What I Read This Month: July 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.

July 2021 Reading:

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Amazon, Bookshop) — It’s my Summer of Virginia Woolf. How I love the work of Virginia Woolf! I’ve read this novel at least nine times, and I love it more each time. What a lark, what a plunge.

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore (Amazon, Bookshop) — A classic; a fascinating business book about running start-ups that sell tech products.

Conversations with James Baldwin edited by Fred Standley and Darnell Pratt (Amazon, Bookshop) — A compelling collection of interviews with James Baldwin; very interesting to see the development of his thinking over time.

Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver (Amazon, Bookshop) — I’m a huge fan of Shriver’s work, and this new novel is a page-turner and very thought-provoking.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (Amazon, Bookshop) — More Virginia Woolf. I love this novel. Love, love, love. Time passes.

Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume (Amazon, Bookshop) — One of my favorite Judy Blume novels, and that’s saying a lot.

In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki (Amazon, Bookshop) — A compelling meditation on the power of shadows.

Selling Naked:A Revolutionary Approach to Launching Your Brand Online by Jesse Horwitz (Amazon, Bookshop) — A practical, readable argument about how to sell products online.

How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization by Mary Beard (Amazon, Bookshop) — An interesting discussion of art, history, the body. Great illustrations.

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel (Amazon, Bookshop) — Terrific graphic novel. I’ve read every book Bechdel has written. Her interview for my site is here.

Patterns in Nature by Philip Ball (Amazon, Bookshop) — An absolutely gorgeous book. Can anything be more beautiful than the patterns of nature? This book explains why those patterns form, and even better, includes dozens of full-color photographs.

Greenwitch (The Dark is Rising Sequence) by Susan Cooper (Amazon, Bookshop) — How many times have I re-read this book? I love the whole series.

Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950’s by Marijane Meaker (Amazon) — A very interesting picture of a time and a relationship.

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone (Amazon, Bookshop) — So many mysteries! A boy, his grandmother, an unexpected trip across the country, family secrets revealed…who can resist?

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Amazon, Bookshop) — Dragons, prophecy, hidden powers. I love McKinley’s work.

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green (Amazon, Bookshop) — I loved this collection of essays; so thought-provoking.



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