What I Read This Month: August 2022

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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.

August 2022 Reading:

This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley (Amazon, Bookshop) — I like reading about the creative process — this comes from a renowned novelist.

The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald (Amazon, Bookshop) — This is a short, thought-provoking, mysterious novel.

Caldicott Place by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon) — I love Streatfeild’s work! A delightful children’s book.

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany (Amazon, Bookshop) — Interesting sci-fi about secret communication.

One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes (Amazon) — A compelling, quiet novel about the post-World War II era in Britain.

We Learn Nothing: Essays by Tim Kreider (Amazon, Bookshop) — I recently discovered the work of Tim Kreider; terrific essays.

How to End a Story by Helen Garner (Amazon, Bookshop) — A writer’s diary from the time when her marriage was ending.

Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist’s Journey Into Seeing in Three Dimensions by Susan R. Barry (Amazon, Bookshop) — An absolutely fascinating account of learning to see in 3D at the age of 48. I will never take three-dimensional sight for granted again.

Frida Kahlo: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series) (Amazon, Bookshop) — I love this book series, and this was an interesting quick look at Kahlo’s life and work.

Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson (Amazon, Bookshop) — Absolutely delightful, a light story where good is rewarded and bad is punished or improved. It reminded me of Streatfeild (see above). I plan to read more by Stevenson.

Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden (Amazon) — A classic children’s book set in the time of the Blitz; interesting characters.

The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe (Amazon, Bookshop) — Amazing structure and a compelling story.

A Wreath for the Enemy by Pamela Frankeu (Amazon) — How did I hear about this novel? I have no idea — loved it.

My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley (Amazon, Bookshop) — Guardian Best Books of 2021 preview, Observer Best Books of 2021 preview, Daily Mail Best Books of 2021 preview — a novel about a woman’s complicated relationship with her mother.

Maiden Voyage by Denton Welch (Amazon) — an author’s account of the year he was sixteen, before World War II: he ran away from boarding school, went back to school, then traveled to China with his father.

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