What I Read This Month: December 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.

This year’s challenge is now finished: 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 was meant to help form and strengthen the habit of reading.

For 2022, we have a different challenge: #Rest22in22. But keep reading!

December 2021 Reading:

  • The Anomaly: A Novel by Hervé le Tellier (Amazon, Bookshop)—I whipped through this novel. I loved it, and I especially loved the very satisfying ending (this kind of novel often has a disappointing ending).
  • Sentient by Jackie Higgins (Amazon)—A fascinating look at the sensory powers of other creatures.
  • The Song of Achilles: A Novel by Madeline Miller (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love a re-telling of a myth.
  • The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor (Amazon, Bookshop)—A fascinating portrait of one character’s influence on the people around her.
  • A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghoríofa (Amazon, Bookshop)—A very thought-provoking memoir of one writer’s interest in the life of another writer.
  • Catholics: A Novel by Brian Moore (Amazon)—A fascinating novel about the nature of faith, institutional religion, and character. It’s a novel from the 1970s that’s set in the future, right about now, so that’s interesting, too.
  • Thin Places: Essay from In Between by Jordan Kisner (Amazon, Bookshop)—Interesting essays that also tackle the issues religion and faith (see above).
  • A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor (Amazon, Bookshop)—More Taylor! Another great novel of character.
  • The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir by Andre Leon Talley (Amazon, Bookshop)—A fascinating memoir of family, fashion, creativity, and relationships.
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Amazon, Bookshop)—HOW I LOVE THIS NOVEL. Short, beautiful, suspenseful. I’ve read it twice now, and will surely read it many more times.
  • Of Walking in Ice: Munich-Paris, 23 November–14 December 1974 by Werner Herzog (Amazon, Bookshop)—A very strange, interesting memoir. I looked online if any other readers were surprised by Herzog’s habit of breaking into other people’s houses every night during his travels. Apparently not.
  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield (Amazon, Bookshop)—A page-turner. A classic tale, with many twists and reveals.
  • The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found by Frank Bruni (Amazon)—A powerful memoir of the experience of partially losing the sense of sight.



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