Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For the benefit of my brain.

I'm torn. It's about something mighty trivial - to read or not to read? - but, there are SO MANY fans out there, I know at least somebody will lay down their opinion.

This concerns TWILIGHT. That book series. I don't know too much about it, but from the snippets I've gathered, I'm undecided as to whether I should read them. I've heard some polarizing opinions. Initially, I was curious and ready to pick one up, because I love tales of vampires because they're all sexy and crazy and have cool powers but inner turmoil and I loved Buffy and Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series.

In fact, Christopher Pike was my favorite young adult novelist, and I'd say his most famous books are the Last Vampire ones. I haven't read them in a while, but I remember the heroine, Sita (the titular last vampire), was awesome and kicked butt but had to deal with how she might not actually be the last vampire because her centuries-old lover was out to destroy her. There was a lot of myth, action, and sexiness for a young adult book. Which is why I don't know if I want to read Twilight because it's written by a Mormon who apparently makes a lot of "moral value" allegories in the books. (Nothing against Mormons, love them, I just don't like them selling me on their religion or views in the form of entertainment, like any other religion.) So, I read things with messages, but I'm well aware of them and can usually look past it in most circumstances. However, I'm not into reading preachy books - is it preachy? That's why I'm asking you.

Furthermore, my favorite site, Jezebel, offered a pretty negative post regarding Twilight, and included this -

This is actually the book's biggest problem. It's 754 pages long, its heroine's dominant personality trait is low self-esteem, and, as Amazon reviewer Eventide points out, nobody really has to give up anything. Even the tedium of immortality is glossed over — these vampires just keep busy with their hobbies. If I had an eternity to read, I still might never pick up this book again.

Their powers are glossed over? A heroine who wallows and doesn't kick ass? This is a vampire book, really?

I've also heard it doesn't have the best prose: Stephenie Meyer isn't a great writer. But again, I enjoy some books with awful writers. I think the most awfully written book I've read in recent years was The Devil Wears Prada; literally I groaned every five minutes. That was not enjoyable. But Christopher Pike was, and he's not winning any awards. So, is the writing distracting? Or is the book so captivating that I won't notice or care?

I've also heard good things! A lot of my friends are OBSESSED with it, apparently Meyer thanks Motion City Soundtrack in the latest book as "musical inspiration" (hey oh! points, points, points!), and my obvious curiosity in books that translate to film. Twilight will be hitting theaters this winter, and that cast has already done tons of press. It's a popular book, there has to be a reason, right? Also, let it be known that I did not read any of the Harry Potters, and could care less about that series and the movies.

SO, dear readers and/or lurkers, should I read it? Or skip it and just re-read my beloved Last Vampire series? Comment or email me. Literally, I'm leaving this up to you.


  1. Hey! Found your blog through some other blog links and I had to chime in on this one because I am torn as well. I have two good friends who read similar books as I do who recently read the series and their recap was that the first book was AWESOME, the second was good, the third was eh, and the fourth made them mad. I think I'll read them at some point, but I hesitate to get into a series that will make me mad...

  2. adriana - thanks! i'm with you - i don't want to read something that i just end up despising and griping about. i'll obviously write up what the readers tell me to do! :)

  3. Ok I LOVED the first book. Second book is so slow and agonizing that I can't get through it. The main character Bella is pathetic and boring in the second book and the story is SO slow unlike the first book which was exciting. I mean like Jezebel notes - the heroine is not a heroine at all.
    And the hype and shit around the rest of the books is really putting me off too. My best friend is a HUGE Twilight fan and is trying to push me to read the rest.

  4. Well, you and I share a vampire (obsession?) Love, love, loved Christopher Pike back in the day and the more I think of it -- those weren't really young adult, they were more adult? I dunno, I was in eighth grade (I think) when I read them are there was heavy sexual tension, an AIDS storyline, weird. Still great though!

    HOWEVER, I have never read the twilight series, although from the criticisms you mentioned, it doesn't sound like me. I love books/movies that explore religious theories or themes, but I don't like preachy-ness. (that's what my mom is for). Let me know how you make out!!

  5. I know this is kind of off topic, but have you watched True Blood? It's awesome.

  6. A) Props on Pike. Seriously, he ruled. I was read Monster when i was in sixth grade...I still can't believe that shit passed as "young" anything. Book starts with a dude walking into high school party and graphically shooting people with a shotgun.

    B) To gamble or not to gamble? I am reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series right now, and that was another case of polarizing opinions. I say read the first one, if you LOVE it go on. But if you could take it or leave it, then dont bother with the rest (as that book appears to the most loved). You obviously have some interest here.

    c) you could always just wait for the movie, if the book isn't that well written anyway, then what are you gonig to be missing?

  7. I went through the same thought process when I was deciding to read or not to read the books. I choose to read the books and I am super happy that I did, I mean your right she is not the best writer and there are very subtle moral allegories in the book,Still the books were very enjoyable. Read the first book and by the 5th chapter your not into it you will never get into it.

  8. I'm just about to start reading the fourth book - I really like them, but they take place over a very short period of time and the heroine is a teenager. I don't think that, with that in mind, I was expecting earth shattering character development.

    The books aren't preachy, are consistent, are completely candy & addictive. She isn't a groundbreaking author, but they are SO much fun to read. They have some really interesting vampire mythology in them and the relationship wreaks of sexual tension.

    As someone with a soft spot for all things vampire I would say disregard the hype & who the author is and read the first book. Your feelings on it will probably be your feelings on the rest of them. I like reading lighter fare now and then, and this was head and shoulders better than a lot of what I start, more engaging and more fun.

  9. This blog appealed to me in soooooo many ways.

    1. Because of all the hype, I have been debating whether or not to read this too. I've chosen not to because really, I have better things on my reading list. Right now, I'm working on The Road and then The Time Traveler's Wife which are both being made into movies!

    2. You can add me as one of the "Mormons" you know of. Hah, I love love love that you linked The Killers and Aaron Eckhart.

    3. If you want a Vampire book to read, try the Vampire Chronicles. I loved The Vampire Lestat. Really strong lead characters that kicks ass and has a strong personality. It's a great read. I hadn't heard of the series you mentioned but I will check it out now.

    4. Anti-Harry Potter, SERIOUSLY? Come on, I'm not a fan of the movies but the books are top-notch entertainment.

    I think that's it. /super long post

  10. Girl, I will be honest because I LOVED all 8 years of Buffy, read the books, etc. But Twilight, it was awful. I read halfway through the first book and had to give up. She IS a bad writer, and the "heroine" of it is pretty much like Jezebel said. I've heard the last book in the series is pretty awful and the whole ending for it doesn't match the rest of the series. I think there are better vamp books out there.

  11. alright. i have read them all. they are NOT a sophisticated series, like harry potter is. the ends don't all seem perfectly tied at the end. the storyline is predictable (for the most part) and cliche (in a teen angst love sort of way). but. if you, as i did, loved pike's books, and loved vampire stories, i recommend it. i personally am obsessed with hot boy vampires. so i instantly fell in love with edward. it is an incredibly fast read, so the page length is relative. i say try it out. at least read the first book (which also unfortunately is the best out of the four). just realize it was written for teens, and you should be fine.

  12. kristen - interesting, interesting. i'm getting a lot of "the first book was awesome" comments. maybe i'll just read the first? thanks for the input.

    emily - they were strongly adult, you're right. there was even that one about abortion - "whisper of death" i think it was?

    chris - i watched part of it completely wasted. anna paquin? she's a turd in real life. just sayin. but maybe i'll on-demand it.

    sean - a) Pike was amazing! Yessss. If he was still writing young adult books today, I would still be reading them. I like both b & c. I'm getting the picture I might just have to read the first book and see the movie, and that may be it. Ha.

    anonymous - thanks for the input. a lot of people are saying to just read the first book. maybe i will? i'm going to tally the votes :)

    kyla bea - thanks, good to hear. i may delve into the first book. i do love sexual tension. ha.

    jessica - The Road is my next read for sure! Sean's actually bringing it over :) ALso, TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's honestly one of my most favorite books. 2. - woo! hahaha sweet. I actually crushed really, really hard on a Mormon in high school who only crushed endlessly on my best friend. Ha. Thanks for the recommendz. Re: Harry Potter, I think it's because when it started my brother got really into them, and I was in high school or starting college or something and I was all self-important like, "children's fare" and didn't bother. I feel like I'd be into them if I read them, but I'm way past the point of caring to catch up. ;)

    michelle - thanks, m! i'm tallying votes, tally tally tally...

    lindsay - i, too, am a fan of hot boy vampires, and young adult books. i have no problem with them. i'm getting a lot of "the first book is the best" so i might just read the first and damn the rest; i'll see the movies. ha. thanks!

  13. Okay so I'm not sure what to think about these books. I've never read them but they are hyped up so much like it's the second coming of Harry Potter or whatever. I can't decided if I want to read them and try to like them or go in reading them ready to hate them hahah

    Let's read them together like our own internetz book club. omg that might be the nerdiest thing I've ever commented or the most AWESOME, I'm not sure yet.

  14. Chello! I love your blog!

    Okay, I must say that I too was very reluctant to join the Twilight craze. While I generally tend to stay away from things that are overhyped, a couple of my best friends got hooked on this series and basically convinced me to start it.

    I'm only halfway through the 1st book now, and while it's no literary work of genius, it certainly isn't as bad as the haters make it out to be. Yes, the narrator and "heroine" Bella is pretty pathetic, but she also has a great type of sarcastic, smart-ass humor, which helps you learn to love her. I've chuckled quite a few times at her thoughts.

    Speaking of love, yes, you will probably find a reason to fall in love with the character of Edward. For me, it's his undying (literally haha) devotion to Bella. He's just one of those archetypal "perfect" men that women aspire to call their own, despite his glaring flaw of being a vampire.

    Although I am enjoying the 1st book, I doubt I'll read further. Everyone except my best friend has told me to skip the 2nd book, which is an immediate turnoff for me to continute the series. I've heard good things about the 3rd book, which is great and all, but I've also heard terrible things about the final book. And I must say, after reading the spoilers (I couldn't resist haha), I tend to agree with most of the negative reviews. In the end, I just know I can't follow a series that inconsistent in quality.

    Take from that what you will. I still say you try just reading the 1st book, especially if you plan on seeing the film adaptation. =]

  15. dee - thanks!! great job at convincing me to read the first book...that may be the way i go - i'll keep your thoughts in mind as i continue tallying the opinions! :) thanks for reading, too!

  16. Parker, please let me know what you end up doing since I rely on you and the rest of curbside for my reading choices. I've been hearing so much about this series, I was thinking maybe this would go a lot better for me than the Harry Potter thing did. I just found out Paramore has the lead single off the upcoming movie now, too...so I'm obvs even more intrigued.

  17. I know this is a late post, first time reader Ms. Parker. It's 2 AM in Hershey and I'm flying solo. Hear are my thoughts though this is months past I'm sure you are done with the 1st book and I am interested to hear your thoughts.

    {Take a stand, fight the hype! It may be ignorant, but I am refusing to read these books. I'm sick of the Harry Potter etceteras! and tired of 700 plus pages with zero substance. And as for a quality Vampire flick, please skip this PG-13 Hollywood schlock! and check out, if you haven't already,
    'Let The Right One In' a Vampire film worth spending your time on.}