[quote]John Roman wrote:
If you’ll excuse the plug for my site, I actually reviewed Twilight on my blog. Thought you guys might enjoy it.
I haven’t read them, nor do I really ever plan to. But I do agree based on what little I know of the plot that it’s incredibly dumb. It’s only saving grace in my opinion is that it has people reading… or watching movies and then reading.[/quote]
Gotta agree with you there. It’s like the Harry Potter books suddenly made it popular for kids to not only read but to actually read 500+ page books! Back when I was a kid, I was a nerd for voluntarily reading scifi novels and long books like those by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Since the whole J.K. Rowling phenomenon, the taste for reading fantasy novels (good or bad) hasn’t let up a bit. If you look around a bookstore, those books are coming out of the woodwork and selling to the kids like hotcakes. You’ve got Artemis Fowl, Charlie Bone, Spiderwick Chronicles, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and now Twilight and a slew of other vampire imitators.
Harry Potter really is a wizard. He made it cool for kids to read.[/quote]
You bring up a point I often make when talking about HP and Twilight.
One thing about me is that I am a hopeless bibliophile. Books are my love and scifi/fantasy is my true pleasure–sometimes a guilty one.
I have read LotR once per year, every single year from the time I was 8. I am about to begin again (I normally read it over the holidays).
I believe that it is important to read the Lord of the Rings. Not just because I love it, and not just because it is a great book, but because it influenced literally every single book that has been published since it was written. The fact that it is the second best selling book of all time (after the bible) notwithstanding, LotR is what we’d call a game changer. In addition to creating a Anglican Mythos, it created an entire genre.
Harry Potter, likewise, was more than a series about a boy wizard: it was a full on cultural phenomenon. Not only did Harry inspire an entire generation of children to start reading, he did just what you mentioned: proved that sci-fi fantasy could be cool, and even where kids were concerned, could be a commercially viable prospect–intensely so.
Regarding Twilight: at this point I don’t think we can argue that it’s taken on a life of it’s own, and is a culture phenomenon. And based on that, I think if you are like me and you just love books, it’s worth picking up. When a book gets this much attention, I simply cannot abide not reading it.
One of the only things I enjoy more than reading is pop-culture and social responses to it. Twilight fascinates me, based on that.
I certainly didn’t care for the books, but I have to say this: for someone like me, not reading them wasn’t a possibility.
I’ll say this, though: Harry Potter earned his place–not only did I enjoy those books immensely, I also understand why they became popular.
With Twilight, I’m still a bit befuddled.
Ultimately, I think this: At the end of all of this, Harry Potter and his stories will have a comfortable place on the Bookshelf of Classics. Despite his later arrival, he will have a place on the same shelf as Frodo and Sam, Tom and Huck, Oliver Twist, Holden Caufield, Tyler Durden, John Galt, Robinson Crusoe, Dorothy Gale and Sherlock Holmes.
I say that with confidence.
Edward and Bella will be forgotten.