What I Read This Month: June 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 new 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.

June 2021 Reading:

Everything Sad Is Untrue: (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri (Amazon, Bookshop) — 2021 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. A powerful, compelling autobiographical novel. Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf (Amazon, Bookshop) — This novel is the first one for my Summer of Virginia Woolf. A haunting, experimental way to create a portrait. Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Amazon, Bookshop) — A modern fairy tale. How had I never read this before? I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Amazon, Bookshop) — A classic that I hadn’t read in many years. Several months ago, I read some of Angelou’s memoirs, so I was interested to see how the novel reflects her own experiences. The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff (Amazon, Bookshop) — Terrific new young-adult novel. Summer adventures, secrets revealed (and not revealed), visitors disrupting the usual family dynamic. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Amazon, Bookshop) — How had I never read this classic? Suddenly so many parodies and rip-offs became clear to me. Unpacking the Boxes by Donald Hall (Amazon, Bookshop) — I’ve read several of Hall’s memoirs—most recently, String Too Short to Be Saved (AmazonBookshop)—and very much enjoyed this one, too. The Sisters Antipodes: A Memoir by Jame Alison (Amazon, Bookshop) — A fascinating memoir about two families that split and recombine. The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down by Andrew McCarthy (Amazon, Bookshop) — I recently read Brat (AmazonBookshop) , and that made me curious to read this memoir. No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler (Amazon, Bookshop) — A beautiful, candid, insightful memoir (not available until September). I love the work of Kate Bowler—both her book Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved (Amazon, Bookshop) and her podcast Everything Happens. The Joy Luck Club: A Novel by Amy Tan (Amazon, Bookshop) — I’ve been reading a lot of Amy Tan’s non-fiction lately, so of course I wanted to re-read her first and fabulously successful novel.



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