Books I read in 2003!

This is a list of the books I read in 2003, with a few of my thoughts on each.

Go here for 2002's list! Go here for 2004's list!
Go here for the jump-off point of all the years I've been recording my reading list, separated by year!

12/16/03 Diane Duane
Wizard's Holiday
Book seven of Young Wizards did not disappoint--the usual wonderful epic-yet-personal adventure. Kit and Nita are off on a "vacation" to a strange alien world, while Nita's sister Dairine has to deal with the alien exchange students sent in their place. Wonderfully and powerfully written, as always.
12/3/03 Michael Moorcock
Elric of Melniboné
This book and I . . . disagreed. I tend to dislike fantasy books whose language is flowery, whose characters are coarse and papery, and whose plots are obviously constructions of the authors to be used with appropriately puppet-like characters. But my friend liked this story, so I said I'd read it. :)
11/29/03 Cornelia Funke
Interesting concept, nice execution, very real characters, but odd wrap-up at the end. Recommended for kids, though . . . early teens maybe.
11/21/03 Usamaru Furuya
Short Cuts Volume 2
This is a funny manga with no real continuing storyline, just a bunch of gag comics. Funny stuff about Ko-gals. :)
11/16/03 Madonna
Mr. Peabody's Apples
As with Madonna's previous book, the art was more impressive than the storytelling, but this story I liked better than The English Roses. Even though it wasn't an original story since it was based on an old parable, I liked it. Children's books are fun.
11/6/03 Philip Pullman
Lyra's Oxford
A little addendum with extra info and maps and a new story for Pullman's His Dark Materials series; of course I had to have it. It was okay. I read it on an airplane.
10/26/03 Eoin Colfer
The Wish List
Cool! The author of Artemis Fowl got enough attention for his splendid trilogy that they decided to publish his older books in the U.S. This was a fantastic story, with some twists and turns a reader didn't anticipate and very likeable, varied characters. Motives were occasionally a tad weak, but then, not everything can be perfect. It was not very well edited, I found a ton of mistakes.
10/15/03 Jeanne DuPrau
The City of Ember
Very neat concept, and it's very well-written! I like how she's created a limited society, though of course it lacked some depth. There were a couple of little glitches in it that made it very obvious the story was planned and executed instead of being the adventures of real people, but it was still damn good.
10/14/03 Clive Barker
The Thief of Always
It was a cool idea, but it was all about plot, and the characters were definitely pawns of the author instead of real people. Some of the turns of events were predictable. Then again I'm talking about a book written for children. :)
10/10/03 Francesca Lia Block
Slightly confusing, but poetic and sad. I cried. Duh.
10/8/03 Christopher Paolini
Oh, god. It was just terrible. If you want to know why in exhausting detail, read my review.
10/2/03 Spider Robinson
The Callahan Chronicals
All I can say is, I want to go make a toast at Callahan's Place, and become a regular at this bar where the patrons are lifelong friends and "family" first, rotten punsters second, and drinking buddies last. (I have no idea why "Chronicals" is spelled that way; Chronic-cals, maybe?)
9/30/03 Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy: Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers
Had to finish the sequel, of course . . . and take this damn rubber band off my wrist. (The first book came with a rubber band you were supposed to wear until you'd finished the second part.) It was full of snot and funniness, as expected.
9/23/03 Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
The Spiderwick Chronicles #3: Lucinda's Secret
Not sure why I read this since I wasn't a huge fan of numbers 1 and 2, but it was a cute enough story. The kids made a deal with a band of elves and tricked them, and they saw their "crazy" aunt and lost their book.
9/16/03 Lemony Snicket
The Slippery Slope
Got to read this when there was still a while to go before it officially came out. I love reading stuff before it hits the street. :) A Series of Unfortunate Events #10 was good and a little confusing. Sunny talked! There was pseudo-romance! Count Olaf washed his face! Wow.
9/15/03 Madonna
The English Roses
This came out today, a children's book by Madonna (whose music I like), so I read it. It was cute, the tone was original even if the plot really wasn't, the drawings were nice. Cute.
9/15/03 Douglas Wood
Old Turtle and the Broken Truth
Wow, they beat you over the head with the Pagan theme in this children's book! Hehe, I like it.
9/15/03 Ann Brashares
The Second Summer of the Sisterhood
Finished the sequel today. Again, not bad. Again, characters were caricature-like, with little breakthroughs of humanity now and then.
9/7/03 Ann Brashares
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
This was a good story--and it was the story, the plot itself, that was moving. I didn't feel particularly attached to the characters, though, even though it was very character-oriented. Maybe it was the distance inherent in that third-person thingie. Who knows.
8/27/03 Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The third of the three books I finished today. (I started it a while back but someone bought it from my store and I had to wait 'til it came in again.) It was surprisingly good, I thought it'd be a silly little emo boy story (which in a way it was), but I know people like that and I've felt like that and it's legit, not artsy just for the sake of it. I enjoyed Charlie and his special take on the world. I wish I had someone like him to write ME letters and make me mix tapes.
8/27/03 Jill Thompson
Death: At Death's Door
The second of the three books I finished today. This chick made a manga about Neil Gaiman's characters. It was very well-drawn and quite cute, and showed kind of more what happened at Death's place when Hell got vacated in one of the famous Sandman books.
8/27/03 Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1
The first of the three books I finished today. Not that that's a big feat, considering it's got a LOT of illustrations and is aimed at eight-year-olds. It was funny and gross, and ended on a cliffhanger. I've got this Captain Underpants rubber band around my wrist that I'm not allowed to take off 'til I read part 2, which comes out at the end of next month.
8/26/03 Debi Gliori
Pure Dead Magic
This is quite frankly one of the worst kids' books I've read in a long time--many apologies, Debi. Let's start with characters' names: If you're a parent and you've already named your children Titus and Pandora, what are the chances you'll name your second daughter "Damp"? Not bloody likely, but I figure the author thought it'd be cute. We've got monsters living in the dungeons and a croc in the moat who likes to eat nannies--at one point the dragon shits all over the place (conveniently having its waste land on a gangster who's up to no good), and the crocodile later consumes the "goo" left behind. Things happen just because the author wanted to be cute (e.g., Pandora shrinking things in her room, then "throwing herself onto her bed" only to remember that she shrunk it, thus crushing it into matchsticks, oh how funny; how about when Dad is kidnapped and e-mails the family from Everything is too convenient in a way that is supposed to be slapstick funny but in truth just ends up trying too hard in my opinion. The whole kidnapping plot is an excuse to have three witchy kids and a secret-witch nanny trying to cope as hijinks ensue, the hijinks being the point of the book. When a talking spider with pink lipstick offers to find the lost baby on the Internet because "she knows about webs," I kind of wanted to vomit. I read the book because the front said it was like Harry Potter meets Lemony Snicket in a high tech setting, but this book missed the magic of Harry Potter and the wit of Lemony Snicket by a long shot, leaving the "high tech setting," which involved a computer that could somehow e-mail rats as file attachments. By the way, the title only means anything if you live in Scotland, apparently it's a local joke. On the up side, I can see I have a good chance of getting published when I try, if this book made it.
8/23/03 J.R.R. Tolkien
The Return of the King
Never did finish this one until now. I've been reading it at the bus stop for quite some time and finally finished it today. Good stuff, but I don't think I've ever seen a story with THIS much closure!
8/23/03 don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements
I read this because, well, a lot of people like it. Basically it tells you to break the agreements you made with yourself that make you feel bad and to accept the agreements to "be impeccable with your word," "don't take things personally," "don't make assumptions," and "do your best." I didn't like how simplistic and equation-like he made things seem, there was a lot of capitalizing and titling syndromes (like "the Victim"), I didn't get much out of it. I did like his take on gossip, though.
8/20/03 Sally Prue
Cold Tom
Cool concept! Didn't really go anywhere though. Not that I'm one to complain about personal-oriented stories. :)
8/19/03 Darren Shan
Cirque du Freak #6: The Vampire Prince
Cool resolution for Darren's punishment for his failing the trials, and you get to see how the vampires deal with the vampaneze uprising. Whee.
8/17/03 K.A. Applegate
Begin Again
Remnants #14 was a bit of a letdown, things fit too neatly and 2Face just made no sense. ::sigh:: I guess Animorphs will remain my favorite of the series written by this author, since this one copped out.
8/15/03 The Onion
The Onion's Finest News Reporting
Read it cover to cover. Mostly while on the john. You care?
8/10/03 Carl Hiaasen
Lucky You
Though I did find it funny that there was a road stain that looked like Jesus in this book, it was not his best work. But funny anyway.
7/?/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #12: Entertain the End
Not too impressed with the ending, but it seemed like maybe the publishers figured out this series wasn't selling like Animorphs did and made her squeeze what was supposed to be a grandiose plot into 12 books. I mean Christopher's love was set to marry someone else and he had all this angst acting like he was gonna do something about it, and then nothing happened. And then besides that what's with introducing that scroll of the gods, which would literally alter reality, and then they never find it? Weird.
7/?/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #11: Mystify the Magician
Woo . . . it's almost over now. Merlin's such a badass. And I love Christopher books.
7/?/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #10: Understand the Unknown
Atlantis? Crap.
7/12/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #9: Inside the Illusion
The first and only Everworld told from Senna's point of view. Heh . . . she's kinda cool. Only wish this series could have been longer so that the characters could have been more fully developed.
7/7/03 J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I was kinda pissed that I didn't get to read this before it came out--ya know, I thought I'd be afforded that privilege, working in a bookstore and all--so I just read it on my breaks at work and stuff. It was pretty good and very long, though it had that usual annoying way of explaining everything at the end. Oh yeah, and yes, someone dies.
6/22/03 K.A. Applegate
Remnants #13 was awesome! It's all about Tate and her survival aboard the ship when four crazy "evolved" beings are trying to eat her. Let me just say there is a whole new meaning to "you are what you eat," and I have heard of multiple personalities but this is ridiculous.
6/22/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #8: Brave the Betrayal
Now the kids are roaming across a weird mythological version of ancient Africa, trying to avoid placating the local deities with a sacrifice. They end up in a mirror world. Ooh boy.
6/16/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #7: Gateway to the Gods
Yay, I like this one. Weird, these books may be for kids but Aphrodite sure said some sick sexual shit, and they use words like "screwing" and "bitching." Heh. David becomes a war hero, the group finds Senna again, and most intriguing of all, April and her perfect Christian faith are rattled when she calls in panic for Athena to save her. Yeah.
6/14/03 Holly Black
Mrr. This was recommended to me by a friend, since she said it was like a modern, teenage version of The Moorchild (which I loved). I didn't like this book near as much, though there were parts that were written well. Character motives were occasionally a bit fuzzy (though sometimes that was on purpose), the writing style and flow was a bit confusing sometimes, and it had one of my pet peeves, one of those endings where all is revealed to the plot in a few paragraphs near the end. I do like the whole modern enchanted thing she had going on though.
6/10/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #6: Fear the Fantastic
Oh, joy! In Everworld, Christopher's dealing with giant bugs, a drunk god, and a fabulously beautiful gay immortal guy. In the real world, he's trying to figure out how the hell he ended up working at a copy shop controlled by a bunch of bigots. I found touching his guilt over his unfulfilled pact with Ganymede, though. Waaah.
5/28/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #5: Discover the Destroyer
Ahh, the kids have gone to Fairy Land to try to find the dragon's stolen treasure. They're on a time frame because their hearts have been replaced with rubies which will burst into flame and kill them if they don't come back in six days. Ooh, creepy. (Since there's an Everworld #6, one has to assume that they're successful even without reading the book.)
5/28/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #4: Realm of the Reaper
Okay, that was creepy. Loki's daughter Hel, half living and seductive, half dead and putrid, starts drawing our heroes into her underworld. Not appetizing. (And there's even a nice tee shirt transfer of her face in the middle so you can iron her on a shirt. Nasty.)
5/25/03 Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
The Spiderwick Chronicles #2: The Seeing Stone
Yeah, this one was slightly better than the first, 'cause of weird things like hobgoblins peeing on a fire and a kid bitching that most twins in movies get special cool powers while his only thing he can do with his twin brother is share the same pant size. Yeah, but it was a pretty typical storyline anyway.
5/21/03 Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
The Spiderwick Chronicles #1: The Field Guide
Not nearly so impressive a story as its illustrations had me ready for. It was pretty formulaic: Kids move into a strange new house, a boggart plays tricks on two of the kids to make the third take the blame, the kids discover the boggart's reasons for screwing with them and then they placate him by giving him a gift. I'll read the next one because it took me literally half an hour to read it, but I did like looking at the nicely-drawn pictures.
5/21/03 Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible
"Tata Jesus is Bängala!" You mean he'll make me itch? Engaging and emotionally-charged story of Africa told by a preacher's wife and his four daughters, who end up in Africa when the Price family goes there for mission work. Everyone involved is transformed in different ways by Africa and infected by its terribleness and its beauty. It follows the mother and daughters through their lives and you feel like you get to know them--I enjoyed it even though I don't generally get into drama.
5/13/03 K. A. Applegate
Everworld #3: Enter the Enchanted
Oh, now April's telling the story. Yes, it makes perfect sense to stick your head and shoulders into your bathroom in another universe by inserting your body into your half-sister's stomach. This series is weird, man. I like how April's all obsessed with Rent.
5/6/03 K. A. Applegate
Everworld #2: Land of Loss
Someone bought the book I was reading, so I continued my journey into Everworld. Lordy. All the characters are taking out their aggression by getting racial in each other's cribs. What the hell? And what the HELL is Senna doing anyway?
5/2/03 Karen Hesse
The Music of the Dolphins
Lent to me by Mike with a high recommendation. It was interesting and pretty good, and I can see why it was compared to my short story "Moonlight."
5/1/03 Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl #3: The Eternity Code
Wow, talk about intricate plot and amazing growth of characters! Artemis and his reluctant fairy posse kick my ass.
4/23/03 Darren Shan
Cirque du Freak #5: Trials of Death
This stuff's pretty twisted. Darren has to prove himself in the deadly Vampire Trials, and though he passes the aquatic maze, the hall of needles, and the hall of flames, of course for some reason he technically fails to complete a trial that only requires him to kill a couple wild boars. Jeez, Darren, let's see if you can disgrace yourself any more--oh wait, now you run away to escape the punishment, too! Um, when's #6 coming out?
4/20/03 K.A. Applegate
Remnants #12 was pretty suspenseful, a personal-politics-laden journey of the Remnants with the Marauders, people dealing with an assortment of wounds and illnesses, and, of course, the memorable two-year-old being eaten by a giant roach. Go Mo'Majesty! And it looks like Billy's not dead after all, even though he tried pretty hard.
4/20/03 Francesca Lia Block
Guarding the Moon
Ms. Block writes about her first year as a mother. It's written with so much emotion, not all of it brimming over with unrealistic happiness, that you can't help but get caught up. Lovely, poetic autobiographical work.
4/17/03 Neil Gaiman
American Gods
Stacy was right! She lent me this book in an attempt to show me that Neil Gaiman's non-Sandman work is pretty good (though I hadn't enjoyed the other ones I read), and I did thoroughly enjoy it.
4/6/03 K.A. Applegate
Everworld #1: Search for Senna
Hey, Jeaux was right; Everworld IS a big steaming hunk of crap next to Animorphs. But it's still pretty good. I liked how David was so shamed by the fact that he peed himself. ;) I'll read more of this if I ever get freaking volume 2 in my store.
3/29/03 Katherine Patterson
Bridge to Terabithia
Unfortunately I read the back of this book before reading it, and since it said something about how the main character would have to deal with "tragedy," I knew from the start that someone was gonna die. But I still cried when it happened.
3/24/03 Amy Tan
The Joy Luck Club
I enjoyed this and it made me cry several times. But overall it wasn't one of my favorites, just inspirational and sad interlocking stories that made a good read.
3/5/03 Louise Rennison
Dancing in my Nuddy-Pants
Number 4 of the Georgia Nicolson series. It was cute and amusing, in a rude British schoolgirl sort of way.
3/3/03 Chuck Palahniuk
One of the best books I've read to date. Weirdness about a church cult survivor and his mess of a life, including his job cleaning for a rich couple, his relationship with a girl who sees the future, and his eventual descent into Hell. Woweez.
2/23/03 K.A. Applegate
Dream Storm
Remnants #11 was the best of the series for a long time. (Jobs is full of guilt and wanting to protect his brother, Mo takes off in a Meanie suit and manages to enjoy himself, 2Face is still playing her stupid games, Billy's catatonic again . . . ahh yes, entertainment.)
2/19/03 Douglas Adams
The Salmon of Doubt
A posthumously-released collection of random essays and columns, opinion pieces, biographical bits, and the beginnings of what looks like it would have been the next Dirk Gently novel. I got to know this favorite author of mine a bit better and also greatly enjoyed his scientific anecdotes and takes on religion.
2/4/03 Barbara Ehrenreich
Nickel and Dimed
This was a cool social science book where a journalist went undercover as a low-wage worker to see if she could support herself on the wages she got at, say, Wal-Mart. She couldn't. It was pretty enlightening.
1/21/03 Natalie Babbitt
Tuck Everlasting
I read this because I thought the idea of a forever-young family was intriguing. I was kind of disappointed in this because it was all billed as "our best writer's best work" or whatever by the publisher, but it was one of those classics that is better known because it strikes a chord with people than because it is a well-told story. That's just my stupid amateur writer's opinion, though.
1/20/03 Barbara Park
Junie B. Jones, First Grader
Being the kids' department head at a bookstore, I sometimes wonder what certain high-profile kids' series are like. I had read another Junie B. book about when she was in kindergarten, and was curious as to whether the style was any different now that the character was in first grade. It wasn't, but it was still cute. Junie B. got glasses.
1/13/03K.A. Applegate
Animorphs #3: The Encounter
I re-read this because I wanted to write an article on E2 about it. Yay.
1/12/03K.A. Applegate
Animorphs #2: The Visitor
I re-read this because I wanted to write an article on E2 about it.
1/13/03Eric Schlosser
Fast Food Nation
Since I have long thought McDonald's was evil, I decided to read this book, and it confirmed my suspicions along with giving me an almost too in-depth look at the meat-packing industry and the aspects of life that the fast food industry affects.
1/11/03 K.A. Applegate
Animorphs #1: The Invasion
I re-read this because I wanted to write an article about it on E2.
1/11/03 Timothy D. McLendon
A very amusing look into the world of computer tech support; god, there are SO many stupid people!

Go here for 2002's list! Go here for 2004's list!
Go here for the jump-off point of all the years I've been recording my reading list, separated by year!

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