What I Read This Month: October 2022

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 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.

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.

October 2022 Reading:

The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay (Amazon, Bookshop)—A Boston Globe Best Book of 2018, a Horn Book Best Book of 2018—a great children’s novel about wartime Britain.

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach (Amazon, Bookshop)—How I love the work of Mary Roach! Hilarious, interesting, educational.

The Golden Enclaves: A Novel (The Scholomance) by Naomi Novik (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestselling trilogy—I read this book the day it came out, because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next in this trilogy. I’m a big fan of Novik’s work; how I love His Majesty’s Dragon (a great portrait of a Questioner and an Upholder, by the way).

Best Thought, Worst Thought: On Art, Sex, Work and Death by Don Paterson (Amazon, Bookshop)—I do love an aphorism.

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Amazon, Bookshop)—Stephen King! I raced through this novel.

Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life by Abigail Thomas (Amazon, Bookshop)—a memoir presented in a very interesting structure of short essays.

The Kingdom of Sand by Andrew Holleran (Amazon, Bookshop)—a brilliant, beautiful, mournful novel about the end of a life.

The Chosen: A Novel by Chaim Potok (Amazon, Bookshop)—a New York Times bestseller—the story of the friendship between two teenage boys and how they choose to forge their paths; an interesting portrayal of American Orthodox Jewish life around World War II.

My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary (Amazon, Bookshop)—a New York Times Notable Book—a charming memoir of Cleary’s hardscrabble young-adult years and how she started telling her stories of Henry Huggins and Ramona.

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything by Barbara Ehrenreich (Amazon, Bookshop)—a provocative spiritual memoir.

An Outsider’s Guide to Humans: What Science Taught Me About What We Do and Who We Are by Camilla Pang, PhD (Amazon, Bookshop)—a fascinating fresh way of looking at human behavior through scientific processes.

The Treasure is the Rose by Julia Cunningham (Amazon)—When I was walking through the Tudor exhibit at the Met, I was suddenly reminded of this beautiful little novel that I’d read so many times as a child. I couldn’t wait to re-read it, and I was astonished by how perfectly I could recall many sentences and passages.

The Town House by Norah Lofts (Amazon, Bookshop)—I loved this novel—historical fiction that traces the history of a family over three generations in the fourteenth century. I do love a gripping story, and this is terrific. (I just learned that this novel is the first in a trilogy, so can’t wait to read more.)

The Maude Reed Tale by Norah Lofts (Amazon)—as I was reading the final chapter of The Town House, titled “Maude Reede’s Tale,” I thought…haven’t I heard this before? I looked on my shelf of children’s literature, and sure enough, I have this novel by Norah Lofts about Maude Reede. The two stories aren’t exactly the same, so I re-read this children’s novel as well.

Life’s Work: A Memoir by David Milch (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love a spiritual memoir, and I love a creative memoir, and this book is both. Now I want to watch NYPD Blue and Deadwood.

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