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Books I Have Read: 2003 Roundup - trinalin thinks things through — LiveJournal
Books I Have Read: 2003 Roundup
In my last entry, I promised I'd post my 2003 book thoughts in the next entry. (I had intended to post the next day, but there ya go...) Anyhoo, here's much of the text from an e-mail I sent over a year ago to the Fully_Booked mailing list at Yahoo Groups.

One thing I've noticed is that a majority of the books I read in that time span are kid's books. I've been impressed with the quality of recent children's books (Rowling,
Ardagh, etc) and will continue to seek out and read kiddie-lit books for as long as I find them entertaining. :-) Holes was good, but didn't make it into my books of the year list mostly because I loved the movie far more than the book. Perhaps if I'd read the book first, I'd feel differently. (It does get points for being easy enough to read all in one go.)

I didn't come up with a top 20 list - more like a top 13 list. Of the ones that didn't make my list, the one that surprised me most was The Three Muskateers. I just didn't think
that book was anything special. It could have been the translation that I read, but it seemed more like a Mary Sue than a proper adventure novel. The Prince and the Pauper, another classic, was entertaining, but I liked A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court better (except for the ending to that novel - bleh!) I finally read all of Pratchett's Johnny books. They got better as the series wore on, but I must admit his recent children's books (see below) are a vast improvement. I still have the rest of his little people books to read (wasn't impressed with Truckers).

Trina's Top 13 Books Read for 2003

  1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - Michael Haddon. While reading this book, I suggested it to one of the special education teachers at my school. I couldn't even get the word "Curious" out of my mouth before she finished the sentence. She'd read it, loved it, and it really helped her out in understanding the two autistic students that we have at Newton. Neither of them are the math geniuses that young Christopher Boone is in this novel, but, like him, they see the world just a bit differently than we do. It's interesting to note that my top two books are basically World Building books. But whereas Fforde builds a Swindon/England that is markedly different from ours, Haddon shows us how Swindon (coincidence? Probably...) looks in the eyes of someone completely different from most of the readers. Very fascinating. And easy to read.

  2. The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde. I've decided that books like Curious and Eyre belong in a genre all of their own. I call them Mundane Fantasies. It's not a fantasy in the sense that Terry Pratchett novels are - it takes place in the every day world, so to speak. But there's a major sense of the fantastic going on as well. If you haven't gotten the book yet, do so. (Although I'd rank these two as the best I'd read for 2003, the rest of the books are pretty much in order of when I read them.)

  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - JK Rowling. If you've no idea what this book is, you probably live in a box. :-)

  4. The Wee Free Men - Terry Pratchett. Continuing on from his earlier Discworld Children's book, Terry proves that his kiddie-lit books are best when they come from the Discworld.

  5. Blue Mars - Kim Stanley Robbinson. Finally done with the Red Mars Trilogy. Not as good as Green but better than Red - the characters are the important part of this trilogy and Green kept focusing on my favorite characters. I must admit, I ended up liking Maya a lot more by the end of this novel.

  6. The Eddie Dickens Trilogy: Awful End (AKA The House at Awful End)

  7. Dreadful Acts, and

  8. Terrible Times - by Philip Ardagh. I'm trying to convince everyone I know how wonderful these stories are. Silly, funny, silly, informative, and damned silly. And they're even better when read by Sylvester McCoy. It would be a crime if they make a movie about these books and don't have Sylv playing Even Madder Aunt Maud. :-)

  9. Time and Relative - Kim Newman. This is a pre-Unearthly Child story with the First Doctor and Susan. It was gripping and evocative. So it goes in my list as well. (Citadel of Dreams is the only other novella that I have - it didn't make the cut, even with the SylvDoc factor factored in.)

  10. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchett. It was an Ardagh/Pratchett year, I guess, with both authors having 3 books in my top 13. :-) I probably do rank The Wee Free Men higher than Maurice - but I just have a thing for witches, I guess. Pratchett witches especially.

  11. Coraline - Neil Gaiman. Terry's not the only one who can write for kids and adults. Coraline was probably one of the spookiest kids books I've ever read.

  12. The Nightwatch - Terry Pratchett. I've said enough about him, surely? Interesting time travel story...

  13. Heritage - Paul Dale Smith. The Seventh Doctor and Ace in a Western, sort of. I loved the pacing of the novel. At first, it disconcerted me, but the I realized that was part & parcel with the novel. It moves slowly and deliberately. And it was nice to have a change from Tucker&Perry. (Loving the Alien - interesting idea, poor execution.)

In other news: Happy Birthday samantha2074! Hope you had a lovely day today!

Current Mood: happy happy

2 comments or Leave a comment
From: capriuni Date: January 30th, 2005 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
On average, I've found I generally prefer children's and young-adults' litterature to the stuff aimed at the grown-up market, especially among contemporary writers, but even turn of the (last) century stuff.

Writers for grown-ups seem to think they have to write complex storylines with all sorts of twists, and multiple points of view, in order to for the stories to be "good" and "literary." There seems to be a preponderance of trend-setting and -following, and, of course, sex and violence.

Kids just want good stories with strong plots, characters with honest voices, and emotional depth (I once had a class of fifth graders beta a children's novel I'd written, and they told me the ending was just too happy, and not real enough, so they asked me to let someone die). And no amount of publicists' buzz will make them read a book they don't like. As a result, the authors for that market have to keep themselves honest and focus on the basics.

I may pimp some of my favorite children's authors/books in a future LJ post.
dark_pheonix From: dark_pheonix Date: January 30th, 2005 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
*eyes are dragged to random Sylv pic*


What was I thinking?
2 comments or Leave a comment