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.
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 last month, the full list is here.
June 2019 Reading:
The Very Worst Missionary by Jamie Wright -- I recently met Jamie Wright at a conference, and when she told me about her memoir, I made a note to track it down. A fascinating account of her life, what led her to become a Christian missionary in Costa Rica—and her reflections on that experience, afterward.
Aphorisms by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach -- How I love aphorisms! I read them constantly, I collect them. How had I never heard of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach? This collection is short yet extraordinary. I copied so many of them into my master document.
A Long Way from Verona by Jane Gardam -- I love Gardam's adult fiction (e.g., Old Filth, The Man in the Wooden Hat, Last Friends), so was surprised to realize that I'd never read her young-adult fiction. Very interesting. Next: The Hollow Land.
Here is Real Magic by Nate Staniforth -- I loved this book! How is magic accomplished, and why does it move us so deeply? It's not easy to hit the transcendent note without sounding mawkish. I've been reading a lot of books by magicians (long story) and this is one of my favorites.
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust -- For my "design my summer" resolution, I decided to have the Summer of Proust. This is Volume 1 in the acclaimed Remembrance of Things Past (or, if you prefer a different translation, In Search of Lost Time.) I'm thrilled to be reading these novels at last, after having vowed to do so for so many years.
Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World That Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships by Mitch Prinstein -- A fascinating look at "popularity," which includes the concepts of status and likeability.
Touch by Courtney Maum -- A thought-provoking novel about the power of the senses in human connection.
Going Solo by Eric Klinenberg -- Speaking of human connection, this book analyzes the growing trend of people living alone. Fascinating. I learned a lot from this book about how our living situations are changing, and what we seek from our living situations.
Song of Spider-Man by Glen Berger -- A friend told me he was obsessed with this memoir, so of course I had to read it. It's an outstanding look at art, collaboration, vision, commerce, regret...loved it. Now my mother is reading it.
Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust -- Summer of Proust continues with Volume II! Fortunately for me, I have a friend who is a Proust scholar (Caroline Weber, Proust's Duchess); we're having coffee in a week so I can talk Proust with a real expert.
The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton -- Last month I read Hamilton's award-winning children's novel M. C. Higgins, the Great, and I was so intrigued by it that I'm reading through more Hamilton—next, Zeely. This one is a thriller with lots of history, lots of twists. Loved it. I'm surprised Hamilton isn't better known today.
Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong -- My sister Elizabeth recommended this book to me when we were in Minneapolis for our live Happier show. We didn't get to see Mary's house or the famous statue, but that trip definitely ignited my curiosity about the history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists by James Geary -- I love aphorisms (see above). This giant collection took weeks to read. Even an enthusiast like me can only read so many aphorisms at a time.
The Perfect Meal by Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman -- A fascinating look at the scientific research behind the experience of eating in a restaurant—everything from menu design, to weight of cutlery, to color of plate, to the way food is described. Fun fact: if you're eating Pad Thai in a restaurant in the U.S., ketchup is probably a key ingredient. Who knew?
Announcement: Remember, for the Happier Podcast Book Club, we'll discuss Lisa Brennan Jobs's fascinating memoir Small Fry during episode 230, which will go live on July 17. If you prefer to read a paperback, the paperback is now available. Send us your questions or comments! If you choose to read along, you can post your questions and comments here on this blog post, on #happierpodcastbookclub or email us at [email protected].
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