What I Read This Month: May 2022

Stack of books Gretchen 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.

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.

May 2022 Reading:

Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl (AmazonBookshop)—I love the work of Sarah Ruhl (see below), so couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this memoir about her experiences with Bell’s palsy, a high-risk pregnancy, play-writing

Parson’s Nine by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—On a recent episode of More Happier, I talked about how happy I was to discover Streatfeild’s adult fiction. I loved this novel.

Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism by Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D. (AmazonBookshop)—A fascinating memoir about how studying the interactions of gorillas offered a lifeline to the author.

In the Early Times: A Life Reframed by Tad Friend (AmazonBookshop)—A thought-provoking, honest, revealing memoir about family and marriage.

Signal Fires: A Novel by Dani Shapiro (AmazonBookshop)—A gripping novel that I finished in one day. I keep thinking about the characters.

The Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen (AmazonBookshop)—Haunting. A fascinating portrait of a person and a time.

The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (AmazonBookshop)—we’ll be talking to the authors in upcoming episode 381 of the Happier podcast, for the Happier Podcast Book Club. Such a delightful book. Behind-the-scenes at the iconic TV comedy The Office, stories of best friendship, Hollywood stories, and more.

Mothering Sunday by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—more Noel Streatfeild!

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (AmazonBookshop)—New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, Winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor—a thought-provoking family memoir that was both funny and somber. (Side note: much of it took place in Kansas City, which made me feel a personal connection.)

The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith (AmazonBookshop)—A great novel about romance, grief, family, music—all set on an Alaskan cruise ship.

Ties by Domenico Starnone (AmazonBookshop)—2015 Bridge Prize for Best Novel, Sunday Times and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, Strega Award—the story of a marriage told with an unusual and effective structure. (Side note for Elena Ferrante fans: some argue that Starnone is her husband and that this novel is “in dialogue with” her novel The Days of Abandonment.)

To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines by Judith Newman (AmazonBookshop)—a fascinating memoir about a family, about autism, and about technology.

Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, a Friendship by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo (AmazonBookshop)—Kirkus Best Book of 2018—see above—I loved this collection of letters exchanged between Sarah Ruhl and her student, colleague, and friend Max Ritvo before his early death from cancer.

The Aosawa Murders by Rick Onda (AmazonBookshop)—A gripping story about a crime and the mystery of who committed it, and why.

In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Amy Bloom (AmazonBookshop)—New York Times Bestseller—A beautiful, thought-provoking memoir about love and death.

The Book of Boundaries by Melissa Urban (AmazonBookshop)—in galley! A practical, helpful book that’s also hilarious and a real page-turner, on the question of how to create healthy boundaries.



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