A gentle, beautiful tale about the end of an era.
The coming-of-age story of a group of Adrian Mole-esque Birmingham boys.
A chance encounter with a newspaper man on a sunny day turns into a mystery that leads Ida Arnold on the hunt for a Brighton gang.
A study on how human experiments can both enlighten and devastate their subjects. What would you do if you knew you were going to lose your mind?
A bizarre family history ties in with the tumultuous destiny of an entire country in this epic story by Isabel Allende
Classic fairytales retold with a current (and often gruesome) twist. Continue reading
A female investigator works to save a notorious killer who has decided he wants to die, while an unnamed prisoner on death row finds beauty in the heart of the jail’s darkness and despair.
An enjoyable murder mystery involving a fairground (and a fair dash of fate), Joyland is a coming of age story with a supernatural twist.
Possibly David Sedaris’ weirdest collection of short stories. Want to meet the freudian bear, the racist chipmunk? Continue reading
An astounding tale of human endurance, horror and tragedy on Everest, written by a journalist who lived to tell the tale first-hand.
Iain Banks’ whirlwind narrative transcends time and space as rogue agents trying to escape an all-powerful organisation jump through parallel universes to survive.
Harper Lee’s prequel to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ certainly feels just like the fat that got trimmed off and discarded from her previous work.
These 23 stories and pieces of poetry may not be Gaiman’s best work, but as it says on the tin: you’ve been warned.
Arkady Kisanov has just graduated from university and decides to go back home, with his friend Bazarov in tow. What happens later changes both of their lives.
There’s something so special about reading a book by David Sedaris — it’s finished all too soon in an all-consuming one-sitting marathon.
Vonnegut excells with an exciting and dark memoir from a double agent during World War II.
A hard start, languishing middle and tug at the heartstrings ending, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ has rather sparse light moments within its pages.
Sometimes you walk past a shelf and realise that you just have to have a certain book. These are the contenders that have been added to my 1000 before 30 list before August is up! Also worth a mention that I read three of The Walking Dead series over this week, which of course aren’t featured here but deserve a mention.
Howard Fast’s The Edge of Tomorrow was a find at the Waterstone’s opposite UCL in Central London. They were selling a vintage, battered copy that needed a home. I am almost all the way through it, so it should appear on the list soon!
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole has been on my wishlist for quite some time, as an amusing classic I could never get my hands on when looking for a good read.
Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls is one that I’m aware I should have read a long time ago – but am finally going for here.
Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Does my wanting to read this need any explanation whatsoever?
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev was an impulse buy. I have read quite a bit from Dostoievsky, Tolstoy and even Checkhov, but nothing by Turgenev. Hopefully this will prove to be an interesting expansion on my knowledge of Russian literature.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was recommended by a colleague as one of the best things she has read recently – I couldn’t resist the rave reviews!
On that note, as I expand my bookshelves and decrease the amount of money in my wallet through this 1000 before 30 process, I am looking for good book recommendations to add to the future list. If you have any that you think I should read, give me a shout!
The most annoying story about a demon baby of all time.
Beauty and captivating tenderness fills every sentence of Maya Angelou’s intimate, secret sharings to the daughter she never had. Continue reading
A literary work of art, about a work of art. Possibly my favourite discovery of the year.
A brilliant story about a millionaire who develops a social conscience. Of course, he is totally insane.
‘The Luminaries’ is kind of like when a very drunk person at a pub decides to tell you a very detailed story, only to start at the middle, get confused, tell you a lot of shit you didn’t want to know and is entirely irrelevant, and then condense the interesting ending into three paragraphs.
A beautiful high followed by a crashing, gut-wrenching low.
“It was a pleasure to burn”. This is how Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (‘the temperature needed to set a book on fire’) starts off. And it only gets better.
There are very few books that live up to their hype. ‘Life of Pi’ is one of them. Essentially its main character Pi (short for Piscine) is in such a desperate castaway situation that, if swapping tales with Robinson Crusoe, the latter would probably hang his head and admit that life on his island wasn’t so bad.
This is the story of hundreds women who leave their native Japan to meet their new husbands in America. The only thing they know is what they look like, thanks to grainy portraits they were sent beforehand. They all speak as one narrative, with voices intertwining and telling tales of hope, desperation, disappointment and love found in their new world.
“Melodramatic piece of literary garbage.” Those are the words that some would use to describe Edward Frederick Benson’s ‘The Rubicon’. Unfortunately I am one of those people.
In which Michel Faber single-handedly attempted to quash, nay exterminate, my love of literature on aliens.
Just to clarify, this isn’t about Sherlock Holmes.
The best way to start reading Zadie Smith is right at the beginning – at least that’s what critics believe – so I started on her first novel, ‘White Teeth’. What a giant and amazing beast it is. Continue reading
Night and Day does exactly what is says on the tin. Of course, being Woolf you expect some degree of romance, but this Edwardian novel centres on the differences, rather than the similarities, between its two protagonists.
It’s a tragedy when a young life is wasted – but it’s hard to feel sorry for Fitzgerald’s self-deluded, spoiled couple.
It’s the children’s classic I never read – and believe me, it is a lot more sinister when you read it the first time as a grown-up.
Hello steamy rain sex.
Austen’s short epistolary novel on a rich family and one scheming woman tries the ‘dangerous liasons’ style… and fails to hit the right notes.
Two worlds collide as a factory owner and a vicar’s daughter go head-to-head in North and South. Continue reading
The chilled out attitude that the musketeers have towards duels is a dangerous message to send to youths everywhere.
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.