Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Hit and a Miss

There are some books that as a librarian who talks about books with kids, I feel that I HAVE to read.

The Twilight books are the bane of my life.
God bless Stephenie Meyer and her books for the impact they have had on young readers.
When a kid comes in to a junior high library to check out New Moon and tells you that she has already read the book three times "but I just HAD to read it today!" I take note.

When a teacher tells you about her summer trip to Seattle to retrace the characters' lives...well, that is fandom -- pure and devoted.

Alas, over the past year, I have been unable to make headway in the first book despite urgings and strong encouragement from all sides.

C-a-n-n-o-t f-o-r-c-e my eyeballs across the page.

So, I got the audiobook to listen to and despite some setbacks, (zzzzzzzzzzzz...zzzz....zzz...zz, Mom, wake up, I'm finished with my voice lesson) finally managed to finish the book yesterday.

I can see why young readers are so attracted to the story; to think someone so suave and handsome and sophisticated would find a high school girl so mesmerizing and irresistible. That is heady stuff. And certainly the ongoing tension of the story--will Edward chomp Bella--is sort of thrilling-ish...kinda...maybe...

When I told a friend I was listening to the book, she groaned..."Don't listen to it, it is not as good."
Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it. I can't say I enjoyed the audiobook narration. It was just so s-l-o-w.

I found myself bracing and steeling for each usage of the "I" personal pronoun which seems to occur about every five seconds.

Despite my love of YA literature, I think it is interesting that I was unable to disconnect my maternal monitor while I listened to this book. There were times I wanted to stop the story and ask Bella about her college and career plans.

At least I've finished it. Don't know if I will continue with the series. My friend told me the Twilight fans break into two groups and she thinks I have potential as a New Mooner? She is not giving up on me. We will see.


I have been trying to read Garth Nix's Sabriel ever since one of my students told me to read it...oh my...at least five years ago.
Michelle at Scholar's Blog has similarly exhorted me to read the books.

I've picked it up to read and watched it slowly sink lower and lower in the TBR pile. When Nix spoke at TLA I purchased the entire Abhorsen trilogy and had him sign them. My youngest entling, who had previously been uninterested, took them up as soon as I got home. I think she has read them at least a dozen times since then.

I tried the audiobook but just could not fall into the story, until this past week.
Timing is everything.
I have been away in the Old Kingdom for quite a while now. I cannot wait to get on with the series now.

Tim Curry's narration is brilliant, marvelous, pitch perfect. His character voicing is distinct but never forced.


Laura said...

My 17-yr-old daughter loves Stephanie Meyers's books. I admit I don't see what the attraction is, but since she reads everything I recommend to her I have no room to complain.

Erin said...

Yeah, I didn't really like Twilight. At all. But recently I read New Moon, and I really liked that, a lot. :)

Anonymous said...

A friend bought me the Nix trilogy and warned me that the first was only so so, that things picked up in the 2nd and it was impossible to put down by the third. I persevered because of this, and was glad I did. The trilogy is a good whole, starting scattered but gaining strength and speed.

tanita✿davis said...

Oh, Camille, you brave soul.
I have to admit that I got through the first Meyer book far more easily than you, but I don't have a maternal monitor to disconnect -- I have smack-monitor and I had to resist the urge to brain her repeatedly... I choked halfway through the second book, and haven't found the courage to begin again.

Also: I have NEVER managed any of the Abhorsen trilogy. EVER. And I have previously felt ashamed, because I do like Garth Nix. Now I shall try again...

Lisa said...

I really didn't love Twilight. I didn't have to force myself through it, but I did not want to read the rest, and haven't.

Lady S. said...

I sympathize with your need to read the Meyer books. I read the first ages ago, when there wasn't that much buzz about it, and could happily say 'Meh' and leave it there. (And like you, want to take Bella in hand and give her a good talking-to!)

Oddly - both my older daughter and I had just the same experience with Sabriel - and ended up loving it. I was disappointed in the second two, which I thought in need of much tighter editing, and she didn't read them, but we both wondered what had been wrong in the timing on the first Sabriel attempt.

Anonymous said...

Ditto. Not my cup of tea. As a friend of mine once said, "I can sum up the silliness of this book in two words: Vampire baseball."

Camille said...

I know girls who have never been readers who are so taken with this story that they are reading avidly for the first time in their lives. "do you have another book like Twilight?" I really do salute Meyer for that.

When you listen to a book, you experience it and remember it in a different way. I had almost forgotten. Now that you mention it, what WAS the deal with the whole vampire baseball thing and why did it have to be raining and thundering???

Gail Gauthier said...

I actually liked Twilight. I like the occasional vampire story, anyway, and I enjoyed the mystery behind the early part of the relationship enough that I was able to look past some of the slow passages and the repeated mannerisms.

I didn't like New Moon as much and Eclipse--well, let's just say that if your maternal monitor was bothered by Twilight, it will probably overheat reading Eclipse.

Camille said...

OK, now I have to get to Eclipse. As the mother of girls I kept wanting to shake her and say, c'mon girl, you've got an SAT prep class to get to--enough of the mooning about here."

I do think the audiobook was a mistake. I WAS warned.

Sherry said...

That's funny, Camille. I must admit that on some YA books my "maternal monitor" beeps loud and strong. But I just read read all three of the Meyer vampire books over my blog break, and I liked them. I stole them from my daughter's room and read all three in about that many days. I don't usually like romance novels unless there's something else there to keep me interested, and the vampires and other assorted characters (New Moon) kept me reading because I wanted to see how these characters would "work out." What were the "rules" and how could Bella co-exist, much less have a romantic relationship, with such dangerous characters? In other words, my reading was plot-driven, and I was intrigued by the novelty of it all. I don't think I've ever read any other vampire books, not even Dracula.

Gail Gauthier said...

I'm a mother of sons, and I still wanted to sit that girl down and try to talk some sense into her.

In the first book, and maybe the second, I felt that the over-the-top, throw-all-caution-to-the-wind attitude toward her dream man probably worked because teen girls have a reputation for being that way. (Forgive me if I'm wrong. I don't have much experience with teen girls and may be working from a stereotype.) But by the third book, I thought Bella was bordering on tragic.

Camille said...

I think I have been sold on finishing the series now. Woah, "tragic." I think you are correct about the teen girl thing. It is funny that my own "teen" girl will not touch the book--and she read everything. She loves Tamora Pierce.

My oldest daughter says she wants to read it because all the "good kid" girls that she interviews for a weekly column in her newspaper, cite Twilight as their favorite book (one of the standard questions.) She told me she wants to see what it is about because she hears about it so often.

It is a force of nature.