May was a great reading month.
Still largely in lockdown here in England, with some minor relaxations such as outdoor distanced gatherings of up to 6 people being allowed, and still avoiding the news and social media scroll, I got through a good amount of books.
Sometimes I consider whether I should read less books but more deeply, but when I look back over my list of books read, I can remember the majority of them.
I did decide in May to stop buying any new books for a while and to focus on reading the pretty vast collection of unread books I have. So far, as I write this, I’ve stuck to that with the exception of books I’d already pre-ordered. I decided not to cancel those but consider them as books already ‘owned’ – in part because as a writer, I know how good it is to see those pre-orders adding up, and how disappointing it is when some of them don’t go through on release day.
I also keep a list of films watched. I started that this year because of taking out an Odeon Limitless membership. I wanted to track whether I was getting value from that. Clearly, not during lockdown – although, in fairness to Odeon, they paused those memberships as soon as they closed back in March. But I did watch one film last month – Wildlife – and I have zero recollection of it. I literally can’t remember a single thing about it. What was it about? Who was in it? I have no clue.
So my reading is definitely making more of an impression on me!
Here’s the list of books read in May 2020…
- The Killing Code by J D Kirk – I’ve talked before about really enjoying these Scottish crime thrillers by an author I know. They’re excellently written. And they are also the only series where I have ever finished reading one book, and gone on to immediately read the next!
- Blood & Treachery by J D Kirk – yep, this is the next one in the series
- The Last Bloody Scarecrow by J D Kirk – and this is the next one in the series
- Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid – a black babysitter is accosted in a store for being out with the white child she looks after, which leads to all kinds of revelations and questions
- Scrublands by Chris Hammer – an interesting mystery set in a scorched Australian town, very atmospheric
- The Crime Writer’s Guide to Police Practice and Procedure by Michael O’Byrne – this is an excellent resource. I’m not writing during lockdown, but I’m working on craft by reading plenty and this book was really useful
- The Motion of the Body Through Space by Lionel Shriver – I love her books. This one is about a couple who are getting older (like all of us…). The woman, a decade-long runner. is injured and can no longer run. Her husband decides, at this point, to set himself an ambitious fitness goal!
- Like Brothers by Mark and Jay Duplass – another Brene Brown recommendation. This is the brothers’ memoir/biography and it was an enjoyable read.
- Robin by Dave Itzkoff – a Robin Williams biography, this was one of my ‘secret wardrobe’ books. I have a huge collection of unread books in the bottom of my wardrobe – three piles of them. This book was bought for me by my niece several years ago and I have been really keen to read it ever since – except it’s a pretty huge book, so I kept putting it off. I am SO pleased I’ve read it. It was a really fascinating read.
- Writing to Market by The Writing Gals – another writing resource book that I’m pleased I invested some time in reading. It’s a quick read.
- Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy J Cohen – yep, I’m clearly researching genres at the moment, between this read and the crime procedure book.
- Why Do I Love These People by Po Bronson – another of my favourite authors, and a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time. This was a really interesting collection of true life stories around family differences, disputes, resolutions or the decision to cut ties.
- Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld – and Sittenfeld may be my all time favourite author. Her book, Prep, is in my top 3 favourite books of all time. This was a title I’d pre-ordered before my book buying ban, and it’s a fictional consideration of a world where Hillary Rodham didn’t marry Bill Clinton. It was a fascinating read, written like a biography, except of course its fiction. Donald Trump’s guest appearances, where he of course sounds exactly like the horror show that is the real Donald Trump, was a particular highlight.
- Better Then Before by Gretchen Rubin – a non-fiction about the importance of habits in improving key areas of life
- Productivity for Authors by Joanna Penn – a quick read
And that was May.
This month, so far, is a much slower reading month. The pace of work has got quite overwhelming in the last couple of weeks, something I need to try and address (not just so I get more reading time/energy!)