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Natasha Bernal

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fiction

1000 before 30 #51: Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

Phwoar. When I picked this up I didn't expect a rush. [Slight spoiler alert] A man is holding a loaded gun, cocked and ready to blow inside his own mouth at the top of a high rise building block. How... Continue Reading →

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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 #46: Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes

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? This is one of the saddest yet most beautiful stories I have ever... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #45: The house of the spirits – Isabel Allende

A bizarre family history ties in with the tumultuous destiny of an entire country in this epic story by Isabel Allende It's true, I read this in Spanish. I have read some Allende before (see my 'Como Agua para Chocolate'... 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 #39: Squirrel seeks Chipmunk — David Sedaris

Possibly David Sedaris' weirdest collection of short stories. Want to meet the freudian bear, the racist chipmunk? When George Orwell re-imagined human interaction in 'Animal Farm' I'm sure he never had Sedaris' take in mind. Having read it however, the... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #35: Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman

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. Have you ever wondered where all the scraps that writers don't end up using go? Well, in... 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 #31: All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

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. True, my expectations of a charm-filled read would have been dampened somewhat by a book... Continue Reading →

Six books I have to read right now.

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... 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 #28: The Goldfinch – Donna Tart

A literary work of art, about a work of art. Possibly my favourite discovery of the year. I had been told to read The Goldfinch by several people, some of whom I work with, but had resisted because of the... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #27: God Bless You Mr Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut

A brilliant story about a millionaire who develops a social conscience. Of course, he is totally insane. Mr Rosewater is the sole heir to a vast fortune, amassed throughout generations of Rosewaters. Unfortunately, he has gone rather mad. He has... 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 #25: The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

'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... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #24: Requiem for a dream – Hubert Selby Jr.

A beautiful high followed by a crashing, gut-wrenching low. There's no sitting on the wall with 'Requiem for a dream'. It is one of the most spectacular, stick-a-knife-in-your-ribs kind of story where the characters speak with such personality and strength... Continue Reading →

1000 books before 30 #22: Life of Pi – Yann Martel

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... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #19 The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber

In which Michel Faber single-handedly attempted to quash, nay exterminate, my love of literature on aliens. My friend Teresa instigated my re-exploration of Faber's work following a disappointing attempt with 'The Crimson Petal and the White'. The Book of Strange New... Continue Reading →

1000 before 30 #17 White Teeth – Zadie Smith

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. White Teeth... 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 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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