My reading has definitely slowed down compared to last year. At the end of May, I’m now on 34 books for 2023, whereas this time last year I had already read 42 books.
Not a huge difference really, but I’m definitely behind. Although saying that, I’ve given myself the target of reading 50 books this year as I knew I wouldn’t be anywhere near the 100 mark, but I guess I’m still doing ok.
May was pretty on par with recent months but I’m hoping that the summer months allow me to read a little more, even though I’ve taken on some extra things outside of work and editing YouTube videos takes a lot of time.
Anyway, here are the ratings and reviews of the six books I read in May.
Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo
Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four and leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, he’s lived in Hackney since the sixties. A flamboyant, wise-cracking local character with a dapper taste in retro suits and a fondness for quoting Shakespeare, Barrington is a husband, father and grandfather – but he is also secretly homosexual, lovers with his great childhood friend, Morris. His deeply religious and disappointed wife, Carmel, thinks he sleeps with other women. When their marriage goes into meltdown, Barrington wants to divorce Carmel and live with Morris, but after a lifetime of fear and deception, will he manage to break away?
My rating: ★★★★★
I read Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo a few years ago and loved it, so when I saw another book by this author in the library I instantly picked it up. It definitely appeared to be one of her older books, but it was just as good as GWO. The main character Barrington is such a loveable character, but his eccentric daughters and wife make the story come to life, along with his soulmate Morris. A truly beautiful story that can make you both laugh and cry.
If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio
Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago. As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
My rating: ★★★★
I picked this book up in New York during my trip there in January this year, and finally got around to reading it this month. I didn’t know what to expect, but had picked it up based on its popularity on TikTok. The Shakespeare element made me quite skeptical as I had read The Understudy by David Nicholls which had a similar on-stage-production theme, which I didn’t love. However, although this book did have a lot of paragraphs and prose from the works of Shakespeare, it was definitely more about the characters of the university and the dynamics and personalities of each of them, trying to find out what happened to one of them. I really liked it, but didn’t love it enough to give five stars.
Spare by Prince Harry
It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow-and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling-and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is that story at last.
My rating: ★★★★
The book of the moment. I luckily found this in my local library and jumped at the chance to read it. I hate to admit that I am one of those people that loves the gossip columns (do you follow Deuxmois on Instagram?) and royal scandal, so I just had to know what was within the pages of this scandalous book. I will say it’s worth a read if you want to know more about the royal family and their dynamic (for lovers of The Crown especially), and I was shocked at some of the stories within the book. However, it was very much centred around Harry’s hate of the press and how much he misses his mum. That’s basically what you get from reading this book, but I would love to be a fly on the wall in the royal household when they (their servants) read the book (for them).
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results. But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Meet the unconventional, uncompromising Elizabeth Zott.
My rating: ★★★★★
Obsessed. That is the one word that comes to mind when reviewing this book. It’s unlike any romance or fiction book I’ve ever read and that’s why I think I loved it so much. I never saw myself reading a book about Chemistry and I’m sure you’re probably thinking you wouldn’t want to either, but believe me this is about so much more than chemistry. It’s funny, sassy, full of feminism and one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2023.
A Long Island Story by Rick Gekoski
It is 1953, a heat wave is sweeping across America and the Grossmans – Ben, Addie and their two children – are moving their lives from the political heart of Washington DC to suburban Long Island. With their future uncertain, life in Long Island starts to cause problems for Ben and Addie. Both begin to wonder if they were meant for more, whether their lives might look different than they planned, and whether their marriage – their family – is worth fighting for. A Long Island Story is a portrait of a couple in crisis, of a unique and fascinating period in US history and of a seemingly perfect family fighting their demons behind closed doors.
My rating: ★★
I wish I hadn’t seen the Goodreads score for this before I dived into this book as it was around the 2.5 stars rating mark. Meaning I wasn’t very optimistic from the outset. I had picked it up in my local library purely based on the name alone as I had been to Long Island and thought it might make me nostalgic for my time in New York. However, it was a short story that didn’t have any real depth to the characters. The kids weren’t likeable and neither were the main characters of the story either. Not one I would recommend, so will have to agree with Goodreads on this.
The Girls by Lisa Jewell
You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really? Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
My rating: ★★★★
Another library pick, I grabbed this because I had read a book by Lisa Jewell before that I really enjoyed and know she is a good thriller writer. And boy did she deliver. The book was quite dark from the outset, so you knew what to expect going into the rest of the book. I still had no idea who the culprit was towards the end of the book which is always a great sign of a thriller/mystery writer. I was hooked to the very end and couldn’t put it down for the last 100 pages.