While we’re on the subject of books . . .
When I was in seventh grade, I was on a writing spree. I wrote two large (150+ pages of looseleaf note paper, front and back) “books” that were the accomplishment of that year. Those books focused on my friends and I and our “meetings” with certain celebrities – more specifically, the Backstreet Boys (I was a little obsessed). While not well-written by any means, I realize now that if I had stuck with it, I could have had had an award winning Young Adult book series, because my books were undoubtedly 100 times more well written than a little popular book series known as the Twilight series. In fact, if you had changed my character’s love affair with the lead singer of BSB to a vampire and set it in western U.S., you would have probably Twilight, only better.
Now, perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “Well, of course you don’t like the Twilight books. You were an English major and all English majors are book snobs and cannot see past their Dickinson and Shakespeare and Wordsworth.” To which I would reply, that yes, in a former life, I was an English major, but now I am a seventh grade language arts teacher, which means that none of those writers exist in my professional life at all. In fact, in the past six months, I spend more time talking about myspace and the Jonas Brothers and Judy Blume than I ever do of any “weighty” author. In addition, anyone who knows me knows that I am a lover of popular, Young Adult literature series: Harry Potter, Eragon, Lemony Snicket, His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass). I would in no way consider myself a book snob in that regards because I truly love reading that genre of books.
So, when a friend recommended the Twilight books to me, and another acquaintance mentioned how she liked them MORE than Harry Potter (heresy!), and when more and more of my students started reading them, I decided I needed to give them a go. Luckily, I borrowed the book from one of my students and did not spend any money on the book, because it would be the first time I could truly say I regretted spending money on a book in my life. I cannot even describe my disappointment and frustration at this book. I cannot believe that this book is a New York Times Best seller and critically acclaimed and – this is the clincher – still being published!
One of my favorite song writers and bloggers wrote about it best in his own blog. You can read it here:
I was considering reading the second book after I finished the first one, to see if it got any better, but I have decided that my time would be better spend reading GOOD books. While I am sometimes critical of popular, contemporary fiction (i.e. The Lovely Bones, The DaVinci Code), I have never been so shocked at the popularity of such a badly written book (and its sequels). As a person, I feel as though I should be protesting this book in the streets. The catch 22 is, however, that it is getting my students to read, which is always a goal of mine, so,unfortunately, I have to live with seeing twenty copies of the book trailing through my classroom every day, and numerous posters and pictures of the movie being plastered on folders and daily agendas and binders right before my very eyes. I wonder if I can convince these kids to read any Wordsworth?
However, I do realize now why my seventh graders like the books so much. It is because it is written exactly like a seventh grader would write a book!