Books I read in 2004!

This is a list of the books I read in 2004, with a few of my thoughts on each.

Go here for 2003's list! Go here for 2005's list!
Go here for the jump-off point of all the years I've been recording my reading list, separated by year!

12/19/04 Jenny Nimmo
Children of the Red King #1: Midnight for Charlie Bone
Lotsa kids who liked Harry Potter were reading these, so I tried #1. It was all right--the perspective changed here and there and the characters were kind of one-dimensional, and the plot seemed a little hokey, but it was still entertaining and the abilities of the unusual characters were not the same things you see every day in some cases.
12/11/04 Margaret Peterson Haddix
Ehh. Didn't care much for it. And it had an inconclusive ending sort of. People aging backwards.
12/9/04 Arthur Miller
The Ride Down Mount Morgan
Just a short play about a guy who ends up in the hospital after an accident only to find out that his family has been contacted--BOTH families. He's got two wives that didn't know about each other. Wheeee!
12/6/04 John Baines
The Secret Science
A friend told me it changed his life, so I read it. The few parts I agreed with were kinda lukewarm rehashings of truths I had already discovered, and the rest kind of offended me with its view of women. All I can say is, I don't get how an author so adamant about the difference between body, ego, and soul can place so much importance on the gender one happens to be and the role of physical sex in a person's happiness. "A woman who is a virgin resembles a blank page waiting for a script"? NOT BLOODY LIKELY.
12/6/04 Shannon Hale
Enna Burning
This was just as good as if not better than the previous book--very cool descriptions of elemental fire and wind power and the wonderful bond between two best friends.
11/28/04 Shannon Hale
The Goose Girl
This was really well-written and had some really interesting portrayals of elemental "magic." I enjoyed it and now I'm gonna read the sequel.
11/17/04 Chuck Palahniuk
You know, you really have to read this book. Palahniuk (author of Fight Club) kicks butts. I love his portrayal of the dippy Wiccan coven and the wide range of ideas as to what people would do with power if they had it.
11/17/04 Virginia Woolf
Mrs. Dalloway
I liked the colorful prose and the tiny perfect series of personal crises and the vividness of one day of moments in various people's lives, but . . . GOOD LORD, VIRGINIA, if you love the comma so much why don't you marry it?? (Oh, and Septimus was my favorite character.)
11/13/04 Yann Martel
Life of Pi
Fantastic! I'm a big fan! I had fun reading about Pi's struggle for physical, emotional, and spiritual survival aboard that little lifeboat.
10/30/04 Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street
Kinda reminded me of Ms. Block, the way it was so stream-of-consciousness. Borrowed this book from my sister L. I enjoyed it, though it didn't last me very long. (I read it in one day while waiting for the bus, half on the way there and half on the way home.)
10/25/04 Jonathan Shute
Humane Society
I know this author from E2, vaguely, so he mailed me an autographed copy of his book. I read it. It was awesome. Little short-story creative nonfiction thingies. I recommend it.
10/25/04 George Carlin
Brain Droppings
Oh, that man's always got something amusingly thought-provoking to say.
10/11/04 Rodman Philbrick
The Last Book in the Universe
Cool! Some of the wannabe-future-slang pissed me off like it always does, but I liked the concepts, and the fact that everything wasn't a happy ending, ya know? Revolution! Whee!
10/5/04 Darren Shan
Cirque du Freak #8: Allies of the Night
Oh look, Steve came back. I'm not surprised. But he wasn't the Vampaneze Lord . . . I was thinking he was gonna be . . . but maybe he is and they're playing mind games again. Good book. Darren just can't get any luck. . . .
10/3/04 Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
The Spiderwick Chronicles #5: The Wrath of Mulgarath
I think the art in these books is really nice. This one was kinda dark--that kid killed baby dragons by stepping on them. It still bugs me that the house brownie talks in pseudo-rhymes. I certainly wouldn't suggest this series as required reading or anything, but it held my attention.
10/2/04 Sharon Creech
Walk Two Moons
Some of the concepts were cool, but the deliberately meandering style which was designed to reveal an "ooh" moment seemed a tad contrived. The wild imagination of the children and the interconnectedness and importance of families was pretty good, though.
10/1/04 Alex Haley
Wonderful. I borrowed this from my sister because she had it as required reading in high school and liked it. I cried a whole bunch of times, mostly just appalled at the idea that I am part of the human race which has done such horrific things to each other. Slavery is evil.
9/22/04 Martin Booth
Dr. Illuminatus: The Alchemist's Son
Kind of creepy kids' book about an alchemist's son from the past enlisting two modern kids to help him fight evil. I didn't like it as much as I hoped I would. Too much out-and-out explaining and too many clever permutations for the word "said."
9/18/04 Eoin Colfer
The Legend of Spud Murphy
Cute first chapter book by one of my favorite authors. It's about an evil librarian who terrorizes children. My favorite part was when Marty kept licking his arm after the stamp was gone.
9/15/04 Carl Hiaasen
Skinny Dip
Finished another one. Hiaasen is at his best here, I really like the despicability of his villains and the fact that his heroes are not perfect. God, does this guy get what he deserves. . . .
9/11/04 Lemony Snicket
The Grim Grotto
As usual, the newest A Series of Unfortunate Events book was hilarious--this one full of damp puns and boring information about the water cycle in an attempt to try to trick us into nodding off and not reading. And what's with the romance? Now Klaus is gettin' some. (As much as one can in a kids' book, I guess.)
9/3/04 Viz Graphic Novels
Di Gi Charat Vol. 1
An invitational manga of various artists who draw Di Gi Charat, with various unconnected plots and stuff. Easy to zoom through--after all, it's comics.
8/31/04 Sue Monk Kidd
The Secret Life of Bees
This was touching and well-written, about a teen in the nineteen-sixties growing up with issues surrounding her mother's death. Awwww.
8/22/04 Neil Gaiman
Don't Panic
This is a revised biography of Douglas Adams and the history of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and related works. It was very entertaining and the subject matter was fascinating to me.
8/11/04 Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart
I don't understand why this is on so many school reading lists. I guess in the name of showing us the way of life in this African village, everything was spelled out in a very annoying way as to underestimate the reader's power of deduction. Whole incidents seem to HAPPEN in the book specifically so the author could tell us about this or that custom, not because it was important to the plot. The way of skipping forward in time as per convenience was awful. Achebe has never heard of "show, don't tell." Urgh.
8/7/04 Spider Robinson
Time Pressure
I didn't know that this was eventually going to turn into sort of a sequel--interesting. All I can say is I am now definitely, indisputably a Spider Robinson fan and his writing style makes it possible for me to not only endure but actually enjoy hard sf plots.
8/1/04 Jerry Spinelli
Genius! The little-kid perspective was fantastic--about a young boy who lived in Warsaw during World War II. Details his experiences in the ghetto as an orphan just getting by and managing to mostly stay happy. I love it.
7/27/04 Christopher Moore
Bloodsucking Fiends
A love story. Dude is in love with a vampire. Very sweet and some interesting little emotional bits that surprise you in the midst of such an outwardly humorous and bizarre novel.
7/19/04 Pamela Ribon
Why Girls Are Weird
This was great because it covered online relationships, Web sites that too many people read, and awesome realistic interaction between characters. :)
7/11/04 Marion Zimmer Bradley
Lady of Avalon
I was urged to read this by Mike because a) I'm not a fan of Arthurian stuff and this didn't touch on that, and b) It had a lot of good Pagan references that he thought I'd enjoy. I did like it, but developed very little attachment to the characters.
7/11/04 George Carlin
Napalm and Silly Putty
The man is funny, what can I say.
6/21/04 Alexandra Robbins
"The secret life of sororities." I found the writing actually a bit dry, but the information revealed about mainstream sororities based on the journalist's posing as a member for a year was very eye-opening. It did touch on positive aspects but mostly confirmed negative ones, and suggested changes for the Greek system at the end.
6/8/04 Louise Rennison
Away Laughing on a Fast Camel
Another in the series of rude British schoolgirl books. I find her verbing funny; she mentioned "watching the lads" and said they were "ladding about." And her shameless pursuing of boys to satisfy her "Cosmic Horn" was quite amusing.
5/31/04 Lynne Truss
Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Fantastic book on punctuation! Don't think it sounds exciting? Well, you're not an English dork then. This author is hilarious and informative at the same time. And I can honestly say that I admire her for protesting a badly-punctuated movie title by standing in front of the theater with an apostrophe on a stick. I'm gonna have to look up some of her novels.
5/24/04 Eiichiro Oda
One Piece #1: Romance Dawn
My sister never read manga before picking this up, but she swears by it. I bought her the English version of the first volume so she could see if it came across in the translation, and she said they did an okay job--I finally got around to reading it myself. It was not bad, I think Luffy's blurting-out attitude is quite amusing. But I suppose I'd have to be able to read it in Japanese to know why it's the number one manga in Japan right now. Oh well.
5/11/04 Darren Shan
Cirque du Freak #7: Hunters of the Dusk
I keep reading them, so they must be pretty good! Darren's developed a lot as a character, but there are still plot elements that are very shallow. I am still waiting for the author to stop pretending that no one can tell he's going to make Darren's old best friend show up as a bad guy . . . seems like a fat duh to me, and still no one in the book seems to realize how obvious it is. . . .
5/9/04 Jane Langton
The Fledgling
A Newbery book for kids. Georgie wants to learn to fly with the help of her Goose Prince. It was a really cute book, with that slight fantasy and full-fledged character development that really made it seem magical-but-real.
5/5/04 Judith Ortiz Cofer
Woman in Front of the Sun
A nice biographical collection of stories about one woman's growth as a writer: Inspiration, culture, roots, and influences, plus what writing means. Quite beautiful.
5/1/04 Eoin Colfer
The Supernaturalist
Another of his previously-published books newly available in the U.S.--I liked his plot, and the moral issues that surrounded the characters' actions. I saw the double-crossing coming, though.
4/20/04 Theodore Taylor
The Boy Who Could Fly Without a Motor
I like to read books about people who can fly. :) This one sucked, though. It had kid-book logic that adults think is good for kids, but is actually just sort of the literary equivalent of baby talk.
4/20/04 Alice Sebold
The Lovely Bones
Very sad all the way through, but very good. About how a girl's murder affects her family and friends.
4/10/04 Gregory Maguire
Mirror Mirror
I liked this, it was a little more concise than the others, though still a decidedly literary read. Seemed to more heavily include elements of its parent tale ("Snow White") than his previous works.
3/31/04 Spider Robinson
Yeah! I liked his Callahan stuff so I read this--man, he can really make me start to like hard sci-fi, maybe! His characters are wonderful. :)
3/30/04 Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
The Spiderwick Chronicles #4: The Ironwood Tree
'Twas cute, but nothing all that special, as usual. The realism of the main characters' emotions is well-handled, I'd say--that and the otherworldliness are the book's strong points.
3/29/04 Wally Lamb
I Know This Much Is True
Bought this as a gift for my mom and even though she doesn't read much she tore through it, so I decided to read it too. Beautifully and realistically written (even though there were a lot of almost-too-perfect tie-ins at the end). Very passionate, made me cry several times (which can be embarrassing at work).
2/17/04 David Lubar
Hidden Talents
Kids' book about some "problem children" who discover their special talents, and realize they aren't such hopeless discipline cases after all. Kind of a predictable book, but cute all the same--first person narrator, and good dialogue!
2/17/04 Ayn Rand
This was a good book, despite its being sort of predictable. I liked the horrific utopia and the main character's escape, and his emotions at discovering the world of "I" were pretty well-written.
2/12/04 Francesca Lia Block
Ecstasia's sequel! Even better because of all the first person in it! I loved Primavera's character, and how much her family loved her, and all the fantastical creatures.
2/12/04 Francesca Lia Block
The long-awaited re-issue of this out-of-print novel really was worth it. I think this was one of my favorite things she's ever written. Very poetic while not being so psychedelic that you couldn't tell what was happening. Loved all the Greek mythology references!
2/7/04 Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code
I read this because I gave a copy to my dad for his holiday gift and even though he doesn't really read much he was able to tear through it. Also it was laced with goddess symbolism and a bunch of stuff about the hypocrisy of certain aspects of the church and religion, so of course I'm down with that. I didn't think this book was well-written and I think it had a lot of sensationalistic factual errors. I appreciate that it got so popular that it made people think about WHY they believe WHAT they believe, but so many of the three-page chapters ended in such obvious "baiting" cliffhangers that you could practically hear the "dun-dun-DUN!!!" in the space after each; it was written in a shamelessly deliberate-thriller-esque style to suck you in and manipulate you, and while a little of that sort of thing is good, the extent to which it was done in this book was really over the top. Tons of people loved this book because it was almost like reading a movie, with as little feeling of understanding the characters' motivations and as little actual realism as most action flicks. I did like that it gave people an opportunity to examine their beliefs (and did Pagans the favor of casting them in a positive light FOR THE MOST PART), but overall I thought it was kind of a sloppy, cheap-thrills book.
2/7/04 Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre
Why on Earth didn't anyone ever tell me how much this book rules? Stepping back a bit I can see it's a bit of a romantic cliché (by today's standards), but OH, that book is beautifully character-oriented and full of emotion even within the strict confines of its quaint 1800s language. I could cry and tremble and laugh along with Jane, and I adored every minute.
1/21/04 Christopher Moore
"The Gospel according to Biff, Christ's childhood pal." Funny and "blasphemous" account of the missing years of Jesus (or, as the book refers to him, Joshua). But in the (paraphrased) words of the author, if your faith is rattled by a collection of funny stories, you have a lot more praying to do. Highly recommended for anyone who likes irreverent, smartly-written novels.

Go here for 2003's list! Go here for 2005'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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