Translation:Last month I read nine books altogether.
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To help translate this sentence 上个 - Previously/Last 月 - month 我 - I 一共 - althogether/total 看了 - read/saw 了 indicates a something that something has been done in the past 九本 - 9 本 is the measure word for books 书 - book So to put this sentence together it would be Last month I read a total of nine books
看 is to see and 读 is to study. You can use 看 as you use read, watch, etc. because you are seeing what ever you're doing. However, 读 is used to study. You can say, "我读五年级," meaning that you are in the 5th grade/you are studying 5th grade. It may not make as much sense in English, but that is what you are supposed to say. If you say, "我读书," it means you're saying you are studying the book. What they want here is that you are reading the book. I think you can say, "我读中文书," meaning that you are studying a Chinese book. For example you are learning Chinese, so you are studying the Chinese book. You can simply put another subject like 你读数学书 meaning you are studying a Math book. You don't use 读 in this case. You use 看 because you are reading the book.
No, as far as I remember (from a chineasy flashcard) běn 本 can mean roots (it depicts a line at the base of a tree) or even origin . 日本 is "sun origin" and I find it quite fitting, in Italy we also call it (Paese del) Sol Levante = (Land of the) Rising Sun. I guess that explains their flag too.
To add to what JOrlando3 said, consider 本 as a unit name of similar objects, such as notebook, book, textbook, that all have some common characteristics (bonded from multiple sheets of paper, to be written on). So we give these nouns a unit name.
In case you learn Vietnamese, it has this feature too.
I believe it should be 我上个月一共看了九本书 because of the grammar>Subject + Time + Auxiliary Verb + Place + Verb + Object. In this case we do not have a 'Place,' but that is redundant. STPVO is the grammar/order of how you speak Chinese. Auxiliary Verb is usually not part of it, but that is where it goes because we have an Auxiliary Verb here.