What I Read This Month: January 2020

Stack of books Gretchen has read

For three 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’ve recently started tracking books I’ve read.

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

January 2020 Reading:

This Immortal by Roger Zelazny — I always enjoy reading classic works of science fiction, like this one.

Growing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler — An interesting account of Amish life. Not sure how I happened to pick this up.

The Spaces Between Us: A Story of Neuroscience, Evolution, and Human Nature by Michael Graziano — This is a fascinating book and a very compelling read.

Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound by Trevor Cox — I really enjoyed this sound travelogue.

That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion by Rachel Herz  — It’s kind of disgusting to read about disgust—but it’s interesting!

Attention: A Love Story by Casey Schwartz — In galley. A fascinating reported memoir. In the end, attention determines our experience.

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew D. Lieberman — A compelling examination of how our relationships with other people have a tremendous influence over the way our brains work.

Now You’re Talking: The Story of Human Conversation from the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence by Trevor Cox — More Cox! An interesting look at conversation and talking. Talking is trickier than you’d think.

Coventry: Essays by Rachel Cusk — I love essays, and I love the work of Rachel Cusk.

The Brain: A Very Short Introduction by Michael O’Shea — Short, technical, useful resource.

The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate by Peter Brook — Why did I happen to pick up this book? I have no recollection. But it’s super-interesting.

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin — I love a great biography, and I’m very interested in Shirley Jackson.



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