What I Read This Month: September 2022

Stack of Books

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.

September 2022 Reading:

Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir by Brian Broome (Amazon, Bookshop) — Winner of the Kirkus Prize, Winner of a Lambda Literary Award, Named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Review, Library Journal, Amazon, and Apple Books — an unforgettable, compelling, candid memoir of growing up. I picked up a copy in a bookstore, started reading the first page, and just had to buy it.

Mrs. Tim Christie by Dorothy E. Stevenson (Amazon) — An engaging picture of a world that has disappeared. Apparently, it was based very much on her own journals, which makes it even funnier.

The Fortnight in September by R. C. Sherriff (Amazon, Bookshop) — A quiet, thoughtful, beautiful book about two weeks in the life of a loving family of five, as they go on their annual holiday to the seaside.

Yield: The Journal of an Artist by Anne Truitt (Amazon, Bookshop) — I love the writing of artist Anne Truitt, and was so excited to learn that her final journal had been published.

The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West (Amazon, Bookshop) — Who knew Rebecca West had written (short) fiction? In its plot, it reminded me of Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot (Amazon, Bookshop) An interesting, restrained study of character.

Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions by Temple Grandin (Amazon, Bookshop) — On an upcoming episode, Elizabeth and I will interview Temple Grandin for the Happierpodcast — this book was a fascinating look at how people think differently.

Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life by Jonathan Van Ness (Amazon, Bookshop) — I’m a big fan of Jonathan Van Ness’s energetic style and his ability to strike a light, funny tone while engaging with difficult subjects with great insight.

Oh William! By Elizabeth Strout (Amazon, Bookshop) — Booker Prize finalist; NPR’s One of Ten Best Books of the Year; New York Times bestseller — I read this novel in practically one sitting. I truly couldn’t put it down. It started me on an Elizabeth Strout kick; her work is so, so good.

Listening Valley by Dorothy E. Stevenson (Amazon, Bookshop) — A sweet, old-fashioned novel. On a Stevenson kick (see above).

A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome by Ariel Henley (Amazon, Bookshop) — A Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book for Teens — a compelling memoir about finding identity while growing up with a rare condition, constant operations, physical pain, a twin sister, and more.

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout (Amazon, Bookshop) — Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, New York Times Book Review, NPR, and more, #1 New York Times bestseller — See above, more Strout! This was a re-read — after reading Oh, William!, I wanted to remind myself of this novel. Next: Lucy by the Sea (Amazon, Bookshop).

The Feast by Margaret Kennedy (Amazon) — an engaging, delightful book that’s a bit of a puzzle, in the best way. I checked out this novel from the library, then bought my own copy, because I wanted to own it for myself.

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