What I Read This Month: October 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 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.

October 2021 Reading:

Sula by Toni Morrison (Amazon, Bookshop) — A story of place, family, friendship—haunting.

A Conspiracy of Kings (Queen’s Thief, 4) by Megan Whalen Turner (Amazon, Bookshop) — I eagerly read my way through the “Queen’s Thief” books (see below).

Thick as Thieves (Queen’s Thief, 5) by Megan Whalen Turner (Amazon, Bookshop) — I’m very sad to reach the end of the books about this world. Attolia!

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers (Amazon, Bookshop) — Speaking of writers whose work I love, more Becky Chambers (see September’s list).

Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf (Amazon, Bookshop) — The final novel in my Summer of Virginia Woolf. Unlike her other novels, I’d never read it again after college, so it was interesting to revisit it.

See What I’m Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses by  Lawrence D. Rosenblum (Amazon, Bookshop) — An excellent book about the five senses.

Wayward: A Novel by Dana Spiotta (Amazon, Bookshop) — A gripping novel about a life in transition—and a great portrait of Obliger-rebellion.

Real Estate: A Living Autobiography by Deborah Levy (Amazon, Bookshop) — An interesting memoir about the author’s reflections on transition, home, compromise.

Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad (Amazon, Bookshop) — What the author learned from grappling with a life-threatening condition in her twenties.

The Last Graduate: A Novel (A Scholomance) by Naomi Novik (Amazon, Bookshop) — I really admire Novik’s work, so couldn’t wait to get my hands on this novel. Excellent.

Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening by Stephen Kuusisto (Amazon, Bookshop) — A series of essays about the experience of losing sight. Fascinating.

A Perfect Spy: A Novel by John le Carré (Amazon, Bookshop) — I don’t usually read thrillers or spy novels, but this is a fascinating portrait of a character. It’s one of those novels where your sense of reality changes from chapter to chapter.

The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp (Amazon, Bookshop) — A thought-provoking memoir, and a portrait of the past.

Go Saddle the Sea by Joan Aiken (Amazon, Bookshop) — A proper tale. So fun to read.

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (Amazon, Bookshop) — I love the work of Ann Patchett, both fiction and non-fiction, so I couldn’t wait to read her latest collection of essays.

A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family by Lou Ann Walker (Amazon, Bookshop) —

Cockeyed by Ryan Knighton (Amazon, Bookshop) —

Volume Control: Hearing in a Deafening World by David Owen (Amazon, Bookshop) —



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