What I Read This Month: August 2021

Books Gretchen has read

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.

And join us for this year’s challenge: Read for 21 minutes every day in 2021!

A surprising number of people, I’ve found, want to read more. But for various reasons, they struggle to get that reading done. #Read21in21 is meant to help form and strengthen the habit of reading.

August 2021 Reading:

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz (Amazon, Bookshop) — An extremely thought-provoking collection of short stories.

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald (Amazon, Bookshop) — A classic tale of a magical land.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, 1) by Becky Chambers (Amazon, Bookshop) — Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Series. I love the work of Becky Chambers! Unlike most science fiction, the mood of her work is friendly and cheerful, as well as fascinating.

Blubber by Judy Blume (Amazon, Bookshop) — I realized that I hadn’t read this Blume novel since childhood.

Ordinary People by Judith Guest (Amazon, Bookshop) — Haunting. So good.

First Person Singular: Writers on Their Craft by Joyce Carol Oates (Amazon, Bookshop) — An interesting collection of essays.

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, 2) by Becky Chambers (Amazon, Bookshop) — Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Series. More Becky Chambers.

The Unseen by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Amazon) — I love Snyder’s work and realized that somehow I’d skipped this novel.

But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct: Lessons from a Life Behind the Camera by Ken Kwapis (Amazon, Bookshop) — As a huge fan of the TV show The Office, I wanted to learn more about Kwapis’s process. I love all books about creativity, in whatever medium.

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, 3) by Becky Chambers (Amazon, Bookshop) — Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Series. You guessed it, more Becky Chambers.

Open House: Of Family, Friends, Food, Piano Lessons, and the Search for a Room of My Own by Patricia J. Williams (Amazon, Bookshop) — A fascinating memoir that covers many memories, people, and subjects.

Ladyparts: A Memoir by Deborah Copaken (Amazon, Bookshop) — An astonishingly candid and thought-provoking memoir.

The Waves by Virginia Wolf (Amazon, Bookshop) — A towering masterpiece. One of my favorites books ever. Inexhaustible.

The Galaxy and the Ground Within: A Novel (Wayfarers, 4) by Becky Chambers (Amazon, Bookshop) — Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Series. More Chambers! Alas, I’m done with the series.

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (Amazon, Bookshop) — One of my favorite devices is when metaphor turns literal—as here.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Amazon, Bookshop) — The Westing Game meets Knives Out meets Spiderweb for Two.

Kaffe Fassett in the Studio: Behind the Scenes with a Master Colorist by Kaffe Fassett (Amazon, Bookshop) — I love color so couldn’t wait to look at the pictures in this book.

Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter by Mike Evvico (Amazon, Bookshop) — As noted, I love reading about the creative process in any medium, so I was very interested in this examination of songwriting



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