best books to read in may

The best books to read in May 2024

29 Apr 2024 | |By Annie Lewis

A bumper of bank holidays provides the perfect opportunity to get started on your bookshelf

While we’re still being teased with warm sunshine and blue skies, it’s safe to say that summer in London is yet to arrive. And with two long weekends ahead, we’re not the only ones getting slightly tetchy about the weather. However, if you’ve got time to kill before the sunshine arrives, or would like to rely on a hobby that isn’t affected by rain showers, we’d recommend turning to your bookshelf for inspiration. Delve into some of the most highly-anticipated literary releases this year and transport yourself into a courtroom with The Instruments of Darkness, the midst of a Victorian love affair in The Ministry of Time, and even a zombie apocalypse threatening to ruin Pride. Discover the best books to read this May below. 

The Instruments of Darkness by John Connolly

Long time fans of the Charlie Parker series have been eagerly awaiting its 21st instalment (yes, you read that right) and, on 7 May, author John Connolly will release it to the world. Set in the American state of Maine, protagonist Colleen Clark stands accused of the abduction and possible murder of her child. While it seems the whole country believes she’s guilty, her lawyer Moxie Castin – alongside the famous private investigator Charlie Parker – senses not all evidence has come to light. Perfect for crime junkies, this series invites readers to join Charlie Parker at any point so don’t feel you have to go back to the first book in order to enjoy the entire range.

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The Five Year Lie by Sarina Bowen

Another brilliant crime novel publishing on 7 May is The Five Year Lie, where protagonist Ariel is shocked to receive a text from the love of her life – who died five years ago. For fans of The Housemaid, It Ends With Us and The Last Thing He Told Me, and with a gripping romance at the centre of the story, this is a page-turning thriller that will have you guessing until the very end.

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The Z Word by Lindsay King-Miller

One of the most highly-anticipated queer books of the year, The Z Word is about seven gay friends in Arizona and their quest to save Pride – an event celebrating the LGBT community and self-acceptance, achievements, and legal rights – from a zombie apocalypse. As the group tries to track the zombie outbreak to its source, tensions rise as they attempt to fight not only the walking dead but also corporate greed and political corruption to bring their community together. 

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You Never Know: A Memoir by Tom Selleck

Best known for playing private investigator Thomas Magnum in the American television series Magnum, P.I. – and being Monica’s long-time boyfriend in Friends – actor Tom Selleck reflects on the highs and lows of his life and career as he verges on his 80th year in his recent memoir, publishing on 9 May. In You Never Know, he charts his path from college jock to screen megastar, while discussing friendships with Hollywood A-listers, such as Frank Sinatra and Carol Burnett, and his outlook on the media industry today. Tinged with wisdom and humour, this is a great memoir for Selleck fans to sink their teeth into.

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Shanghailanders by Juli Min

Also published on 9 May, Min’s Shanghailanders transports readers to the Chinese city in the year 2040 before slowly unravelling back to 2014. The plot focuses on the Yang family members as they tackle love, frustrations and secrets that bind them together. Showcasing a range of perspectives, from youngest daughter Kiko who is an aspiring actress, to the eldest Yumi who struggles to settle in at Harvard, readers can follow each family member throughout their life – and discover how lucky it is to have the benefit of hindsight. 

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The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

In the not-too-distant future, a disaffected civil servant is offered a lucrative job in a mysterious new government ministry gathering ‘expats’ from across history to test the limits of time-travel. Her role is to work as a ‘bridge’: living with, assisting and monitoring one expat named Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, he died on a doomed expedition to the Arctic centuries ago, so he’s a little disoriented to find himself alive. However, he soon adjusts – and during a long, sultry summer he and his ‘bridge’ develop not only a friendship, but something more. Creative and clever, this is one not to miss this May. 

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