Natasha Bernal




1000 before 30 #49: The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

A gentle, beautiful tale about the end of an era. It's hard to say why you should read 'The Remains of The Day', except that it's excellent. Nothing really happens, if you think about it. The butler of a grand... Continue Reading →


1000 before 30 #48: The Rotters’ Club – Jonathan Coe

The coming-of-age story of a group of Adrian Mole-esque Birmingham boys. It's a time of strife, it's a time of unions - it's the 1970s. The (T)rotters live in a bustling, industrial city, and their three children Ben, Paul and... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #47: Brighton Rock – Graham Greene

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. Pinkie managed to pull off the murder of the decade at just 17. As... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #44: A Wild Swan and Other Tales – Michael Cunningham

Classic fairytales retold with a current (and often gruesome) twist.With little over 100 pages, Michael Cunningham's short story collection packs a punch. Reinventing fairy tales isn't anything new, which is why it's slightly hard to get into this book. For... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #41: A confederacy of dunces — John Kennedy Toole

I've got two words on why you should read this book: MY VALVE. Ignatious J. Reilly is one of the most complex, hilarious, bizarre and annoying characters in the world. And he's just one of the amazing moving parts that... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #40: The Day of the Triffids — by John Wyndham

The end of the world is here. Unfortunately for our intrepid protagonist Bill Masen, he seems to have missed it. A mysterious comet seems to have left everyone who watched it permanently blind. As chaos reigns and desperate people begin... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #36: Go Set a Watchman — Harper Lee

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. It's not that the book is bad per se, but it certainly isn't good either. If,... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #34: Fathers and Sons – Ivan Turgenev

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. The story, which follows the young men through philosophizing, falling in (and out... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #32: Mother Night – Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut excells with an exciting and dark memoir from a double agent during World War II. Howard W. Campbell Jr is, well, a bit of a Nazi. As the party's chief propagandaist during the war, he criticised Jews and justified... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #30: Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin

The most annoying story about a demon baby of all time. Oh MY GOD Rosemary. If anyone were as stupid as this woman, I would be thoroughly bemused if the child that came out of her wasn't a demon baby.... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #29: Letter to my daughter – Maya Angelou

Beauty and captivating tenderness fills every sentence of Maya Angelou's intimate, secret sharings to the daughter she never had. Maya is a genius. After reading I know Now Why the Caged Bird Sings, I thought I had her style pegged. When... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #26: The Man in the High Castle – Philip K Dick

What would have happened if the Nazis had won World War II? The Nazis have set up a spaceport on the Moon, while the Japanese and the Germans have divided the world to suit their agendas. In the meantime, a burgeoning... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #23: Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

"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. Look into the future. There are houses with television projected onto... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #20: The Rubicon – Edward Frederick Benson

"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. It's not like it wasn't well written, it just sounded insincere and overtheatrical... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #18: My friend, the murderer – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Just to clarify, this isn't about Sherlock Holmes. Because one encounters all sorts in the path of life, Sir Conan Doyle decided to write about someone who (like it or not) had been universally rejected, beaten, and on occasions stoned... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #16: Night and day – by Virginia Woolf

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. He was a... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #14: The water-babies – Charles Kingsley

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. Although I read many of the old classics when I was growing up, The... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #13: Lady Chatterley’s Lover – by DH Lawrence

Hello steamy rain sex. If you haven't watched the film, read the book instead. It's saucier. The fling, which is said to be inspired by Lady Ottoline Morell's love affair with a stonemason in her employ, reportedly wasn't published in the... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #12: Lady Susan – by Jane Austen

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. If people spent more time talking to each other and less time writing letters, this story would... Continue Reading →

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 #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 #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 →

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