Books I Read in May 2020

by The Violet Journal
books I read in may

My posts may contain affiliate links, meaning if you buy something through one of these links, I'll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.

This is the first post in a new series in which I review all the books I read each month.

May 2020 will always be the month I started to take reading seriously. I’ve always loved reading and I would pick up a new book every now and again, but this month I took reading from a hobby to a habit. At the beginning of May I treated myself to an Amazon Kindle, which has transformed my reading habits and I’ve been reading non stop ever since.

I read six great books in May: three fiction and three nonfiction. I loved writing these reviews for you, so let me know in the comments if you enjoy this post or if I’ve inspired you to pick up one of these books for yourself!

 

Nonfiction

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor – Adam Kay (5 Stars)

This book has sold over a million copies, and for good reason. This book was brilliant.

This is Going to Hurt is a collection of anecdotes from Adam Kay’s six year run as a junior doctor working for the NHS. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cringe, and some will make you cry. But they’re all an insight into the brutal working conditions our NHS doctors work under, and the lengths to which they will go for us.

This book is a must read for anyone, particularly if you live in the UK. It’s a short book which I finished in under 24 hours, and if you don’t find it entertaining, you’ll at least find it insightful.

Just one thing – do not read this book if you’re pregnant.

Check out This is Going to Hurt on Amazon for more details and reviews.

 

 

Anything You Want – Derek Sivers (4 Stars)

Anything You Want tells the story of how Derek Sivers grew his small business into the world’s largest online distributer of independent music. Sivers talks us through the whole journey, from the original concept to his decision to sell the business and give the majority of the proceeds to charity.

This book is aimed towards aspiring business owners, but it’s full of general life advice that I think anyone would benefit from. Sivers’ “HELL YEAH!” or “no” motto, for instance, is advice I use in every aspect of my life.

It’s a very short book – in fact it took Sivers just 10 days to write – but it’s sweet. I appreciate its length – Sivers says exactly what he sets out to say, and nothing more. This book is succinct, helpful, and a great read for anyone.

If you don’t want to spend money on the book, then Sivers has published all its content on his website: sivers.org. I love reading from his point of view – he’s a kind and intelligent man who I think most people could learn from.

Check out Anything You Want on Amazon for more details and reviews.

 

The Spy and the Traitor – Ben Macintyre (5 Stars)

As a historical biography, this book is under nonfiction. The Spy and the Traitor tells the true story of KGB double agent Oleg Gordievsky, and his intricate escape from Soviet Russia.

But this book reads more like a thriller than a documentary. It was tense, fast paced, and I was obsessed with finding out what happens next. And knowing it all happened in real life made it even more exciting.

It was very accessible, and a fantastic introduction to espionage in The Cold War. I found it easy enough to read despite my limited knowledge of The Cold War, and I discovered an interest in history I never knew I had.

Everyone should read this book. Whether you’re interested in history or not, you’ll love it.

Check out The Spy and the Traitor on Amazon for more details and reviews.

 

Fiction

Normal People – Sally Rooney (4 Stars)

I picked up Normal People because I wanted to read it before I watched the recent TV adaption (which was incredible and I cried the whole way through). But I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the book since I’d read some very mixed reviews.

Normal People explores the relationship between two characters, Marianne and Connell, as they go from school to university. Both characters struggle with their mental health and experience a love for each other that’s complicated and intense and however hard they try, just not “normal”.

So did I enjoy this book?

Well, yes.

I loved reading it and I quickly fell in love with the two main characters, but I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the book had I not related so greatly to Marianne’s character.

It felt as though Rooney could have been writing about me. Marianne’s character went through similar experiences to me, and reacted to them in a way I could see myself doing. Her relationships with the various men in her life – particularly Connell – hit close to home because they reminded me of my own.

I connected with Marianne and her love for Connell in a way that I haven’t with many other books. The writing didn’t do much for me, and I would imagine that if I wasn’t so similar in character to Marianne, then this novel would have fallen flat.

If you’re thinking about reading Normal People, go for it. If you haven’t watched it yet I’d recommend reading it first – the TV series is fantastic on its own, but the two complement each other wonderfully and I’m glad I read it before I watched it.

Check out Normal People on Amazon for more details and reviews.

 

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie (4 Stars)

This was my first ever Agatha Christie, so I thought I’d start with none other than the best selling mystery novel of all time.

And I loved it.

If you don’t know the story, And Then There Were None sees ten characters with dark secrets move to a mysterious, secluded island, where one by one they’re all killed. Nobody knows who the culprit is, and in time we watch the characters descent into terror and paranoia.

It’s essentially a big game of Werewolf – and it’s great.

I found it slightly confusing at times, especially towards the beginning. In the first chapter we’re introduced to all ten characters in quick succession and it took me a few chapters to work out who everyone was. But once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down.

Check out And Then There Were None on Amazon for more details and reviews.

 

Blood Orange – Harriet Tyce (5 Stars)

I nearly rated Blood Orange 4 stars because I found the ending ridiculous, but then I realised it didn’t take away from how much I loved this book.

Our protagonist, Alison, is an alcoholic, workaholic lawyer who often prioritises her career and secret affair over her husband and daughter at home. As expected, things go pretty wrong for her.

Blood Orange is a very typical thriller – nothing particularly shocked me, but I loved it nonetheless. It was fast paced, suspenseful, and I was hooked from the very first page.

I’ve seen people criticise this book over the fact there wasn’t a single likeable character in the book – which is true. All the characters are annoying, selfish, and often just terrible people. But that’s also part of what made this book for me. We see conflict between all the characters, but we can’t pick a side because there isn’t a right side.

All in all this was a fantastic novel. Harriet Tyce is a skilled writer and I’m excited to read more of her work.

Check out Blood Orange on Amazon for more details and reviews.

 

I hope you enjoyed the first ever instalment to this new series, and I’m excited to write more of these every month.

The links in this post are affiliate links, but all opinions are my own. So if you do decide to read one of these books and you buy it using my link, I’ll get a small commission – which would be great!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these books, or if you decide to pick one up. Please consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter if you enjoyed this post and want to keep up to date with what’s new on the blog.

books I read in may

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22 comments

Chloe June 14, 2020 - 5:04 pm

There are some great books here! I’d really like to read an Agatha Christie book in the future as I have yet to pick up any of her stories but I love watching Poirot on TV. The Spy and the Traitor sounds really good too. I’m going to add these to my reading list!

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The Violet Journal June 14, 2020 - 5:13 pm

I can’t believe it took me so long to pick up an Agatha Christie but I loved it!

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Josie D. June 16, 2020 - 7:22 pm

Wow only ten days to write a book? It takes me a while to write just one blog post let alone a book haha. But I will definitely have to check out anything you want. That sounds like a good read for small business owners like myself. Thanks for sharing!

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The Violet Journal June 16, 2020 - 7:42 pm

Right?! It’s a really short read but it feels complete – there’s nothing I would have added to it.

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Anika June 16, 2020 - 7:31 pm

Normal People is one of my favourites, I loved the show too! I’ve seen This is Going to Hurt a few times before but never looked into it. Looks like a great one to pick up, especially as I’m in the UK too 🙂

Anika | chaptersofmay.com

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Jenny in Neverland June 17, 2020 - 12:05 pm

I loved This Is Going to Hurt! I can’t waittttt for the series they’re making of it with Ben Whitshaw! Although that’s a very good point about not reading it if you’re pregnant.

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The Violet Journal June 17, 2020 - 1:11 pm

I had no idea it was being turned into a series! That’s so exciting – thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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Lauren June 18, 2020 - 4:29 pm

I read This Is Going To Hurt last year and really enjoyed. I’ll have to check some of these others out.

Lauren | https://www.laurenyloves.co.uk/

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Maddie June 18, 2020 - 4:33 pm

This is such a great list of books! I’ve read Normal People and This Is Going To Hurt, and Blood Orange is next on my list. I’ll definitely check out the other two as well – they sound great! Thanks for sharing ☺️

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The Violet Journal June 18, 2020 - 5:19 pm

I bought Blood Orange on a whim and I wasn’t expecting to like it so much! I just really love Harriet Tyce’s writing style 😊

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Alice Myles June 18, 2020 - 4:50 pm

I’m currently reading this is going to hurt (kinda late to the party) and I’m loving it so far!!

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The Violet Journal June 18, 2020 - 5:13 pm

Right?! I had been hearing about it everywhere but only just decided to pick it up when I saw it on offer – wish I read it earlier!

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Katie (The Twenty Percent) June 18, 2020 - 5:37 pm

I read This Is Going To Hurt about a year ago and laughed or cried the whole way though. Such a great book! I want to read Normal People too 🙂

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The Violet Journal June 18, 2020 - 6:42 pm

This Is Going To Hurt was a rollercoaster of emotions that I wasn’t prepared for!

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lifestyleseason June 18, 2020 - 6:19 pm

Great post! I’m definitely going to check some of these books out as they seem very good!

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Kathryn June 18, 2020 - 7:02 pm

This is a great post and a great topic for writing a series on. I like the sound of This Is Going To Hurt And Blood Orange. Thank you for the recommendations.

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The Violet Journal June 18, 2020 - 7:08 pm

Thanks – I’m so excited for this series! I love writing these little reviews 😊

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Sophie June 18, 2020 - 10:23 pm

I haven’t read any of these but a couple are on my TBR, I’ve heard so many amazing things about This Is Going To Hurt. The Spy and The Traitor sounds like something I’d love too. Totally agree about kindles/ ebooks making it soooo much easier to read more too. I don’t know why but I’m way more inclined to finish an ebook faster x

Sophie

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The Violet Journal June 19, 2020 - 6:12 am

Tye Spy and the Traitor is so good! It was my first Ben Macintyre book but definitely not my last.

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Vinn June 20, 2020 - 9:40 am

Thanks for the reviews! I would love to read the spy and the traitor and Agatha Christie’s book: and there was none.

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The Violet Journal June 20, 2020 - 11:15 am

Good choices – these two were so good!

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Claire June 24, 2020 - 8:33 am

I think I want to read 4 out of the 6 immediately! I keep eyeing up the junior Doctor and blood orange one every time I’m in Tesco.

Thank you for the recommendations x

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