Year of reading 2022: Part 1 – My top 22 books

Year of reading 2022
Part 1
 My top 22 books

To follow my tradition, here is part 1 of my yearly recap.
There is a total of 3 parts:

  1. my favorite books, with my usual categories, see here below
  2. my stats
  3. my fun list with titles

2022 was a great year, with 41% of 5 stars rating (58 out of 140 books).
As usual, the final choice here below is based on the quality of the book, on how it resonated with me and my own experience, and on how it stayed with me.
I have added the 3 formats for the scifi category, as I read more of that genre this year.


click on the covers to access either my review,
or the Goodreads page for the titles I have not reviewed yet


Fiction HistFic NonFiction Mystery
Eventide Laurus  Wanderlust The Bride Wore Black


Fiction HistFict NonFiction Mystery
Scarlet Sails The Daughter of Time After the Romanovs A Death in Tokyo


Fiction HistFict NonFiction Mystery
Jamaica Inn So Big L'Enfer numérique Confessions


Print Ebook Audio
The Last Human Progress Report Les Fourmis


Print Audio
Stuart Little The Sword in the Stone


River of Stars


The Night Gardener


Revenge of the Librarians


Beginning to Pray


A Brush With Birds

Only 2 French this year in these top titles, and 3 Japanese books.
And 36% are classics!
Out of these 22, it’s really hard to spot THE winner. If I had absolutely to choose, I might go with The Bride Wore Black, for being a major unexpected discovery for me, of a really brilliant author. But I equally enjoyed all the above!






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

click on the cover to access my review


Sunday Post #71


Julie Anna’s Books
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!


Karen at Booker Talk
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they have great blogs


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


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 #71 – 12/17/2022


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

Not sure how, but time seems to accelerate. I have tried several times recently to write something for the Sunday Post, but then gave up for lack of time. Let’s try again.

Even if I’m not posting often these days, I do keep reading, a lot. I actually finished 5 books since last Sunday.
With 136 books read this year so far, I’m at 113% of my original goal (120 books).

I only posted once this week:

Here are the 5 books I finished this past week:


A Death in Tokyo

📚 A Death in Tokyo 
(Detective Kaga #3),
by Keigo Higashino

Translated by Giles Murray
Japanese mystery
麒麟の翼 was first published in 2011
368 pages
Published in English
on December 13, 2022 by Minotaur Book
Received fro review thourgh Netgalley

I will write a review, so I’ll just say this is another very enjoyable mystery by Higashino, with a brilliant plot. It’s amazing how it leads you from one thing to the next.

“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.”

Jasmine Toguchi

📚 Jasmine Toguchi, Brave Explorer
(Jasmine Toguchi #5),
by Debbi Michiko Florence

Middle Grade
128 pages
Published on October 18, 2022
by Farrar, Straus and Giroux 

I went to the kids floor of my library to check out the illustrations on Kipling’s Just So Stories (which I recently listened to).
They didn’t have it available, BUT on my way out, I looked at the display of new books, and I found this cute MG set in Japan. I’m going through a Japan/Japanese obsession right now, so this book was perfect.
Jasmine is quite a pistol, though once she understands what’s going with her sister for instance, she does all she can to make it work.
But anyway, the emphasis is on Jasmine’s discovery of her grandparents’ country: Japan. As she flies there for the first time, she learns some basic words and customs, and discovers a couple of must see places in Tokyo.
A lovely book, with cute illustrations as well. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, to come out in 2023, which whill also be set in Japan, as Jasmine will finally meet her gradnparents after a long trip.
Oh, and there’s a super easy Dorayaki recipe at the end!

Diary of a Tokyo Teen

📚 Diary of a Tokyo Teen:
A Japanese-American Girl

Travels to the Land of Trendy Fashion,
High-Tech Toilets and Maid Cafes,
by Christine Mari Inzer
YA graphic “novel” nonfiction
127 pages
Published in 2016 by Tuttle Publishing

After reading a MG novel on Jasmine going to Japan, I just read this graphic “novel” nonfiction narrative by Christine, 17 when she wrote this book, who also went to Japan, to visit her grandparents.
It’s a cute simple narrative, full of cultural elements, from food to clothes, etc, and she accompanies her stories with very simple drawings. The art is not terrific, but expressive enough.
A lovely book for teens wanting to know more about Japan.
She first travelled there by herself, so there’s plenty about how it feels to land in a very different country.

Du fond des âges

📚 Du fond des âges,
by René Manzor

414 pages
Published on October 19, 2022
by Éditions de l’Épée

Read with one of my French students.
The book is not yet available in English

Wow, that was intense, and I was not expecting that type of thing at all.
I liked the supense, but not the ideas, as it got really weirder and weirder.
But it certainly is very well written, and with intriguing characters.

“New Zealand. A little boy runs breathlessly through the streets of Christchurch, chased by an armed man. Gunshots erupt. At the hospital, they realize the child was reported missing three years earlier.
His name is Nateo, he is the son of the famous explorer Marcus Taylor.
Why is he 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 to a base in the middle of Antarctica. When they arrived there, they discovered ransacked and deserted buildings. The previous team had disappeared without a trace.

What connection is there between the reappearance of the child and this expedition which turned into a nightmare? One thing is certain. It’s too late to be afraid…”

An English Murder

🎧 An English Murder,
by Cyril Hare

175 pages
Published in 1951

It counts for The Classics Club

Some characters were interesting, but I found it both too simple (I knew who the murderer was) and too complicated, with many characters, and a bit on the lengthy side.
I suppose some details were supposed to be funny, but I didn’t really find them so.
Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for that.
And even if it’s set at Christmas time, this was not really relevant to the story, except that they were stuck in a house because of the snow, and it made it like a (very pale) version of And Then There Were None.

“A country-house murder-mystery classic, as a party of people find themselves snowed in on Christmas Eve with a murderer among them….  
The snow is thick, the phone line is down, and no one is getting in or out of Warbeck Hall. All is set for a lovely Christmas, with friends and family gathered round the fire, except as the bells chime midnight, a murder is committed. 
But who is 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 they survive long enough to find out?”



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

Still working on this one, though it’s absolutely fascinating. It’s a vast history of walking, with so many subthemes, and references across time and cultures
I can’t even start to imagine the amount of resaerch that went into this!

“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.”

Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon

Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
It counts for The Classics Club

Still reading this one with French student E., we have 8 more stories to go.

It’s really neat to see that Simenon displays the same quality of writing than in his novels.
Some plots are brilliant, sometimes quite different to what I am used to with this author.
We also find Maigret here at times violent.

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

🎧The Wonderful Adventures of Nils
(Nils Holgersson #1),
by Selma Lagerlöf
Translated from the Swedish by Peter Klusen
Mathilde MannMustafa Yalçıner
Velma Swanston Howard
Children’s Lit/Fantasy/Adventure
Published in 1906
240 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

I was eager to listen to this audiobook. 
The stories are great, but the narrator (not sure about his name) is not the best. He is actually really good when he is reading the dialogues, whether said by people or animals, but in the narrative parts, he is very boring. Too bad. Still, I plan on listening to it all, to see what will happen to Nils.

“Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1909  — the first woman to be so honored — Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940) was a gifted storyteller whose writings were often tinged with the supernatural and rooted in the sagas and legends of her homeland.
She secured her reputation as a children’s-book author with  The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, long considered a masterpiece of children’s literature. Written at the request of Swedish school authorities and first published in 1906, it is the enchanting and remarkably original tale of Nils Holgersson, a mischievous boy of 14 who is changed by an elf into a tiny being able to understand the speech of birds and animals.
Brilliantly weaving fact and fiction into a breathtaking and beautiful fable, the story recounts Nils’s adventures as he is transported over the countryside on the back of a goose. From this vantage point, Nils witnesses a host of events that provide young readers with an abundance of information about nature, geography, folklore, animal life, and more.”


Gaspard Melchior & Balthazar


📚  Gaspard, Melchior & Balthazar,
by Michel Tournier
French historical fiction
288 pages
Published in 1978
Was translated into English as The Four Wise Men

As a teen, I really enjoyed Michel Tournier. I started this book some time ago, but for some reasons, I stopped. The Christmas season is perfect to go back to it.
Too bad the English title and synopsis gives too much away.

“Displaying his characteristic penchant for the macabre, the tender and the comic, Michael Tournier presents the traditional Magi describing their personal odysseys to Bethlehem–and audaciously imagines a fourth, “the eternal latecomer”‘ whose story of hardship and redemption is the most moving and instructive of all.
Prince of Mangalore and son of an Indian maharajah, Taor has tasted an exquisite confection, “rachat loukoum,” and is so taken by the flavor that he sets out to recover the recipe. His quest takes him across Western Asia and finally lands him in Sodom, where he is imprisoned in a salt mine. There, this fourth wise man learns the recipe from a fellow prisoner, and learns of the existence and meaning of Jesus.”



The Chocolate Cobweb

📚 The Chocolate Cobweb, by Charlotte Armstrong
288 pages
Published in 1948

“When Amanda Garth was born, a nearly-disastrous mix-up caused the hospital to briefly hand her over to the prestigious Garrison family instead of to her birth parents. The error was quickly fixed, Amanda was never told, and the secret was forgotten for twenty-three years . . . until her aunt thoughtlessly revealed it in casual conversation.

But what if the initial switch never actually occurred, and what if the real accident was Amanda’s being “returned” to the wrong parents? After all, her artistic proclivities are far more aligned with painter Tobias, patriarch of the wealthy Garrison clan, than with the uncreative duo that raised her. Determined to discover her true identity within her aunt’s bizarre anecdote, Amanda calls on her almost-family, only to discover that the fantasy life she imagines is not at all like their reality. Instead, she encounters a web of lies and suspicions that ensnares her almost immediately, and, over a murky cup of hot chocolate, realizes something deadly lurks just beneath the surface. . . .”


Japanese Kanji Made Easy

📚 Japanese Kanji Made Easy: An Easy Step-by-Step Workbook
to Learn the Basic Japanese Kanji
To be published some time in 2023
by Lingo Mastery
155 pages
Nonfiction/ Language book/ Japanese

Click on the cover to see my review
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