What I Read This Month: July 2022

Stack of July 2022 Book picks

For six 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 postYou 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. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of episodes of Backlisted, a books podcast that I love, and many of the suggestions this month were inspired by the hosts’ conversations.

July 2022 Reading:

Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson (Amazon, Bookshop)—a thought-provoking memoir with an unusual structure.

Beyond the Vicarage by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—More Streatfeild! The third volume in her three-volume third-person memoir.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, edited by Alice Wong (Amazon, Bookshop)—A collection of excellent essays from different authors about their experiences of living with disabilities.

A World for Me and You by Uju Asika (Book Depository)—A lovely picture book about appreciating the beauty and joy of living in a diverse world. (If you want to read my interview with Uju Asika, it’s here.)

Say the Right Thing: How to Talk about Identity, Diversity, and Justice by Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow (Amazon)—A very practical, thoughtful consideration of how to have conversations with greater compassion and understanding (in galley).

Drive Your Plow: Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel by Olga Tokarczuk (Amazon, Bookshop)—Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature—A fascinating, surprising novel.

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E. L. Konigsburg (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love the work of E. L. Konigsburg, and when I did an event with the people making a musical of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Amazon, Bookshop), I met Konigsburg’s three children; when her son said this novel was his favorite, I realized that somehow I’d never read it. This is Not a Novel and Other Novels by David Markson (Amazon, Bookshop)—experimental, interesting, not like anything I’ve ever read before. I want to read more of his work. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Amazon, Bookshop)—mystery, magic, competition, champions, hidden identities, and a delightful hotel…so many elements I find irresistible.

Good Company: A Novel by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeny (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times Bestseller, A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick—I really enjoyed The Nest so wanted to read this excellent novel about marriage, family, love, theater, and what matters over time.

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (Amazon, Bookshop)—a classic work of fantasy, with kingdoms, powers, conflict, strong characters, and a well-realized world

Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy (Amazon, Bookshop)—a terrific old-fashioned novel, and I mean that as high praise.

The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series) by Nora Ephron (Amazon)—I’m reading through a lot of these short “Last Interview” collections; they’re wonderful.

The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series) by Toni Morrison (Amazon)—ditto.

The Children’s Bach by Helen Garner (Amazon, Bookshop)—a short, intense novel about the collision of characters.

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner (Amazon, Bookshop)—More Helen Garner—a terrific collection of her non-fiction.

Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life by Delia Ephron (Amazon, Bookshop)—A “Best Memoir of 2022” by Marie Claire, A “Best Memoir of April” by Vanity Fair—I love the writing of Delia Ephron (also Nora Ephron, see above), and this is a wonderful memoir of losing her husband, finding new love, and dealing with a health crisis.

I Wrote This Book Because I Love You by Tim Kreider (Amazon, Bookshop)—A People Top 10 Book of 2018—terrific essays; I just bought another collection by Tim Kreider.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, 1) by Becky Chambers (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love the work of Becky Chambers! Plus I love a pantheon of gods.

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe (Amazon, Bookshop)—A magical world set in Appalachia. It reminded me a bit of the work of Nina Kiriki Hoffman, which I love.

The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings by Geoff Dyer (Amazon, Bookshop)—A meditation on endings in Geoff Dyer’s inimitable voice.



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