Books I Read May 2020

by - Friday, June 05, 2020

At one point in May, I had 14 different browser tabs open with lists of book recommendations for quarantine. I maxed out on the number of books I could put on hold from two different libraries, and I also hit the max on the number of upcoming books I could recommend the library buy copies of when they are released later this summer.

We all knew I loved to read, but quarantine has thrown my book love into overdrive.

Here are the 13 books I read in May.

Books May 2020

Five Stars

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
I knew the basic premise of this book and that it was told from the perspective of two sisters in Ghana -- one married off to a white man and one sold as a slave and shipped to America. But I didn't realize that the threads of this book follow the generations of ancestors of these two sisters on family line dealing with wars and the growing slave trade in Ghana, one dealing with the impacts of slavery in America. This book was beautifully written, and I can't wait to talk about it in book club later this month.

Four Stars

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
Another great suspense book by Karin Slaughter. This one jumps you back and forth in time between a cult hell bent on creating mass destruction in the world and a present day woman on the run after a local teenager shoots up a diner. The story lines eventually merge together as the woman on the run begins to uncover secrets from her family's past.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
I was pulled into this book from the minute our protagonist turns down a cringe-worthy proposal at a baseball game in chapter 1, followed pretty much immediately by a meet-cute moment with the guy from a few rows behind her. Fun, fast read.

In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins
This was from one of my "books to read during quarantine lists" and oh my gosh it was the most heart-warming story of two people finding love in a small town on the Finger Lakes. I was pulled in right away and hours flew by while I got completely sucked into the world in the book. I'm looking forward to reading others in the series.

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
In the past when I've read books by comedians, they've tended to focus more on the humor than on the deep stuff. While Trevor Noah's book had plenty of deep stuff, he still managed to mix in some humor throughout as he told the stories about growing up in South Africa. I found a few of the essays a little bit slower than others, hence the 4 stars, and I wish there had been a bit about what it was like when he eventually moved to the U.S., but perhaps that will come in a second book.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
This was the audio book I didn't know I needed. Kendrick e narrates her own book you get to hear her telling you all about her life experiences in her own voice. I laughed a lot while listening to this book, especially when she talked about her time in the Twilight movies and while being on set with Zac Efron. I also typically listen to audio books on 2x speed or else they are so slow, but Kendrick naturally talks pretty fast, so I had to drop down to 1.5x speed to listen to this book.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
I was keenly looking forward to the release of Jennifer Weiner's newest book, especially after watching a virtual author talk with her during quarantine. This book reminded me why I fell in love with Weiner's books years ago. The story features a plus-sized Instagram influencer that is invited to be a bridesmaid in a high school frenemy's wedding. There's a plot-twist half way through that plunges you into a juicy mystery. So good, perfect for summer.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
What would Hilary's life look like if she hadn't married Bill? That's the entire premise of this book, and Curtis Sittenfeld weaves a fun, and hopeful, story.

Three Stars

The Herd by Andrea Bartz
A young entrepreneur creates a women's only We Work. There's a waitlist a mile long to become a member and anti-feminist groups constantly threaten the company's founder. When she goes missing before the announcement of a major business merger, the hunt is on to figure out what could have happened to her.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
I listened to this book as an audio book and I thought it started strong, sagged a bit in the middle, before picking up again for a strong finish. Usually with suspense audio books, I'm forcing myself to go on walks so that I can finish the book, but I didn't so much find that with this one. I managed to finish it just before it was due at the library.

Followers by Megan Angelo
A lot of people in my book club really talked up this book, so I was thrilled to finally get it off the waitlist at the library. The story is told in two time periods, the modern day and 30 years in the future. It looks at what happens in modern times when people overshare and seek fame on the Internet and how the world we are living in now isn't sustainable. Instead 30 years in the future we're presented with a very different reality, where everyone has devices planted inside them, no one thinks for themselves and the government controls the Internet. I enjoyed the book overall, but thought parts of it were incredibly slow.

Two Stars

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
I was disappointed by how slow this book moved. The underlying story line was really interesting and it examined a lot of issues around black identity and white people appropriating that identity. But there were just too many unnecessary words that slowed down the plot, and I think distracted from the larger points the author was trying to make.

Frankissstein: A Love Story by Jeanette Winterson
This book was incredibly weird, but it was one of those reads that made me go "huh, well look at that parallel she just drew." The story reimagines Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the timeline jumps back and forth between Shelley's time writing the book and years into the future where robots basically rule the world. I likely would have given the book three starts, but I found parts of the plot dragged a bit and by the end, I was sort of pushing myself to finish so I could move onto something else.

You May Also Like