Sink your teeth into a good book

Townie wrote a post the other day about some of the insanity surrounding the Twilight series. For those who aren't familiar with the books, it's a super-popular (think Harry Potter) series for young adults. As Wikipedia puts it...

Twilight is a series of four vampire-based fantasy/romance novels by the American author Stephenie Meyer. It follows the life of Isabella "Bella" Swan, a teenager who moves to Forks, Washington, and finds her life turned upside-down when she falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen.
The part of Townie's post that caught my attention was the criticism surrounding the series. Stephen King has been quoted as saying that the difference between the Harry Potter series and Twilight (besides the subject matter - we're talking fan obsession here) is that the Harry Potter books are actually well written. And Meyer can't write worth a damn*.

Now... I'm not sure about that. Stephen King himself can be hit or miss. Sure he's got a number of best-sellers... but you don't find any of his books on Time's "Best Books of All Time" list. I like some of his novels (The Green Mile and Hearts of Atlantis to name two) but you'll not catch me reading Cujo any time soon.

But I think critics are missing the point. There will always be waves of "teenage trash" novels. When I was in elementary school it was the R.L. Stine and the Goosebumps** series (yes I am that young, shut up). For my sister, it was Sweet Valley Twins and Gossip Girl (yes it was a book first :P) and countless other books our parents may-or-may-not have "approved" of***.

We were both readers, and I still am. Danielle's in her last year of university these days, so if she's anything like me, I'm sure she hates books right now - - but she'll get back in the groove eventually. The point is that from a very young age both of us (but more noteably, Danielle) would save our money to buy books. Not video games (not that we had a Super Nintendo until I was in the 12th grade), but BOOKS. On trips off-island, there were no two ways about it. We were going to Chapters, and DD was going to spend 2-3 hours there, and she was going to spend all she could. That was just the way it was.

So really... who CARES what they are reading. If kids are devouring books, that's what matters. If they seek books out as a choice, they'll stick with it. Anna Karenina will come, in time (maybe... I still haven't gotten around to that).

And on a totally disjointed note: Go read The Glass Castle. Best modern book I've read to date.

*I should clarify that I have NOT read the books. I don't really intend to read them (no matter how many times amazon.ca recommends them). I'm not really a vampire kinda gal. The only think that appeals to me is the covers. They look pretty neat.

** Which, by the way, I never read. Actually that's a lie. I read the first chapter of one about bees and a roller coaster when I was in grade 3 and thought it was dumb. So I gave it back to my friend and never cracked another. I don't know why I felt the need to defend myself, haha but I did.

*** Their concern, of course, was the two of us were reading below our reading level. Which was true. But they didn't stop us. They let us read/be.


towniebastard April 6, 2009 at 12:36 PM  

Well, I think we cleared up the whole "bad writing" thing on my blog. King, Asimov and Clarke were the three authors I read the most growing up, along with comic books. As long as you're reading and getting enjoyment, good on you.

As for King, he is obviously hit and miss (Fun fact, he doesn't really remember writing Cujo - too much booze and drugs). But I think several of his stories are classics ("The Stand", "Salem's Lot", and "Rita Hawworth and the Shawshank Redemption" are probably my three favourites) and that history will look upon his works very favourably.

And his book "Oh Writing" is absolutely crucial to read if you ever want to write a word of fiction in your life.

KOTN April 6, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

"The Stand" should be on all alltime lists. Great work of fiction.

Jackie S. Quire April 6, 2009 at 1:44 PM  

See, I think I remembered quite liking The Stand... but it's been so completely ruined for me because of that TV-movie they did.

I've seen the first installment of it at least 7 times and I swear I'm about to throttle Molly Ringwald.

Danielle Sharkey April 6, 2009 at 11:59 PM  

speaking of good books... sleepover friends was almost as page turning as the sweet valley twins series. or the "michelle" series from full house, with one of the olsen twins on the cover? priceless!

Anonymous April 7, 2009 at 5:32 AM  

I think one of the things about some of the children's series of books is that( at least in the preschool years), the parents can pick books they enjoy reading to their children. I fondly remember the Robert Munsch series. Remember "Me and My Dad" Jackie? Your Dad liked Dr Suess and found the entire series at a yard sale.

Later on there was "The plant that ate the dirty socks " and last but not least I remember scouring second hand book stores, especially the large one in Ottawa for out of print editions of a series for Danielle. I think it was the Babysitters Club. I just remember carrying a list of the books she didn't have with me when I travelled, in case I could find one of the missing books.

So much fun for a parent!

Danielle Sharkey April 7, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

it was definitely sleepover friends mom.
bbs club was jacko's fave.