Unlikely Aristotle

Book(s) of the Week: The Twilight Saga (Stephenie Meyer) | August 22, 2009

This is going to be a book review… and a confession. I always thought of myself as a ‘serious’ reader. I was just so damn arrogant all the time! After getting bored of Danielle Steel novels, my teen reading years were filled with this crazy theory. I thought that the only way I could ever appreciate true literature was to start from the beginning. I must read all the classics, like the classic classics, in order to be able to fathom stepping into modern literature. What’s wrong with me?

I spent most of my teen years reading Homer, Tolstoy, Bronte, Austen, Hawthorne, Shakespeare, the dreaded D.H. Lawrence, etc. The result? I can whizz through a more ‘modern’ book, because it’s not weighted down with five pages of descriptions of the maiden’s dress, or what not. I still love many classics, but thankfully, I soon got over this obsession with conquering the classics, and more interested in the 20th (and now the 21st) century works.

Still, I was arrogant. After having read the greats, would I deign to look at a Danielle Steel novel again? Who do these people think they are to come up against the giants of centuries past? I was SO DAMN ARROGANT.

So, I come home from college for the summer, and see that my sister has bought me a set of books as a present. That’s to be expected, most of my birthday presents were (saved me a ton of money, too!). However, the set was a collection of the Twilight series. I gaped at the offensive box in my room, trying to understand what went into my sister’s shaky train of thought as she came to this decision. My sister’s not as much a fan of books as I am, so I’m pretty sure she just picked out what seemed to be the most popular at the time. Fair enough.

Did I mention how arrogant I was? Damn arrogant. I refused to lower myself to that tweeny standard. I defied the black and red box in my room, going on to spend my summer with more modern classics: Harper Lee (finally!), Tolkien, Pynchon, Orhan Pamuk, and so on. All fun, all thought-provoking, all very grand and glorious.

And as my list of books started to dwindle down, I figured, why the hell not. I might as well read one of them to tell people how much it sucked and how painful it was to read.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

So I read the first one, Twilight, finished it in a day.

Pfft, I thought, I think this Meyer chick gets paid by the adjective. Also, what a waste of trees! The pages had what felt like a two inch margin all around! Maybe I’ll read the second one too, you know, just to see if it sucks as suckily as the first sucky book.

So I read the second book, New Moon, finished it in two days.

Gaaaah, was my first thought, why is this Bella girl so maddening? I hate her to bits! She’s so obnoxious, so self-deprecating, she might as well be saying ‘PLEASE PITY ME’, it would be more honest! And glittering vampires? WTF! This is nauseating. You know what? I can’t take this anymore, I’m going to go read Moby Dick to get the proverbial bad taste out of my mouth.

In one week, I had read about 80 pages. FAIL.

Yeah, so maybe I’ll go read the third one, you know, so I can have more reasons to hate Bella Swan?

So I read the third book, Eclipse, finished it in two days.

Grrr… my inner voice was getting weaker. I had a mini identity crisis for the rest of the day. By the way, remember when I said my books were dwindling? I lied about that. I have no less than 30 other books waiting for me, and that’s just at home. Back in my apartment where I go to college, I’m pretty sure it’s over 50 unread little (and big) gems. And I was reading the Twilight series. What’s wrong with me? Am I regressing? Has my IQ decreased for enjoying the inane, asinine, ridonkulous musings of the world’s most FUCKING ANNOYING teenager?

No, I just like the books.

So I read the final book, Breaking Dawn, finished it in two days.

I liked it. I liked all of them! Don’t get me wrong, I still think Bella is the most annoying character in the history of liter- umm, the printed word. But, dammit, I still like those damn books. I’m secretly grateful to my sister for the gift. Secretly, because I’m too damn arrogant to admit that I like it! It’s like when I sometimes buy Happy Meals because it’s just so fun, but never mention it to anyone… yep I’ve done it. So that’s two confessions now.

I enjoy this treacly, pathetic excuse of a novel. It’s fun to read, and if another one happens to come out, damn it, I’m going out there to BUY it.

Ok, I believe in the power of three, so let me make one more confession.

I hate Moby Dick.

I’m still going to read it, though, because I never leave a book unfinished. But I wish so deeply that I never created this rule for myself. If there would be an exception, this would be it. Why does this guy feel the need to write a chapter about the importance of whales in history, a chapter about the greatness of the color white, a chapter about his version of the classification of whales… Ever heard of an editor, Melville?

I know, shock horror gasp, I don’t like the damn book. How could I be so treacherous? Turning away from the ‘great American novel’ and preferring Twilight? Well, it’s true guys. No one in my real life will ever know this about me, because I’m too chicken-shit to admit it in real life. I like the image I’ve built up for myself as some sort of book expert. Do you know what this would do to my cred? Well, my anonymous Internet Friends, now you know this about me, and though you will never know who I really am, you will know that somewhere in the world, floating around cyberspace, are the words of literary apostasy.

My guiltiest pleasure

My guiltiest pleasure

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3 Comments »

  1. Excellent site, keep up the good work

    Comment by Bill Bartmann — September 2, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  2. Thank you very much for this nice review and for sharing your personal story. I have to agree the story itself of the Twilight Saga is not very good, but there is something about it that makes you continue reading it without a pause. I never figured out what exactly it is, but it doesn’t matter, because I love these books. By the way, “The host” from Stephenie Meyer is quite good as well. It is surely worse a try.

    Comment by Verena — September 3, 2009 @ 7:53 am

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