What I Read This Month: November 2019

Books Gretchen has read

For more than two 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 now 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.

November 2019 Reading:

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews — Julie Andrews! A fascinating, thoughtful memoir. I’d been thinking about her lately because of this “A Little Happier” I did recently. Of all the “Littles,” this is one of my favorites: I get choked up when I hear the song “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music. Plus Julie Andrews wrote one of the books that made it onto my 81 Favorite Works of Children’s and Young-Adult Literature. (Mandy).

Very Modern Mantras: Daily Affirmations for Daily Aggravations by Dan Zevin — Hilarious! I found myself chuckling out loud. A good gift.

The Anatomy of Disgust by William Ian Miller — I decided that “disgust” was something I need to learn more about, for my study of the senses. Interesting, and not as disgusting as I’d feared.

Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense by Scott McCredie — A terrific book! In fact, I’m giving a copy to my father for his birthday. It’s a fascinating and accessible examination of the subject. Boy, the human body is amazing. The sense of balance is often ignored, but it’s essential to our lives.

Ways of Sensing by David Howes and Constance Classen — A wide-ranging and thought-provoking look at the senses across time.

The Body Has a Mind of Its Own by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee — A fascinating look at how the body and the mind engage each other.

The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Lieberman — I was surprised (and relieved) by what a great read this book was. I knew I’d be interested in the subject, but I thought that getting through the chapters might be a bit of a slog. Nope, a great reading experience. I bought another book by Lieberman, in fact.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur — I loved this memoir, couldn’t put it down! Elizabeth and I loved it so much that we chose it for the next Happier Podcast Book Club. Read along, join in, we’re talking to Adrienne Brodeur in the new year. The subtitle says it all!

L’Abri by Edith Schaeffer — I don’t remember why I happened to read this book (or the next book) but it was fascinating to read them together; they are two versions of the same events, from a mother and a son. And both books are interesting from their own perspective.

Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back by Frank Schaeffer — see above.

Aphorisms and Thoughts by Napoleon Bonaparte — Aphorisms! Along with everything else he did (which was a lot), Napoleon also dropped a lot of aphorisms. These were collected by Balzac.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell — This is a children’s book that I’ve been hearing about for years, so great finally to get the chance to read it. Absorbing.



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