Christmas mystery
Published in 1951
It counts for The Classics Club

I thought I would also try to listen to his one, it is the season!

“The snow is thick, the phone line is down, and no one is getting in or out of Warbeck Hall. With friends and family gathered round the fire, all should be set for a perfect Christmas, but as the bells chime midnight, a mysterious murder takes place.
Who can be responsible? The scorned young lover? The lord’s passed-over cousin? The social climbing politician’s wife? The Czech history professor? The obsequious butler? And perhaps the real question is: can any of them survive long enough to tell the tale?”

I will probably have time to listen to other audiobooks, either a French one or a classic.

Eiffel Tower Orange



2021: September wrap-up


September was another great reading month, with progress on my own challenges:

  • I have already reached my reading goal for the year, which was 120 books. Seems like I need to raise the bar every year!
  • I’m almost done with listening to all of Hercule Poirot
  • Which allowed me a little break in my audio program: I then listened to a French audio, a long sequel I was really looking forward.
  • And I even just started listening to The Thirteenth Tale.
    This is actually BIG for me, as it is the title that has been for the longest time on my Goodreads TBR. When I say longest, I really mean it. This is the first title I added to my TBR 10 years ago, when I joined Goodreads. My goal is to focus more and more on these titles that I have meant to read for so many years
  • I posted my review of Lessons From Walden, so I now only have one review late for books I requested a year ago (through Edelweiss). Alas, there are many books I have read this year and never wrote a review for them, but at least I’ll be caught up soon with the books I had requested.
  • And yesterday, I celebrated my 11th blogiversary. Didn’t do anything special, beside preparing this post!!

These goals actually are not really reflected in the number of pages I have read this year. The reason being I’m currently reading two massive books (one is 900 pages or so), and I’m not done. So numbers of pages will be high next month when I’m done with these two books.

📚 Here is what I read in September:

12 books:
6 in print 
with 1,590 pages, a daily average of 53 pages/day
6 in audio
= 48H05
, a daily average of 1H36
(which is almost 20 minutes more than last month. And the reason being a lot of work in the garden, especially picking a lot of green beans, cutting them, and blanching them. Perfect activity for audio time!

5 in mystery:

  1. After the Funeral (Hercule Poirot #33), by Agatha Christie
  2. Hickory Dickory Dock (Hercule Poirot #34), by Agatha Christie
  3. Dead Man’s Folly (Hercule Poirot #35), by Agatha Christie
  4. Cat Among the Pigeons (Hercule Poirot #36), by Agatha Christie – these first 4 were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club
  5. Rider on the Rain, by Sébastien Japrisot – for the Books in Translation Challenge and for The Classics Club. My review will be live on October 4

2 in science-fiction:

  1. The Islanders, by Christopher Priest
  2. Constance, by Matthew FitzSimmons – read to prepare for the Virtual Crime Book Club (Zoom discussion on October 11)

2 in YA/Children’s Book:

  1. Les deux châteaux (N.E.O. #2), by Michel Bussi – French audiobook
  2. Kaleidoscope, by Brian Selznick

1 in historical fiction:

  1. Les Évaporés, by Thomas B. Reverdy – in French with one of my students

1 in literary fiction:

  1. Rue des boutiques obscures, by Patrick Modiano – in French another of my students. This is a reread
  2. Les Mystères de Paris, volume 1, by Eugène Sue – French audiobook, for The Classics Club. 


Rider on the Rain  Les Évaporés


Classics Club: 80/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 12 books
#20BooksofSummer21: 37/20 books
Total of books read in 2021 = 125/120 (104%)

Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 39


Lessons From Walden Killer Come Back to Me

Trap For Cinderella

And two short reviews:

  The Village of Eight Graves The Madness of Crowds


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Come back on October 5
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How was YOUR month of September?

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
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Thanks Nicole!