Finished Reading Twilight

Well, I finished reading Twilight yesterday afternoon.  I was in the home stretch with less than a hundred pages to go at about 230pm, but the weather was so nice here yesterday that I had to take a break and go for a walk in the sun,  (I checked, but I didn’t sparkle…)  so I didn’t finish until about 530…

 My overall impression was that it was an ‘okay story,’ but I struggled a bit with it because of some obvious reasons:  It was written for a much younger audience than me, it was written in the first person from Bella’s point of view, and it was full of teen angst-y moments which I struggle to relate to at my <ahem> “advanced age.”  Nonetheless, it was a fun read.  I was struck by the fact that – outside of the love story element, and the discovery that the Cullen family were actually vampires – “nothing was really happening” in the book until maybe the last quarter of the book – after the Cullens encounter the other, wandering group of vampires.

I agree with Dale’s assessment in his comment to my earlier post that Stephanie Meyer is not a great writer, but a good storyteller.  He also pointed out that he held a similar opinion of J.K. Rowling (but that “the Twilight saga was no Harry Potter”).  And also, just last night when meeting my friends Tim & Ann Marie for dinner, their daughter Katie pointed out that Harry Potter was better because “…if the world does end in 2012, all the Harry Potter movies will have been out, but NOT all the Twilight movies.”  I like that.  I also have to admit that I read this entire book at home (as opposed to reading on my lunch hour at work or in coffee shops where I also get a lot of reading in). Why?  I was too self-conscious about carrying around “a book that was written for teenage girls.”  I pointed out to one of my nephew’s friends that “Hey, I know a lot of adults who have read the series,” but was quickly rebutted by “I know a LOT MORE fourteen year-old girls who have read it.”  Touché.

 Of course, a lot of other fiction has been written about vampires, and while reading I found myself wondering what did this book bring to the table that was ‘new’ in the genre.  I guess the whole ‘sparkle’ in sunlight thing is new (well, new to me), and I’m not sure if the conversion process for ‘making a new vampire’ was similar to other literature.  I do remember reading through several of the Anne Rice novels back when they were popular, and Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, and of course, the original Dracula by Bram Stoker.  I also realize there are a lot more books out there dealing with this subject matter, although clearly none have reached the level of popular success as this series has.  Will I read the others?  I haven’t decided yet.  I’ve got so much other stuff on my TBR list, that I hate spending time on “fluff” like this.  We’ll see…

What about you?  Are you an “adult” that has read Twilight?  What were your reasons?  Did you go on after finishing the first book of the series?

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10 Comments

  1. Ann Marie said,

    June 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Jay! I know we have discussed this in person, but I’ll also post it on your Blog. I have read all of the Twilight Books. I have to admit that I did most of my reading at home also … for the same reason you did.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that I hate not finishing a book, I probably would have stopped reading halfway through the first book. There was too much angst and nothing was happening. But it did get interesting near the end. The second book starts slow also but gets interesting sooner than the first book. I thought the story lines of the the third and especially the fourth book were the best. I think I would have enjoyed the books better if they hadn’t been written for a teenage audience because I do think they have some interesting aspects. (I guess my opinion would be to skip the love story and just give me the action!)

    She did do a few things that I hadn’t seen before in other vampire stories. I thought that the sunlight not killing them, just making them sparkle was an interesting twist. I also thought the fact that they all had different “special powers” was also interesting. That adds to the story line in the later books. What really gets interesting is when the werewolves make an appearance (in the second book) and the interrelationship between the two.

    If you want to keep reading, let me know. Katie said she would loan her other books to you.

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  2. Dale Barthauer said,

    June 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I read them because I have a 14 year old daughter that is a fanatic. I wanted to see what it was all about and be able to converse with her about them. I can’t remember what I wrote in the other post, but New Moon has a little more action in it. Eclipse is by far the best one. I was on the “edge of my seat” the whole time. Breaking Dawn was a little bizarre and ultimately anti climactic.

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  3. stentorpub said,

    June 7, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    One other funny ‘personal story’ about the Twilight saga: A while back, the Buzztime trivia network had a month where they devoted their weekly “Topix” game to Twilight trivia (or Twihard trivia, I think they called it). Anyway, I was playing trivia at O’Reilly’s Pub downtown when that game rolled around friday night. I – at that point knowing NOTHING about Twilight – was struggling. One question came up that went something like “This character’s attempt to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff failed.” I picked the wrong answer naturally, and commented to a fellow bar patron that “I would’ve thought it would be difficult to fail a suicide attempt by that method…” After which my little bartender friend, Nicole, leaned over and said – in a somewhat sighing, sexy whisper – “Not if a vampire catches you…” I handed my game console to her for the rest of the game.

    Maybe that incident is partly why I decided to read Twilight. 😉

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  4. Jade said,

    June 7, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    As not only a female who has read the series, but a writer who has read the series, my main complaint is that I don’t think Stephenie Meyer is a good writer..she merely came up with a few characters the world had never seen. Vampires are not anything new, but the context in which she put them, and the age range she wrote the novels for had not been seen before. That is the only thing I think keeping her novels alive. As for J.K. Rowling…I believe she is a genius. Not only is the writing ACTUALLY fantastic, she created an entire world we’ve never seen. Before Harry Potter, who would have ever thought about catching golden balls while flying in the air, or magical giants that become your best friend? Anyways..just thought I’d voice my opinion 🙂

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  5. stentorpub said,

    June 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks for your comments, Jade. Your points are well taken, and I think you hit the nail on the head when you compared the ‘world’ that Rowling has created against what Meyer has brought to the table that is ‘new’ and fresh. I suppose it isn’t really logical to compare the two authors & series’ anyway (I know, I “started it”), but I think what happens is people see them both as these huge pop phenomenons and naturally tend to compare them. My curiosity about why this or that is so popular has led me to read many books I might not have normally read. This was a big factor in my recent read through the “Millenium Series” (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, etc.), and was probably the only factor in my reading Twilight. (Well, that and the fact that someone gave me a copy for my birthday a couple weeks ago). Hope you are enjoying your summer!

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  6. Jeff said,

    June 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I just want to voice my opinion on this topic. While this subject matter is nothing new, I have to disagree about Stephanie Meyers abilities as a writer. She is GREAT! Now while there was a little too much romance for my liking, you have to admit she did create a whole new world that nobody else thought of. And made it her own. There are memorable characters galore who have to make life changing decisions left and right. The only real complaint I have with the series is the whole stepping into sunlight and ” Glittering” like Edward just sprayed on some kind of sun tan lotion that sparkles in sunlight. How lame is that. But that would be my one and only complaint there. Aside from the romance aspect that is. And I can just barely relate to the teen angt stuff, being that I am in my thirties now. And this series was most definately not written for teenage girls.Well…. maybe, maybe not…. who knows besides Stephanie Meyers herself. But with the content in all the books in this series, I for one think it appeals to audiences of all ages. Young or just young at heart. And maybe I am just a little biased, because I didn’t pick up the series until watching the first 2 movies. But that aside, I think I still would have pick them up anyway.

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  7. stentorpub said,

    June 9, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Thanks for your comments, Jeff, and thanks for visiting my blog! You are certainly not alone in your sentiments about Meyer and her work. I think part of what makes this reading a bit less natural for me is that it is written in the first person with Bella (i.e. a female) being the narrator. I’ve noted before (and recently, when I read Outlander by Diane Gabaldon), that it’s hard to get comfortable reading in that voice if you’re male and if you haven’t read many books in that voice before. It all comes down to a matter of personal taste anyway. If you’re enjoying a book, and the pages keep turning (which they did when I read Twilight), that’s enough for me.

    This reminds me a bit of a recent ‘debate’ my book club had when we read James Patterson’s The Quickie (there’s a link to my book club’s site on the margin of this blog, and if you navigate to prior books, the quickie, I think I included a link to an on-line debate/commentar regarding this issue). Of course, Patterson sells millions and millions of books – in spite of no one ever having mistaken him for a great, “literary giant.” And, though he is often maligned as a writer, think of all the people who are reading him that otherwise might not be reading at all.

    One other comment on books that become ‘phenomenally’ popular. I’ve often wondered if the writers realize when they’re done writing that “Boy, I really have something here! This is going to set the world on fire!”, or if everytime they write something they feel that way, and it’s a crap shoot how the public will receive it. Earlier this year, I went to a book discussion about Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and I posed that same question. (I guess in this case, the book may not be described as a ‘phenomenon’ such as HP & the Twilight saga have become, but it certainly has become an iconic novel in American culture). I opined that I “like to think maybe the author did know (or at least have some inkling)” that a book would have the impact that it did, but as a group we didn’t come to any collective agreement on the subject.

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  8. Ann Marie said,

    June 13, 2010 at 8:00 am

    FYI. For those of you who liked the Twilight books, Stephanie Meyers has written a novella about Bree Tanner, one of the newborn vampires from Eclipse. It is available free online until July 5 at http://ld-breetannerbook.libredigital.com/index.html. (Wish I was Jay the Benevolent Dictator so I could put a link in here.) I just found it this morning so I haven’t read it yet. I’ll let you know what I think of it.

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  9. Ann Marie said,

    June 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Finished reading The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Since it had been so long since I had read Eclipse, it took awhile for me to remember which newbie vampire she was. It was pretty interesting and a quick read (only 178 pages long). It was an enjoyable diversion.

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  10. stentorpub said,

    June 14, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I saw this book ‘all over’ the downtown Borders window displays this weekend. Apparently they’re hoping not everyone knows you can read it for free for the next few weeks.

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