Sunday, January 1, 2017

Does It Surprise You that I love TWILIGHT?

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to 2017! May the year bring us opportunities to make ourselves and the world a better place.

Our topic to kick off the new year is The Book People Might Be Surprised To Learn You Love & Why.

I mulled this for some time - because "love" is a strong word. But the books I truly love come as no surprise to anyone.

Thus, I'm picking Twilight.

I've written defenses of this book on a few occasions, so it might not come as a surprise to longtime readers. But I had a conversation with one of my readers recently where she was shocked that I liked this book and series. I wouldn't necessarily say I love this book - though I did when I first read it - but I've kept the series on my shelves and I reference it in teaching.

The book bowled me over when it came out - and a bookseller friend handed it to me. I read it before all the hype, which helped with my expectations. I think it's an amazing example of what can be achieved with building amazing sexual tension in an entirely chaste relationship. More than that - and this is what I explained to my reader friend - this book lit up a huge number of readers. I know so many adults who said this was the first book they'd read since graduating from school. Any number of my favorite book bloggers, the most wonderful and supportive of people, started out as Twilight fans and moved on to read more books in the genre. (For example, Jen Twimon and What's Beyond Forks.)

When books become hugely popular like this one (and series) did, often there's a phenomenon of criticism. Praise begins to feel fatuous - after all, everyone has already gushed - and it's satisfying in some odd way to point out how it's not all THAT wonderful. Look, a flaw!!

But my point is that this book enchanted me. I bet I bought easily five more copies in those early days and gave them to friends, who also loved it. We read the series and discussed it. I had friends whose kids went to midnight release parties to get the next book which - believe me - had simply NEVER happened before that. One friend's 12-year-old son asked her to lie to his friends when they called, answering the phone and telling them he was doing chores, so he could read the new release undisturbed - and without being mocked. That's a powerful story.

So yes, I love Twilight. I love it with the nostalgic affection of how much it initially seized my heart and imagination and sucked me in, as only the best stories do. And I love what it did for reading and for the fantasy and paranormal genre overall.