What I Read This Month: October 2018 

For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads

I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

If you want to see what I read in September 2018, the full list is here.

October 2018 Reading

The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher -- One of my very favorite works of children's literature is the masterpiece Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. It's on my list of my 81 Favorite Works of Children's and Young-Adult Literature. How I love that book! Through reading about Pearl Buck, I learned that Dorothy Canfield Fisher wrote for adults, so off I trotted to the library. I very much enjoyed this book—a real period piece.

Fables for Parents by Dorothy Canfield Fisher -- These are short stories. I enjoyed them all, and two are unforgettable: "The Forgotten Mother" and "A Family Alliance."

Harvest of Stories by Dorothy Canfield Fisher -- More short stories.

Lives Other Than My Own by Emmanuel Carrère -- A bookish friend recommended this to me, and I headed to the library to get it. I found it so interesting that I then read...

My Life as a Russian Novel by Emmanuel Carrère -- Also very interesting. So then...

The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception by Emmanuel Carrère -- Interesting, very dark, like his other books, didn't unfold as I expected.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James -- My daughter Eleanor and I both raced through this book. Great suspense, more than one great twist.

Fighting Angel by Pearl S. Buck -- My Pearl Buck obsession has run its course, I believe. This is the last book I feel compelled to read. Wait, never mind—I still want to re-read The Good Earth. This book is a memoir/biography about Buck's missionary father. If you're curious, I did an episode of "A Little Happier" where I discuss an anecdote that Buck tells about him elsewhere: "A Puzzling Story from the Life of Pearl S. Buck."

The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright -- So, so, so, so, SO good. On the list of 81, of course.

Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright -- I've read it fifty times, if not more.

Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright -- If you know me, you're thinking, "Hmmm, Gretchen is re-reading for the millionth time her favorite works of children's literature, and she's focusing on Elizabeth Enright. Does that mean she's feeling stressed out about something?" Answer: yes. That's my tell. But I'm feeling much calmer now.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith -- I will read anything that J. K. Rowling writes, under any pseudonym she chooses. In hardback!

Nonrequired Reading by Wislawa Szymborska -- Little essays. Thought-provoking.

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler -- I read this years ago, and it was nothing like I remembered, which surprised me. A good, absorbing read.

The World I Live In by Helen Keller -- Fascinating. What a life, what a mind.

Nothing Good Can Come from This by Kristi Coulter -- I heard about this book on the terrific podcast But That's Another Story. A great book about quitting drinking, and much more. Bizarre coincidence: in the interview, Kristi Coulter mentioned that she loves Elizabeth Enright (see above)! And also Laurie Colwin, whom I also love.

Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell by Constance Classen, David Howes, and Anthony Synnott -- Research for my next book. Can't learn enough about smell.

Butcher's Crossing by John Williams -- I'm astonished I've never read this book before, or even heard of it. A really great book. Symbols and metaphors shooting off in all directions. (Though, if you've read it, do you agree with me that the ending was a bit off?)

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry -- Love, love, love this novel. Beautiful, haunting.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry -- Love this one too, but if you're thinking, "Of the two, which Berry novel did she like better?" I'd say Jayber Crow.

The Outcasts: Brotherband Chronicles, Book 1 by John Flanagan -- I love this world, I keep reading more and more of these novels. This was a gift from a friend, such a treat.

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane -- Fun! A girl finds a magical book in the library, say no more.

The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo -- In galley. Great insights into the challenges of being a manager. Zhuo is a manager at Facebook.

What No One Ever Tells You by Dr. Alexandra Sacks and Dr. Catherine Birndorf -- In galley. Great insights into the challenges of being a new mother.

If You're In My Office, It's Already Too Late by James J. Sexton -- Do's and don'ts from a divorce lawyer. I read about this book in the newspaper, and I just had to get a copy. In a nutshell: be nice to your sweetheart.

Quantum Change by William R. Miller and Janet C'de Baca -- I've read this book before. It is absolutely fascinating. It's like nothing I've ever read before. I suppose it reminds me of The Varieties of Religious Experience.

What are you reading this month?