Book Recommendations: What I read in May

Monday, 15 June 2020

book with pressed flowers on pages

I realise I'm a little bit late with my update of the books that I read in May. Considering we're nearly halfway through June already, I'm not upholding the best track record! In light of recent events in America and the Black Lives Matter movement gaining momentum across the world, I haven't felt like it's been my place to make content for the past few weeks and have spent my time trying to learn and amplify other voices. Racism isn't a new issue by any means, but finally it seems that people are willing to change and listen. There are a lot of ways to help beyond listening, and I urge you to have a look at some of the ways that you can lend your time or donate on this carrd.

Like many others, I am now starting to work on my own content again, but it's imperative that we all continue to read, listen and learn so that change can finally be made.

The books that I've read in May are all fictional, but I've set myself the challenge in June of reading some more non-fiction by Black authors to continue educating myself.


In May I read six books and it was a really good reading month for me! I read a great mix of interesting stories and rated more 5*'s on my Goodreads than I usually do in a month. I made a conscious effort last month to spend less time on my phone, and more time working through the list of books on my TBR, and it felt like a positive change. So here's some quick reviews of everything I read.

In Five Years - Rebecca Serle (★★★★★)

I started last month wanting to read something happy and light. Apparently I missed the memo on In Five Years because this? Was NOT that. It was devastating. I mean, this may have been the most I've ever cried at a book (which we can half attribute to hormones, but mostly attribute to Rebecca Serle's gorgeously heartbreaking depiction of loss). The book tells the story of Dannie, a New York Lawyer with the perfect life, who wakes up one day, five years into her future, living a completely different life to the one she'd just left behind. Returning to her own life just an hour later, she's left to question everything about how she could possibly end up there. I loved this book. It destroyed me. But I loved it.

The Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides (★★★★)

The Silent Patient is the story of Alicia Berenson, a woman who lived the perfect life with her husband, before one day, she shoots him five times in the face. Dramatic, I know. Since that day, Alicia has never spoken again. The book follows the relationship between Alicia and her psychotherapist, Theo, as he endeavours to find out Alicia's motives and give her back her voice. To be honest, this was one of those thrillers which I gave a four star rating to purely for its gritty ending. The rest of the book feels more like a two star read, but I'd recommend reading it for the final conclusion. Just know that it's a slow burner.

Half a World Away - Mike Gayle (★★★★ ★)

Another five star this month! And another book which broke my heart. I've heard great things about Mike Gayle books, but this is the first of his I've ever read. It follows the lives of Noah and Kerry, two siblings who lose contact at a young age after Noah is adopted. Half a World Away sees Noah and Kerry reconnecting in adulthood and explores how they begin to welcome each other into their very different lives. This book is really lovely. I feel like it's so rare to read a story about the positive relationship between a brother and sister, and I loved the dynamics between the characters.

This Lovely City - Louise Hare (★★★ ★)

I know they say don't judge a book by it's cover, but that really is what first attracted me to This Lovely City. I'm glad I was drawn in though, because I think this is an important story and it's one which I've thought about a lot since I finished reading the book. It's the story of Lawrie, a young Jamaican immigrant living in postwar London. When a baby is found dead in a pond in the city, the racist undertones of the police and residents in London become apparent, with Lawrie and his friends becoming the centre of the investigation. This book is such a great depiction of London in the 1950s. It covers love and friendship amongst prejudice, and I think it's an important story to read.

Such a Fun Age - Kiley Reid (★★★)

Whilst babysitting the daughter of white blogger, Alix, Emira is stopped at her local supermarket and accused by security of kidnapping the child. It becomes clear that Emira has been stopped based on the colour of her skin, and the book follows the events which play out after this accusation. Such a Fun Age depicts Emira's story as she tries to figure out who she is and how to navigate her life. I liked this book and I thought the message was important, but honestly I hated so many of the characters and I found it hard to get past that. The only person who really had a place in my heart was Emira, but I think it's worth reading the story just for her narrative.

The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah (★★★★ ★)

My favourite book of the month, and maybe one of my favourites of the year too, The Nightingale was just the most incredible book. I really can't stop recommending this one to people - I've got my Mum reading it at the moment! The Nightingale follows the lives of the French women left behind when their husbands went to war in 1939. It tells the story of how two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, worked in both small and large ways to rebel against the Nazi's and join the revolution. I loved this book so much. It felt like it had everything, and I adored the strength of the main characters. A sad read, but a special one.

Looking for more book recommendations? Here's my reviews of everything I read in April.

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