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  • feedwordpress 21:36:56 on 2022/08/01 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: July 2022 


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    For six 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 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.

    When I read books related to an area I’m researching for a writing project, I carefully read and take notes on the parts that interest me, and skim the parts that don’t. So I may list a book that I’ve partly read and partly skimmed. For me, that still “counts.”

    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 track books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read last month, the full list is here.

    Lately, I've been listening to a lot of episodes of Backlisted, a books podcast that I love, and many of the suggestions this month were inspired by the hosts' conversations.

    July 2022 Reading:

    Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson (Amazon, Bookshop)—a thought-provoking memoir with an unusual structure.

    Beyond the Vicarage by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—More Streatfeild! The third volume in her three-volume third-person memoir.

    Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, edited by Alice Wong (Amazon, Bookshop)—A collection of excellent essays from different authors about their experiences of living with disabilities.

    A World for Me and You by Uju Asika (Book Depository)—A lovely picture book about appreciating the beauty and joy of living in a diverse world. (If you want to read my interview with Uju Asika, it's here.)

    Say the Right Thing: How to Talk about Identity, Diversity, and Justice by Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow (Amazon)—A very practical, thoughtful consideration of how to have conversations with greater compassion and understanding (in galley).

    Drive Your Plow: Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel by Olga Tokarczuk (Amazon, Bookshop)—Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature—A fascinating, surprising novel.

    The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E. L. Konigsburg (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love the work of E. L. Konigsburg, and when I did an event with the people making a musical of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Amazon, Bookshop), I met Konigsburg's three children; when her son said this novel was his favorite, I realized that somehow I'd never read it.

    This is Not a Novel and Other Novels by David Markson (Amazon, Bookshop)—experimental, interesting, not like anything I've ever read before. I want to read more of his work.

    Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Amazon, Bookshop)—mystery, magic, competition, champions, hidden identities, and a delightful hotel...so many elements I find irresistible.

    Good Company: A Novel by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeny (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times Bestseller, A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick—I really enjoyed The Nest so wanted to read this excellent novel about marriage, family, love, theater, and what matters over time.

    Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (Amazon, Bookshop)—a classic work of fantasy, with kingdoms, powers, conflict, strong characters, and a well-realized world

    Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy (Amazon, Bookshop)—a terrific old-fashioned novel, and I mean that as high praise.

    The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series) by Nora Ephron (Amazon)—I'm reading through a lot of these short "Last Interview" collections; they're wonderful.

    The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series) by Toni Morrison (Amazon)—ditto.

    The Children’s Bach by Helen Garner (Amazon, Bookshop)—a short, intense novel about the collision of characters.

    Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner (Amazon, Bookshop)—More Helen Garner—a terrific collection of her non-fiction.

    Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life by Delia Ephron (Amazon, Bookshop)—A "Best Memoir of 2022" by Marie Claire, A "Best Memoir of April" by Vanity Fair—I love the writing of Delia Ephron (also Nora Ephron, see above), and this is a wonderful memoir of losing her husband, finding new love, and dealing with a health crisis.

    I Wrote This Book Because I Love You by Tim Kreider (Amazon, Bookshop)—A People Top 10 Book of 2018—terrific essays; I just bought another collection by Tim Kreider.

    A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, 1) by Becky Chambers (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love the work of Becky Chambers! Plus I love a pantheon of gods.

    The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe (Amazon, Bookshop)—A magical world set in Appalachia. It reminded me a bit of the work of Nina Kiriki Hoffman, which I love.

    The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings by Geoff Dyer (Amazon, Bookshop)—A meditation on endings in Geoff Dyer's inimitable voice.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:00:35 on 2022/06/30 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: June 2022 


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    For four 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 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.

    When I read books related to an area I’m researching for a writing project, I carefully read and take notes on the parts that interest me, and skim the parts that don’t. So I may list a book that I’ve partly read and partly skimmed. For me, that still “counts.”

    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 track books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read last month, the full list is here.

    June 2022 Reading:

    Pure by Andrew Miller (Amazon, Bookshop)—A terrific novel that captures an interesting moment in history—the moving of the contents of the Les Innocents cemetery in eighteenth-century France.

    Sorrow and Bliss: A Novel by Meg Mason (Amazon, Bookshop)—Winner of the Book of the Year (Fiction) at the British Book Awards—an absorbing novel of a woman and her family.

    Artificial Conditions: The Murderbot Diaries (The Murderbot Diaries, 2) by Martha Wells (Amazon, Bookshop)—USA Today Bestseller—I rarely listen to audiobooks, but for the Murderbot Diaries, I tried the audiobooks, and really enjoyed the experience. I love the main character of these novellas.

    Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries (The Murderbot Diaries, 3) by Martha Wells (Amazon, Bookshop)—ditto

    Exit Strategy: The Murderbot Diaries (The Murderbot Diaries, 4)  by Martha Wells (Amazon, Bookshop)—ditto

    The Absolute Book: A Novel by Elizabeth Knox (Amazon, Bookshop)—Several people told me to read this book. It reminded me a little of Little, Big: Or, The Fairies' Parliament by John Crowley.

    Becoming a Gardener: What Reading and Digging Taught Me About Living by Katie Marron (Amazon, Bookshop)—I have no desire to garden but I love books about gardening. This meditative memoir looks at the power of gardening, with gorgeous illustrations.

    A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch (Amazon, Bookshop)—I'm on a Murdoch kick. They're always worth reading, though this wasn't one of my favorites.

    Also A Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me by Ada Calhoun (Amazon, Bookshop)—A fascinating memoir about a complex father-daughter relationship...plus Frank O'Hara.

    The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison (Amazon, Bookshop)—I couldn't wait to read the next book in the Cemeteries of Amalo series.

    The Reason I Jump by Naomi Higashida (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestseller—an interesting memoir from an unusual perspective (after reading it, I learned that there's some controversy about this book).

    The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder (Amazon, Bookshop)—Winner of the Pulitzer Prize—a short and thought-provoking story about life and fate.

    The Great Passion by James Runcie (Amazon, Bookshop)—A historical novel with a compelling narrator—a thirteen-year-old who finds himself in Bach's circle.

    Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life: A Memoir by Delia Ephron (Amazon, Bookshop)—A "Best Memoir of 2022" by Marie Claire, A "Best Memoir of April" by Vanity Fair—Romance, marriage, aging, New York City, bone-marrow transplant, sisters...a terrific memoir.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:00:19 on 2022/06/01 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: May 2022 


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    For four 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 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.

    When I read books related to an area I’m researching for a writing project, I carefully read and take notes on the parts that interest me, and skim the parts that don’t. So I may list a book that I’ve partly read and partly skimmed. For me, that still “counts.”

    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 track books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read last month, the full list is here.

    May 2022 Reading:

    Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love the work of Sarah Ruhl (see below), so couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of this memoir about her experiences with Bell's palsy, a high-risk pregnancy, play-writing

    Parson's Nine by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—On a recent episode of More Happier, I talked about how happy I was to discover Streatfeild's adult fiction. I loved this novel.

    Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism by Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D. (Amazon, Bookshop)—A fascinating memoir about how studying the interactions of gorillas offered a lifeline to the author.

    In the Early Times: A Life Reframed by Tad Friend (Amazon, Bookshop)—A thought-provoking, honest, revealing memoir about family and marriage.

    Signal Fires: A Novel by Dani Shapiro (Amazon, Bookshop)—A gripping novel that I finished in one day. I keep thinking about the characters.

    The Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen (Amazon, Bookshop)—Haunting. A fascinating portrait of a person and a time.

    The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (Amazon, Bookshop)—we'll be talking to the authors in upcoming episode 381 of the Happier podcast, for the Happier Podcast Book Club. Such a delightful book. Behind-the-scenes at the iconic TV comedy The Office, stories of best friendship, Hollywood stories, and more.

    Mothering Sunday by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—more Noel Streatfeild!

    Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, Winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor—a thought-provoking family memoir that was both funny and somber. (Side note: much of it took place in Kansas City, which made me feel a personal connection.)

    The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith (Amazon, Bookshop)—A great novel about romance, grief, family, music—all set on an Alaskan cruise ship.

    Ties by Domenico Starnone (Amazon, Bookshop)—2015 Bridge Prize for Best Novel, Sunday Times and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, Strega Award—the story of a marriage told with an unusual and effective structure. (Side note for Elena Ferrante fans: some argue that Starnone is her husband and that this novel is "in dialogue with" her novel The Days of Abandonment.)

    To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines by Judith Newman (Amazon, Bookshop)—a fascinating memoir about a family, about autism, and about technology.

    Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, a Friendship by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo (Amazon, Bookshop)—Kirkus Best Book of 2018—see above—I loved this collection of letters exchanged between Sarah Ruhl and her student, colleague, and friend Max Ritvo before his early death from cancer.

    The Aosawa Murders by Rick Onda (Amazon, Bookshop)—A gripping story about a crime and the mystery of who committed it, and why.

    In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Amy Bloom (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times Bestseller—A beautiful, thought-provoking memoir about love and death.

    The Book of Boundaries by Melissa Urban (Amazon, Bookshop)—in galley! A practical, helpful book that's also hilarious and a real page-turner, on the question of how to create healthy boundaries.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:09:08 on 2022/05/02 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: April 2022 


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    For four 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 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.

    When I read books related to an area I’m researching for a writing project, I carefully read and take notes on the parts that interest me, and skim the parts that don’t. So I may list a book that I’ve partly read and partly skimmed. For me, that still “counts.”

    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 track books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read last month, the full list is here.

    April 2022 Reading:

    The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration by Sarah Everts (Amazon, Bookshop)—An Outside magazine 2021 Science book pick—A fascinating look at a very common aspect of life.

    The Bell Family by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon, Bookshop)—I just realized that Noel Streatfeild has several novels that I've never read, and it's so delightful to plunge in. This children's novel is based on her own childhood. It's very much like A Vicarage Family, below, which is a memoir.

    How to be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together by Dan Kois (Amazon, Bookshop)—I'm a big fan of the podcast Mom and Dad Are Fighting, which was co-hosted for many years by Dan Kois, and I knew that Dan and I would both be at the Iceland Writers Retreat, so I wanted to read his memoir. Funny, thought-provoking.

    Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestseller; I loved this novel; it was the chance to be inside a pure mind.

    In the Land of Pain by Alphonse Daudet (Amazon, Bookshop)—When I interviewed Meghan O'Rourke about her book The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness (Amazon, Bookshop), she suggested this book. Short, haunting account of Daudet's experience of chronic illness and pain.

    Inside Grandad by Peter Dickinson (Amazon)—I'm a huge fan of the work of Peter Dickinson but had somehow missed this novel. A simple, lovely story about a boy's love for his grandfather.

    Thinking 101: How to Reason Better to Live Better by Woo-Kyoung Ahn (Amazon, Bookshop)—A very engaging, readable, and powerful examination of how we can think more clearly.

    My Year Off: Recovering Life After a Stroke by Robert McCrum (Amazon, Bookshop)—A very moving account of the author's experience of having a stroke at a relatively young age.

    First Bite by Bee Wilson (Amazon, Bookshop)—Fortnum & Mason Food Book of the Year 2016—a fascinating examination of why we eat what we eat.

    True Biz: A Novel by Sara Nović (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestseller, Reese's Book Club pick—I read this novel in one day. I'd just binge-watched the reality series Deaf U, and True Biz picks up on many of the same themes related to Deaf culture.

    The Vicarage Family by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—Streatfeild writes this memoir in the third-person, which gives it a different atmosphere. If you love the Shoes books, you'll love this.

    You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestseller, a Library Journal Best Book of the Year—These essays highlights very serious issues of racism by using humor and sisterly banter.

    Under the Glacier by Halldór Laxness (Amazon, Bookshop)—I wanted to read at least one novel by Laxness before coming to Iceland. This is an extremely odd and interesting novel.

    Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson (Amazon, Bookshop)—A travelogue from a very different time and place. I very much admire the work of Stevenson, and had never read this one.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:18 on 2019/04/30 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: April 2019 


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    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 Mach 2019, the full list is here.

    April 2019 Reading:

    The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty -- A friend with similar reading tastes sent this to me as a gift—what a treat! A great book.

    The Book of Delights by Ross Gay -- Wonderful little essays. Elizabeth and I will interview Ross Gay for the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, so stay tuned for that.

    The Beautiful No by Sheri Salata -- And we're also interviewing Sheri Salata! Stay tuned! These are many Secrets of Adulthood that she learned the hard way.

    Chance, Luck, and Destiny by Peter Dickinson -- Yes, more Peter Dickinson. I love thinking about chance, luck, and destiny so couldn't wait to read this book. It's a non-fiction collection of interesting observations of these subjects.

    Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown -- I wrote books called Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK so of course I had to read this book. Wonderful. I knew nothing about Princess Margaret so learned a lot, but more importantly, this account contains deep insight into human nature.

    Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected by Nnedi Okorafor -- I love Okorafor's fiction, and was always curious to learn more about her life, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read this memoir. Short and powerful.

    The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons -- Great book, but it was confusing to read it within a few weeks of "The City of Brass." I kept mixing up the two titles.

    Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett -- I've read this book three times. Love it.

    The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- I've read this book three times. I love it. Why does no one ever talk about Nina Kiriki Hoffman's work? I'm a huge raving super-fan of her books. GO READ NINA KIRIKI HOFFMAN.

    Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney -- I admire this book tremendously. You know how reviews say a book is "finely observed," and you think, "What does that even mean?" As I was reading this book, I literally had the thought, "Gosh, this is finely observed."

    Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver -- The title is "Long Life" and the book is short. Very thought-provoking, with many passages that I copied into my notes (no surprise).

    The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner -- A beautifully written, haunting book. I dog-eared many pages.

    Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen -- I read this book as a child, and suddenly remembered it and felt compelled to get my hands on it. A wonderful book about an Amish family.

    Midnight Fair by William Mayne -- Odd. Interesting. Not quite sure what to make of this book, but I'm glad I read it. I believe I heard about it in Philip Pullman's Daemon Voices.

    Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses by Paula McLain -- I did an event for San Diego's organization for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and during the lunch, someone recommended this memoir. Fascinating. The writer and her two sisters grew up in foster care.

    Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid -- So many people told me to get this book! A great read.

    Comedy Sex God by Pete Holmes -- I love memoirs by comedians, and I love spiritual memoirs, and here is two in one.

    Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs -- My sister Elizabeth told me I had to read this book. An outstanding family memoir.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:18 on 2019/04/30 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: April 2019 


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    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 Mach 2019, the full list is here.

    April 2019 Reading:

    The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty -- A friend with similar reading tastes sent this to me as a gift—what a treat! A great book.

    The Book of Delights by Ross Gay -- Wonderful little essays. Elizabeth and I will interview Ross Gay for the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, so stay tuned for that.

    The Beautiful No by Sheri Salata -- And we're also interviewing Sheri Salata! Stay tuned! These are many Secrets of Adulthood that she learned the hard way.

    Chance, Luck, and Destiny by Peter Dickinson -- Yes, more Peter Dickinson. I love thinking about chance, luck, and destiny so couldn't wait to read this book. It's a non-fiction collection of interesting observations of these subjects.

    Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown -- I wrote books called Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK so of course I had to read this book. Wonderful. I knew nothing about Princess Margaret so learned a lot, but more importantly, this account contains deep insight into human nature.

    Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected by Nnedi Okorafor -- I love Okorafor's fiction, and was always curious to learn more about her life, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read this memoir. Short and powerful.

    The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons -- Great book, but it was confusing to read it within a few weeks of "The City of Brass." I kept mixing up the two titles.

    Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett -- I've read this book three times. Love it.

    The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- I've read this book three times. I love it. Why does no one ever talk about Nina Kiriki Hoffman's work? I'm a huge raving super-fan of her books. GO READ NINA KIRIKI HOFFMAN.

    Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney -- I admire this book tremendously. You know how reviews say a book is "finely observed," and you think, "What does that even mean?" As I was reading this book, I literally had the thought, "Gosh, this is finely observed."

    Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver -- The title is "Long Life" and the book is short. Very thought-provoking, with many passages that I copied into my notes (no surprise).

    The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner -- A beautifully written, haunting book. I dog-eared many pages.

    Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen -- I read this book as a child, and suddenly remembered it and felt compelled to get my hands on it. A wonderful book about an Amish family.

    Midnight Fair by William Mayne -- Odd. Interesting. Not quite sure what to make of this book, but I'm glad I read it. I believe I heard about it in Philip Pullman's Daemon Voices.

    Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses by Paula McLain -- I did an event for San Diego's organization for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and during the lunch, someone recommended this memoir. Fascinating. The writer and her two sisters grew up in foster care.

    Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid -- So many people told me to get this book! A great read.

    Comedy Sex God by Pete Holmes -- I love memoirs by comedians, and I love spiritual memoirs, and here is two in one.

    Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs -- My sister Elizabeth told me I had to read this book. An outstanding family memoir.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:00:02 on 2019/03/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , March, reading,   

    What I Read This Month: March 2019 


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    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 February 2019, the full list is here.

    I get a lot of time to read when I travel, and being on my book tour has given me many wonderful hours of reading—especially because in my "19 for 2019" list, I vowed to stop watching HGTV transformation shows in my hotel room. That's freed up a lot of time!

    March 2019 Reading:

    Nobody's Looking at You by Janet Malcolm -- I love Janet Malcolm's work. I'd read several of these essays before, but I loved reading them again.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson -- A frank, bold term for this kind of clutter-clearing! Short and inspiring.

    The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher -- A fascinating way to approach a memoir. Now I want to read everything that M.F.K. Fisher ever wrote. Next stop: How to Cook a Wolf. How can I resist that title?

    The Seventh Raven by Peter Dickinson -- More Peter Dickinson! I loved this book, too. He never disappoints. Very different from his others, but I'm noticing a trend: he often involves characters who are ambassadors or diplomats of some kind. Interesting.

    Heartburn by Nora Ephron -- A re-read. Hilarious, thought-provoking novel based on her own experience with a divorce.

    Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone -- Fascinating. I've become very interested in magicians and theories of magic. Stay tuned.

    The Crystal Tree by Jennie Dorothea Lindquist -- Another re-read. What a wonderful, wonderful book. So cozy. It's the third in a series that's included in my list of 81 Favorite Works of Children's and Young Adult Literature.

    In the Palace of the Khans by Peter Dickinson -- What can I say? More Peter Dickinson. With ambassadors! Plus royal families, secret passageways, ancient customs.

    The Butler Speaks by Charles MacPherson -- Not sure why I picked this up, but it was an interesting look at etiquette.

    The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy -- This memoir has been on my list for a long time. Thought-provoking, page-turning.

    The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey -- I loved this book and can't wait to suggest it to my kidlit reading groups. A fresh and fascinating twist on the classic theme of zombie apocalypse.

    The Only Story by Julian Barnes -- An interesting examination of an unusual relationship, and its reverberations through the life of the narrator.

    Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan -- I got this in galley! I'm a big fan of Ian McEwan, and this didn't disappoint.

    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell -- A re-read. George Orwell is certainly one of my very favorite writers of non-fiction; perhaps my very favorite. So I wanted to re-read this.

     

    Have you heard of The Next Big Idea Club

    If you're looking for non-fiction book recommendations, consider joining The Next Big Idea Club to receive two new books every three months, handpicked by a team of authors and experts like Malcolm Gladwell and Susan Cain. Plus, you'll get access to videos and e-courses. More details here.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:13:59 on 2019/03/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , reading,   

    What I Read This Month: February 2019 


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    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 January 2019, the full list is here.

    February 2019 Reading:

    Pride by Ibi Zoboi -- a wonderful re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Bushwick. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that when rich people move into the hood, where it's a little bit broken and a little bit forgotten, the first thing they want to do is clean it up."

    The Chosen Ones by Scarlett Thomas -- This is the second in a YA series by Scarlett Thomas. Now I have to wait for the third book to come out.

    Eva by Peter Dickinson -- How I love Peter Dickinson! A girl is in a terrible accident, and wakes up with her mind implanted in the body of a chimp. Very interesting. Straight sci-fi.

    Earth and Air by Peter Dickinson -- More Dickinson! Short stories on the theme of earth and air. Wonderful. Fantasy.

    Angel Isle by Peter Dickinson -- What can I say? More Dickinson. The sequel to The Ropemaker.

    The Wave in the Mind by Ursula K. Le Guin -- Dickinson got me in the mood for Le Guin. These are various essays.

    Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard -- Another author I love. You're either on this train, or off this train. I'm on it, all the way.

    How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee -- I love essays and kept hearing that I had to read this collection.

    Still Life by Louise Penny -- One of my most bookish friends keeps urging me to read Penny, even thought I don't usually like mysteries, and told me to start with this one. I really enjoyed it.

    How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand -- I skimmed this book. Very intriguing look at buildings, cities, and how time changes a place. Loved the illustrations.

    The Anatomy of Color by Patrick Baty -- I also skimmed this very dense book. It's an extremely comprehensive, authoritative and odd examination of historical issues related to color.

    My Father's Fortune by Michael Frayn -- I love Michael Frayn's work and love memoirs, so had to get this book. A very loving account of a family and a time in history.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson -- how had I not read this book before? What a title.

    What have you read recently that you'd recommend? I'm particularly in the mood for essays and memoirs. Plus as part of my "19 for 2019," I vowed that during my upcoming book tour, I'd spend my time in hotel rooms reading children's/YA novels instead of watching before-and-after HGTV which (for some reason) is what I usually do. So I'd also love some children's/YA recommendations.

    Announcement! We decided to launch the Happier Podcast Book Club. We'll discuss Dani Shapiro's Inheritance on episode 212 (airing March 13). Spoiler alert: it's really, really good.

     
  • gretchenrubin 11:00:34 on 2019/01/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , reading   

    We’re Launching the Happier Podcast Book Club! And Announced Our First Choice. 


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    Nothing makes me happier than reading a great book -- unless it's the chance to talk to other people who've loved that book as well.

    Elizabeth and I both love to read, and we know that the listeners of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast love to read, too. For instance, we noticed that "Read more" or "Read X number of books this year" appeared on a huge number of "18 for 2018" and "19 for 2019" lists.

    So...announcement! We decided to launch the Happier Podcast Book Club.

    Several times a year on the Happier podcast, we'll announce a book, and then some episodes later, we'll discuss it.

    If you choose to read along, you can post your questions and comments here on this blog post, on #happierpodcastbookclub or email us at podcast@gretchenrubin.com.

    If we can, we'll have the author as our guest.

    We're tremendously excited to announce our first pick. This choice was easy. It's a thought-provoking, beautifully written memoir that's so suspenseful, I read it in practically one sitting.

    It's Dani Shapiro's Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love. This book is generating a tremendous amount of buzz and acclaim, and no surprise, it's a New York Times bestseller

    Here's the official description:

    What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
    In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history--the life she had lived--crumbled beneath her.
    Inheritance is a book about secrets--secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman's urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in--a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

    It's particularly nice to have Dani as our first choice, because she was Elizabeth's first writing teacher! How crazy is that? And Dani and I have known each other for a long time, through mutual writerly friends. Plus Elizabeth and I both have read all her books -- in particular, I love Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.

    So read along, and send us your questions and comments soon. Dani will join us for a discussion on the show for episode 212, which will go live on March 13.

    The book is fairly short.

    Some people ask, "Does it count if I listen to the audio-book?" Absolutely.

    Some people ask, "I want to read it, but how can I get more reading done?" Check out my one-pager "Reading Better Than Before" for some tips.

    Some people ask, "Do I have to read it? I've got so much going on right now, it stresses me out to think about adding something  to my to-do list." The motto of my children's literature reading groups is NO GUILT, and that motto applies to this "group," too. Sometimes, it's just not the right time for a book. Don't beat yourself up. You can enjoy the conversation, and when your life settles down, you can get back to reading. A book waits for you, always.

    We'd love to hear your suggestions for other books to consider. We already have a few that we're dying to discuss.

    How I love to read! It's my tree-house and my cubicle. More reading for all. Head to your favorite bookstore (maybe you have a favorite local indie?), go to the library, go e- or audio-, whatever works for you.

    The prospect of this book club is making Elizabeth and me very happy. Join the conversation!

     
  • gretchenrubin 12:00:28 on 2018/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , reading,   

    Want to Give the Gift of a Book This Holiday Season? A Gift Guide for All Kinds of Readers. 


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    It's holiday time! And that means it's time to choose gifts for the people in our lives. Which can be fun, but can also be frustrating and difficult.

    One of the best gifts to give is a book. How I love books. Plus they're easy to wrap, easy to transport, and easy to re-gift if necessary.

    But that leads to the question...what book?

    Here are some suggestions for different categories of gift-recipients, with suggestions of books that I love.

    If I'd made this list last week, or if I did it next week, I'm sure I'd come up with an entirely different list. I love so many books, it's hard to pick out a few. But this is a start.

    For a new parent: Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott

    For the parent of small children: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

    For a person interested in spirituality: Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather

    For a person who loves celebrity memoirs: Born Standing Up, Steve Martin

    For someone who loves to cook: Home Cooking, Laurie Colwin

    For a fisherman: A River Runs Through It, Norman McLean

    For a history lover: Their Finest Hour, Winston Churchill

    For someone who loves a great study of character: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

    For a nature-lover: Into the Wild, John Krakauer

    For a person who's interested in sports and leadership: The Captain Class, Sam Walker

    For someone who loves fantasy: American Gods, Neil Gaiman

    For someone who loves to write: A Writer's Diary, Virginia Woolf

    For someone who loves science fiction: Lord of Light, Robert Zelazny

    Book that changed my life: Why We Get Fat, Gary Taubes (Want to read my interview with Gary Taubes? Request it here.)

    Book that was made into a movie, and both are brilliant: Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk

    Book that I played hooky from work to stay home to read: The Stand, Stephen King (I recommend the standard, not the unabridged, version)

    Book that people keep telling me to read: Bad Blood, John Carreyrou

    For someone who's starting to date or looking for a job: First Impressions, Ann Demarais and Valerie White

    For someone with a short attention span or who loves very short stories: Revenge of the Lawn, Richard Brautigan

    For someone who loves essays: Selected EssaysGeorge Orwell

    For a person interested in human nature: The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James

    For a person interested in film: In the Blink of an Eye, Walter Murch

    For a person interested in friendship: Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett

    For a person interested in journalism: The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm

    For a person who loves a twist at the end: The End of the Affair, Graham Greene

     

    If you're buying a book for a child or young-adult, check out my list of 81 Favorite Works of Children's and Young-Adult Literature. So many good books!

    Of course, I can't resist recommending my own books.

    If you're giving one of my books as a gift, and want to put in a free, personalized bookplate to make it more special, sign up here to request one. Feel free to request as many as you want (within reason). Alas, because of mailing costs, I can offer this to people in the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry about that!

    If you'd like to see what I've read, follow me on Goodreads. Or look on Facebook, where every Sunday night, on #GretchenRubinReads, I post a photo of the books I've read that week.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, I've changed my reading habits so that now, if I don't like a book, I stop reading it. So if you see a book listed in Goodreads or on Facebook, you know that I liked a book well enough to finish it.

    I love to choose, give, and receive books!

     
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