Natasha Bernal



April 2015

1000 before 30 #11: North and South – by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Two worlds collide as a  factory owner and a vicar's daughter go head-to-head in North and South. Austen walked a fine line with difficult characters within Pride and Predjudice. Gaskell flattens that line with the force of a steamrolling engine.... Continue Reading →


1000 before 30 #10 The three musketeers – by Alexandre Dumas

The chilled out attitude that the musketeers have towards duels is a dangerous message to send to youths everywhere. Duels are cool, kids. That's what d'Artagnan and his fellows spend their days doing, when not daring each other to do stupid... Continue Reading →

1000 books before 30 #9 My own story – by Emmeline Pankhurst

If anyone is wavering on whether to vote in the coming election, make them read this book. The year is 1917. World War I is raging, and women have put down their banners to help the common cause. Emmeline Pankhurst's account... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #8: Uncle Tom’s Cabin – by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The story, which follows kind-hearted Christian slave Uncle Tom, is a tale of disaster - and slave owners promising freedom and next thing you know, they are unexpectedly dead. Is that related? Apparently so. Uncle Tom, who lived on a... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #7: The Circle – by Dave Eggers

'The Circle' by Dave Eggars, portrayed as a satyrical commentary on the early internet age, fails systematically to hit any of the right notes with predictable and lacklustre plot-twists. Look, I'm not meaning to say that The Circle wasn't an... Continue Reading →

The Nether – review

The Nether tries to answer a simple question - should people be able to enact their deepest, darkest desires online if this means they don't do it in real life? This incredibly intelligent script focuses on victorian virtual reality 'The... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #6: Insurgent – by Veronica Roth

The second part of this fantasy/Sci-Fi trilogy is a bittersweet read. Although Ross tries to engage with her distinctive narrative and action sequences, it's hard to gain back the ground lost with the death of many of her secondary characters,... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #5: Slaughterhouse 5 – by Kurt Vonnegut

Another cracking classic, this time from the sci-fi master himself. Scrawny soldier Billy is an unlikely target for alien species Tralfamadore, who pluck him out of World War II and decide to take him back to their planet to put... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #4: Divergent – by Veronica Roth

I know, I indulged. Sue me. For today's literary review, I jumped in this year's best example of popcorn literature. It's an uncomplicated, adventure/love Sci-Fi story, with an initially awkward and weak female lead who finds her feet and starts kicking ass,... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #3: The Scarlet Plague – by Jack London

Another classic, this time set in a post-apocalyptic California. Everyone worthwhile has been wiped out after a mysterious disease swept throughout the world in the year 2013. Now just 60 years later, the primitive, pathetic shadow of the human race still... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #2: The King in Yellow – by Robert William Chambers

One of the classics of our time, this novella is one of the most disturbing pieces of work that I've  ever have the chance to get my hands on. This is the second in the series of 2015 reviewed novels... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #1: The First Science Fiction Megapack – by Robert Silverberg, Samuel Delaney, Marion Bradley, Fredric Brown, Philip K Dick and Harry Harrison

The Science Fiction megapack of short stories is the first post to kick off my 1000 books before 30 (see the explanatory blog post here). It also happens to be the first thing I read in 2015. With 25 classic Sci-Fi... Continue Reading →

1000 books before 30 – kickstarting a literary marathon

I have to have read 1000 books by the time I turn 30. That is to say, on 8 April 2019, I will have read one thousand (ONE THOUSAND!) significant pieces of literature in my lifetime. At almost 26, my time... Continue Reading →

‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ review

'Behind the Beautiful Forevers' was always going to be a difficult story to adapt. Hefty in emotion and in intricate description, the Pulitzer-winning non-fiction novel by Katherine Boo involves several complex characters and a plot tough to crush into just over... Continue Reading →

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