Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What has Twilight done for you?

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.

"The what?"

"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.

BUT THEN!

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?

12 comments:

  1. I own the Twilight books but have yet to read them. I've seen the first two movies and was left feeling pretty "meh" about them. However, I agree that if the Twilight series has gotten teens and adults reading, especially reluctant readers, more power to them. Hopefully, it just leads them to searching out other genres in their bookstore or library. We need more readers in the world since engaging with any book is far more edifying than sitting in front of the boob tube all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've read the series, and thought they were okay (the first 3, at least). I also did not expect it to become SO popular! But anyway, what has Twilight done for me? It opened up the YA genre to me! I used to never read YA books (only 'adult' books), but I have come to the dark side ... hahaha.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hate when people make Twilight assumptions. When I write a book review for any YA novel- and there happens to be anything paranormal and more than one potential love interest for the main character there are people that jump to the Twilight conclusion- even if there is no romance or vampires in the book.

    I have been steering adult readers to the YA section for years, Twilight and Hunger Games have only made it more acceptable to the leary and those that care about what others think about their reading choices.

    I will say that I really liked the series on my first reading- but I was pregnant and highly hormonal at the time and have grown to like it a little less with the hype and a second look.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And on the topic of people dismissing YA (if not specifically Twilight), your post reminded me of this one over on a library blog: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2011/are-you-reading-ya-lit-you-should-be/

    YA lit rocks! Glad to see folks steppin' up and out to bring more folks over to the "dark side," as Jinny says.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very interesting, Emily. Had me giggling all the way through. Have to admit I have been guilty of the Twilight Effect. But as much as things about the series and its effects annoyed me, you are right. If it got kids and even adults reading that might normally not have, then who am I to judge? I guess I should just be happy to have these people reading in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a brilliant post.
    I'm one of those people who discovered YA because of Twilight. For that I will always be happy and grateful. I love the Twilight has gotten so many people discovering YA.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow. I never realised how much of an effect Twilight had. I mean, yes, I realised that more people than I like to think read and loved the series but I never realised the other effects it had. I've felt some of those effects myself such as a dislike of the 'insta-relationship' and the 'mean, stalker-like Mr. Right'. But reading is reading. Not everyone likes all the books I do. That's why different books have different audiences. If Twilight got people reading, I'm happy. Hopefully, as they keep reading, they'll discover some of the gems the book world has to offer.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hate it when people assume that all YA books are just like Twilight. I am not going to lie, I loved Twilight, and I was a little crazy at first, but I was reading wayy before Twilight became so popular. I love YA and when I recommend books to other people, I really wish that there wasn't that stereotype and that people wouldn't be so quick to judge.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm right there when I see a book that's blurbed as 'fans of the Twilight series will love this book' I put it right back down. They're targeting a very specific audience, of which I am not a part. Maybe it's great and I'll miss it. I'm okay with that. I don't want to read another Twilight.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Twilight has got me reading - Can you believe I had never picked up a book for fun before that? I discovered a world I adore thanks to Twlight, and even though looking back it wasn't all that good, it was the sprak which started my reading frenzy!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am guilty of not liking Twilight or anything that's compared to Twilight. I just can't help - I wouldn't call myself a Twilight hater, but I can definitely say I hate Twilight.

    I am happy others are discovering YA and discovering reading because of this series - i'm all for that! But for me, personally, it's just not something I like and would appreciate for myself. I say, read what you want, hate what you want, love what you want.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have to say a big THANK YOU to the Twilight series! I was always what you'd call a closet YA reader being almost 30 years old. I actually felt that people would judge me for reading a YA book! Imagine!! What a dope I was! I'd sit at my desk carefully conceling my Melissa Marr book. All of a sudden I saw the girls walking to the staff lounge with their Twilight books, out in the open! I quickly gathered up my lunch and joined them. I am now proud to read my YA in public!!! And I did read all the Twilight books, they were ok. I think Twilight started a sort of "Mob Mentality" we all learn about in Psyc101. That could explain the crazies?!

    ReplyDelete



Thanks a bunch for visiting :)