It's happened to me and I'm sure it's happened to some of you. You're reading a book and someone asks what it is. And you tell them and they start looking for an Oprah Picks sticker or NY Times Bestselling Author banner scrolling across the top and when they don't see these familiar markers they give you 'the look'
And you explain.
You tell them what the book is about and you tell them how much you're enjoying it and their eyes light up for a minute and you think "Awesome!" and then they ask you where you got it and maybe they want to read it too and they're going to run to the bookstore RIGHT NOW and buy it and then....and then....you tell them where to find it.
"It will be in the Young Adult section", you say.
"Young Adult", you say again with a big smile and then, and then! They say
"Oh, I don't read Twilight books."
I don't read Twilight books they say.
I don't read Twilight
Well, you know what? I don't read Twilight either. Ok, ok, I did read the series but you know what, I wasn't impressed and I was actually shocked at how much of an impact the series made. But I also didn't care. People love it - good for them. Young adults are reading because of Twilight? Um...ok.... I guess I was living under the impression that young adults were already reading. I read as a young adult and I never stopped. My parents both love books, my teenage sister reads (a ton!) all her friends read....but I don't work with children and sure, ok, maybe me and my circle of friends and family weren't the norm but really? Twilight got people reading?
So, the point of this little rant?
I was browsing though my Google Reader today and I saw a blog post about a book called Bella and my VERY FIRST THOUGHT was, dear lord, why is everyone obsessed with Twilight?
Did you see that? Did you see what I just did? I made a ginormous assumption about a book based solely on the title.
Bella = Twilight. Really Emily? HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?
So, it got me thinking. What other Twilight induced assumption do I make about books without perhaps even realizing it?
And my answers were a little scary.
*When browsing a bookstore (or online) I quickly pass over books with covers that are mostly black and red.
*If a book blurb states that "Fans of Twilight will love it!" I quickly put it down and walk away
*ANY book with characters named Bella in it are suspect (I assume ridiculous paranormal elements and unhealthy relationships)
*I actively avoid displays in bookstores that feature Twilight related items (from the movies and books) because I don't want to be labeled as one of those readers who reads "Twilight" -- like it is it's own genre.
I started really thinking. And you know what? I'm lucky. My parents and family are all ferocious readers and I don't think I've gone more then a few days in my entire life without reading (or having a book read to me). But not everyone grows up the way I did and not everyone discovers the wonder of the printed word at an early age, or at all. Not everyone loves to read.
So, you know what?
If Twilight got people reading? If Twilight got people (not just young adults) reading other books? I'm glad. I'm ecstatic!
And you know what else? The next time I get 'the look' followed by the "Oh, I don't read Twilight books" comment - I'm not going to be sad or angry. I'm going to say.
"Well, you should."
Because maybe it's not just Twilight. Maybe Meyer just got really really lucky and her books hit the shelves at exactly the right time. Maybe there are more reluctant readers out there who will pick up a book and read it and love it and READ MORE because of it.
And who am I to judge Twilight fans (or Twilight haters?). Let people assume that all YA books are "Twilight books" and then prove them wrong. Show them how much young adult books have to offer.
I never realized, until today, how much Twilight effected my reading life, in the negative. I've perhaps overlooked books that I shouldn't have. And just as others have judged me because I read "Twilight books" I have judged them for being ignorant. And now, I see, that we are both very very wrong.
So, I ask -- What has Twilight done for you?