Katie Forrest

Writing About Creativity, Special Needs Parenting, Time Management & Life Dispatches.

What I Read In May (2020)

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…

  1. 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!
  2. Blood & Treachery by J D Kirk – yep, this is the next one in the series
  3. The Last Bloody Scarecrow by J D Kirk – and this is the next one in the series
  4. 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
  5. Scrublands by Chris Hammer – an interesting mystery set in a scorched Australian town, very atmospheric
  6. 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
  7. 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!
  8. Like Brothers by Mark and Jay Duplass – another Brene Brown recommendation. This is the brothers’ memoir/biography and it was an enjoyable read.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Better Then Before by Gretchen Rubin – a non-fiction about the importance of habits in improving key areas of life
  15. 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!)

Stay safe,



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