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Exclusive Books: Top 10 Bestsellers of 2003


Remember this? Fanatics celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2007. They celebrated every fanatical year of their first decade by going back in time, through the Top 10 books from each and every year.

They picked their favourites from the bestselling titles from 1998 to 2007 (We’ve extended this to include the last five years). In these lists Fanatics also included the VIBs (Very Important Books), the cult classics of books, as chosen by the Exclusive Books store managers.

What you see below is a combination of books that hit the top sales charts in 2003, and books that captured the imaginations of many, and remain top of mind.

Click here to view the full list of top 10’s for 15 years (1998 – 2012)

10. Toorbos by Dalene Mathee

Toorbos is ‘n bosromanse. Dit is die storie van ‘n ingewyde bosvrou se intieme verbintenis met die boomhart van die bos, en hoe dit ‘n hindernis geword het in haar belewenis van die man wat sy liefkry.

9. Midlands by Jonny Steinberg

In the spring of 1999, in the beautiful and seemingly tranquil hills of the KwaZulu-natal Midlands, a young white farmer is shot dead on the dirt road running from his father’s farmhouse to his irrigation fields. The murder is the work of assassins rather than robbers. Journalist Jonny Steinberg travels to the Midlands to investigate.

8. Schott’s Original Miscellany by Ben Schott

This book contains the 13 principles of witchcraft, the structure of military hierarchy, clothing care symbols, a list of the countries where you drive on the left, a nursery rhyme about sneezing… Schott’s Original Miscellany is entertaining, informative, unpredictable and utterly addictive.

7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This extraordinary, magical novel is the story of Clare and Henry. It movingly depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s love for each other and their struggle to lead normal lives in the face of a force they can neither prevent nor control.

6. I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

A victim of time famine, thirty-five-year-old Kate counts seconds like other women count calories. Factor in a controlling nanny, a chauvinist Ausrtalian boss, a long-suffered husband, two demanding children and an email lover, and you have a woman juggling so many balls that some day soon something’s going to hit the ground.

5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Susie Salmon speaks to us from heaven, because she was murdered when she was 14 years old by a man who lived in the same neighborhood. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love and do the same things she has never had the chance to do. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet.

4. Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

When social histories come to written of the first decade of the 21 century, people will note a turning point in 2003 when declining standards of punctuation were reversed. Linguists will record Lynne Truss as the saviour of the semi-colon and the avenging angel of the apostrophe.

3. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can’t contain his curiosity about the world around him. This book is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilisation.

2. The no.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency consists of one woman, the engaging and sassy Precious Ramotswe who sets up shop in Gabarone, Botswana. This unlikely heroine specialses in missing husbands, wayward daughters, con men and imposters.

1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

An extraordinary and original tale of disaster at sea. The only survivor from the wreck of a cargo ship on the Pacific, 16-year-old Pi spends 221 days on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker. 

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