Thursday, April 02, 2009

Twilight madness

I still haven't read any of the Twilight novel series, nor have I seen the movie. Hell, we rented the movie last weekend and returned it unwatched. Just couldn't find enough time, or motivation, to get around to it.

I strongly suspect the series is not going to be my thing, and yet, I keep feeling inclined to give it a try. I never would have thought the Harry Potter series would be my thing and yet I remembered what happened when, on a lark, I picked up The Philosopher's Stone. I was in Clarenville at the time and was chomping at the bit to rush into St. John's and buy the other three novels.

No, from everything I've read, these books probably won't appeal to me. Cathy, who loves Potter, loves almost anything to do with vampires, is decidedly blah about the first book. I believe her review was "It's not great, but kids love it and it gets them reading, so it's good by me." I understand the logic - I've used similar tactics when describing comic books - but it's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Plus, two authors who I respect tremendously - Stephen King and Peter David - have trashed the books. And it's not likely they're oblivious to the fact that they're not the target audience. Teenage girls are the main audience and that's fine.

However I think it is a touch offensive that the defence of "it's just for teenage girls, so it's all right that it's crap" is pretty lame. if I had a teenage daughter, I would prefer it if she was reading something well written. According to King and David, the books are not even close.

But here's the thing, and it's the thing that's making me almost tempted to read books that far too many people I respect say are crap, is that many of the fans of the series are deeply crazy. Now, I like to think I have some experience recognizing the deeply crazy aspects of fandom. I like science fiction. I read comic books. My introduction to the internet was reading newsgroups focused on things like the X-Files, Star Trek and X-Men. I've seen and read some deeply crazy stuff by people that would happily burn the internet to the ground to win an argument on who is the better captain of the Enterprise.

But then I stumbled across this message board list of attacks against people who said bad things about the novels. Including people who have suffered broken bones, have been stabbed or shot at with flares. Even one of the stars of the movie has a healthy fear of the fans.

So I almost want to read it now, just to see what it is that inspires that level of craziness. Because although a lot of very knowledgeable people say its crap, there's got to be something there that makes people snap. Perhaps its a code or something subliminal. So we'll see. Maybe this weekend I'll crack open the first book and spend an hour or so reading it (Cathy says its won't take much more time than that) and see what happens.

Feel free to leave a comment to this post. We'll see if in a few days times I reread it, snap and try to skin you with an ulu or something because of my deep love of the book and that you just don't understand!. Then we'll know there's something to those books.

Last Five
1. Gamma ray - Beck
2. Support system - Liz Phair
3. Why do you love me - Garbage
4. Harry Worth - Elvis Costello and the Impostors
5. Girl, you have no faith in medicine - The White Stripes*


Matt, Kara and Hunter said...

I got sucked into them. Good mindless entertainment- perfect when I needed a break from a crazy toddler.

Tracey said...

I've read the first book and watched the movie. I liked the book more. I'm a sucker for a true love story.
Must be the teenage girl in me.

Karin said...

I totally agree with Tracey. I was sucked in over the winter and read all of them in two weeks. I liked the movie but the storyline is a bit different.
I had to remind myself constantly to turn my brain off and just enjoy the story.

Simon said...

My daughter is mad mad mad over the books - reads and rereads and wants me to read them too (not so inclined). Cultish behavior :S

nadinebc said...

I read them- only because all my students were crazy about the books. They were sneaking them into computer class, reading them under their desks. They were reading and not watching TV. It was odd. I have always liked Vampire stories, and the kids really had me convinced that they were good- I thought I had another Harry Potter on my hands.

I did not.

I don’t think they are that badly written, but they aren’t great either. The series is a step up from a Harlequin romance. You know what is going to happen throughout the books, there is little surprise. Also, Meyer seems to borrow a little from Charlaine Harris (True Blood series on HBO based on her book Dead Until Dark – a better series by far for Cathy by the way). I think young girls like them so much because it is the ultimate romance, with the ultimate partner, with all the drama and excitement that a young girl dreams for herself.

I am of the opinion though, that if it makes them read, it is a good thing. So few kids read.

Jackie S. Quire said...

I'll risk the ulu.

I've not read the books, nor do I really have any interest in reading them (Even though keeps "recommending" the books to me). I never really bought into the whole vampire thing. I'm more creeped out than "turned on" by the whole thing.

But that aside, and on your note about "it's just for teenage girls, so it's all right that it's crap"

I don't think there's anything WRONG with crap teenage books. I'll spare you the whole tirade, (blog post forthcoming) but I'm with Cathy. If it gets them to read, then who cares if its War and Peace?

towniebastard said...

Cathy's already a huge fan of both Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton and has all their books. She's also read most of them to the point that they're falling apart.

And I think somewhere here the point of this post got lost or I didn't explain myself properly. I'm all about the "I don't care if what they're reading is crap, as long as they're reading." Lord knows I had enough attempts at serious literature rammed down my throat in junior high and high school when all I wanted to read was my Arthur C. Clarke, Issac Asimov and the X-Men.

What I can't figure out is what it is about these books that seems to bring about a higher level of crazy than normal. I don't know what it is about these books, which most people say, at best, are good trashy fun, that inspires a person to throw acid in someone's face when they speak ill of the books.

I think that's what I'm curious about...what is it about these books that seems to bring out the higher than level normals of deeply crazy. Because I've deeply loved some books and comics, but have never felt compelled to harm people who disagreed with me. That's what's baffling me.

Jackie S. Quire said...

Sorry TB. I did get what you meant by the "so what if its trash its just teenage girls" but my post made it sound otherwise.

Denise said...

The movie sucks...period.

A vampire that shines like diamonds when in the sun, give me a break.

Adam Snider said...

I just went and read through some of those stories about violence acted out against people who said, "I don't like Twilight" to the wrong person. While I'm certain that some of them are bullshit, there are enough reports on there that at least a few of them have to be true. Why the hell would you physically assault someone because they don't like a work of fiction? It's like some kind of bizarre religious fervor over a romance novel for teenagers. WTF?

But, hey, if you do turn into a violent pyscho fan, I think I live far enough away from Iqaluit that I'll be OK. ;)