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.”
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.
July 2020 Reading:
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Amazon, Bookshop) — I initially hesitated to read this book, because it’s written in verse—but I’m so glad I read it. Terrific. I love a twist. Winner of the 2018 Newbery Medal and 2018 Edgar Award.
My Garden (Book): by Jamaica Kincaid (Amazon, Bookshop) — I have no interest in gardening, but enjoy reading gardening books. And I love the work of Jamaica Kincaid. (By the way, that colon is part of the title.)
The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death by Colson Whitehead (Amazon, Bookshop) — A Pulitzer finalist. Along with The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova (Amazon, Bookshop), this terrific book has inspired me to want to learn to play poker. Wish me luck.
The Grounding of Group 6 by Julian F. Thompson (Amazon, Bookshop) — A friend told me about this YA novel. If you liked House of Stairs (Amazon, Bookshop), you’ll like this, too. Very suspenseful. Teenagers, a boarding school, murder.
Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) by Octavia E. Butler (Amazon, Bookshop) — More Octavia Butler! An extremely interesting future world. Each of the three Xenogesis novels (see below) was nominated for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in the year it was published (1987, 1988, and 1989).
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander (Amazon, Bookshop) — This memoir of deep love and early loss reminded me of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking (Amazon, Bookshop) . (Personal note: I realized that the author’s brother was my TA (teaching assistant) in law school.) Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and named Best Book of the Year according to the New Yorker, NPR, and many others.
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington (Amazon, Bookshop) — Gripping history, I couldn’t put it down. Winner of the Book Critics Circle Award.
The Theming of America: American Dreams, Media Fantasies, and Themed Environments by Mark Gottdiener (Amazon, Bookshop) — This is related to my upcoming book about the body and the senses. I do love a themed environment.