Books I Read in May 2020

Books I Read in May 2020

Books I Read in May 2020

It’s time for my next monthly reading wrap-up. These are the books I read in May 2020. It was quite a good reading month. Lockdown has proven very beneficial to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, one positive at least.

Books I Read in May 2020

I managed to read 13 books last month. Here’s what I read in May.

Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling

My re-read continued into May and I read the latter books of the Harry Potter series. I do enjoy this book but I still don’t agree that this is her best, Harry is too grumpy throughout. But then he is an angsty teenager.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I hated this book. I’m sorry, I just did not enjoy it. Purely out of an understanding that the prose, in places, is gorgeous, I gave it two stars. But I did not like the characters, enjoy the story or think the writing – bar those few pretty-prose moments was good. So over-written!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

From a book I hated to a book I loved! Thank you Sian Heap for recommending that our Books Before Boys Book Club read this book this month. So much fun, and an incredibly addictive read. One of my favourites of the year

Scenes of a Graphic Nature by Caroline O’Donoghue

wanted to love this book, as I really enjoyed Caroline’s debut novel Promising Young Woman, but I’m afraid I didn’t. It’s set primarily on a little Irish island and tells the mysterious story of a school-house accident that left all but one child dead – the one child being the protagonist’s now-dying father. The characters are a bit pretentious and unlikable and the story is a little too plotless for me. But it won’t stop me from reading Caroline’s next work, as I still enjoy her as a writer.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Lastly, the final book in the Harry Potter series. Always a bittersweet read but always worth it. The Battle of Hogwarts is so strong and emotional. Plus, riding the dragon out of Gringotts is awesome!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

I’ve never actually read the Tales of Beedle the Bard, for reasons unknown. But recently Audible released a stellar cast remake and I got that for free with my membership. I would highly recommend it. While Jude Law does a terrible Irish accent during his role as Dumbledore the stories, read by Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs and Noma Dumezweni are great.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

I did it! I’ve finally read every completed Jane Austen novel, by the age of 24. I’m quite proud of myself. And yes, Pride & Prejudice was the last book of her’s I read. I started with Sense and Sensibility at 15, then I read Mansfield Park while I was at school. I think I read Northanger Abbey and Emma while I was at university and Persuasion last year. And finally, during the lockdown, I read Pride & Prejudice and I can see what people mean… it is one of her best.

Top three: Emma, Pride & Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. I might do a re-read of the latter soon!

Hollywood’s Eve by Lili Anolik

This was a random read, but still not a bad one. I had never heard of Eve Babitz but was intrigued by the blurb of the book – which I read as an audiobook on BookBeat. She was a Hollywood starlet just because of who she was born to, and who she knew growing up. She gave zero fucks and seduced a ton of well-known men including Harrison Ford, Jim Morrison and many others. Later she was an album, artist, collagist, a writer but she never really saw professional success until 2017 – when she was in her 70s – when one of her books was re-published and became a bestseller. A very interesting look at the unknown yet notorious woman.

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

A lot of my favourite authors have been raving about this book and offering author endorsements. As such, when I saw it on NetGalley immediately requested it and was delighted to receive a copy. It was very good, but I was surprised to find that it was a suspenseful domestic women’s fiction novel.

Almost a thriller. It’s very much a mix of genres, and it took me about 30% of reading to get used to this, as my expectations had been something else. The story is strong and very convincing, as well as cleverly written – if at times confusing due to the protagonist’s memories, thoughts and present-day descriptions mixing together without clear separation. Still, well worth a read this summer.

Wine Girl by Victoria James

I love Sweebitter by Stephanie Danler and this book was recommended to me as the non-fiction version of that. Following the life of Victoria James, the youngest sommelier in America who became an award-winner at the age of 21 and now serves wine to the world-famous. A really interesting look into the hard, patriarchal world of wine, even for a reader who is not a wine-lover.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I’m another classic down this month! I had never fully read Frankenstein, merely excerpts of it for GCSE. Also, if you think you know the story of Frankenstein but have never read the book – you don’t know the story. Adaptations have taken so much poetic license for this story. The story itself is much more about morality, human nature and revenge.

Inside Out by Demi Moore

Ghostwritten by Ariel Levy I was expecting good things from this book, but sadly it was all a bit woe is me. I listened to the audiobook, in which Demi narrates herself, but I really struggled with connecting to her as a person. It seemingly was the easiest thing in the world for her to become a world-renowned actress, and she skipped over most of the dud movies she made in favour of bashing her ex-husband Ashton Kutcher – who probably deserved it. But still, I’ve read better autobiographies than this and I don’t think I’ll be watching a Demi Moore movie for a while.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

And finally, on the last day of May, I read Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’ve been meaning to read a book by Elizabeth Gaskell for years, and I tried Cranford a few years ago but it didn’t connect. I don’t know what has changed but I loved it. It’s so funny, and really reminiscent for me – as I loved the 2007 mini-series – and it was just a lovely lockdown read. There are actually two more Cranford stories I’ve yet to read – Mr Harrison and Lady Ludlow – but I’ll get to those soon.

What books did you read in May 2020? Let me know in the comments below.

Love Ellie x

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Books I Read in May

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