Reading Twilight IS Better than Not Reading

Matthew’s shoulders curved around his open paperback, the fabric of his company polo shirt stretched drum-head tight across his upper back, and his head was kept aloft by the palm of his left hand.  His left elbow was jabbed in into his right leg, which was draped quite lady-like across his left knee.  His right foot swayed to the squealing arrhythmic motion of the light rail train as it crossed the cesspool ponds that isolate Baltimore City from Anne Arundel County…

I read random books.  Mostly, I read books that people give to me or that I find lying around the house.  Sometimes I read books that have cool titles or cool covers.  I don’t really have a favorite genre, though I’ve read more Science Fiction and Fantasy novels than any other genre.  You can call me a nerd, I don’t mind.  I’ve been called worse.  I was driving some teenagers home from church a couple days ago and they were encouraging me to read the Twilight series.  I just smiled and nodded.  Truth is, while that may not be the best literature in the world, it is refreshing to see that kids are reading and not just watching TV and movies.  I think it’s better they read Twilight than read nothing at all.

My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo, and I’ve managed to convince several of my friends either directly or indirectly to read it.  No one has been disappointed yet.  True, not all of them place it atop their top 10 as I do, but I don’t know anyone who has read it and not enjoyed it.  So the question becomes, how much does it differ from Twilight, Harry Potter, and any number of mass consumer books that are coming out now?

Yeah, Count is aimed at an older audience.  I’m sure there are serials out there that have a similar tone and scope and audience.  Outside intended audience, the similarities are pretty high, though.  Like Twilight and H.P., Count is a serial.  I think of it kind of as the 1800s equivalent of a show like Lost.

Aside:  If you didn’t know, TV was invented relatively recently and those shows you’re addicted to with the weekly “to be continued…” are an offshoot of when people would divert themselves by reading books and periodicals.  Get this; they didn’t even have the Internet and had to actually read the printed word…

I imagine the Twilight series is kind of a progressive serial where characters are continuously developed over the series.  I know Harry Potter is this way.  I proudly read (and loved) that series.  Count was aimed at the populace, not the elite readers.  It’s appeal was broad, containing swashbuckling, thin philosophy, intrigue, romance and probably most obvious, vengeance!  Harry Potter certainly had many of these elements.

People say they can’t read Count because it is between 1000 and 1400 pages depending on how big the font is in the book you have.  Hello, the Harry Potter books all together eclipse this easily.  Twilight I’m sure does, too.  Lots of you objectors have plowed through Twilight, H.P., and any number of other serials.

Serials are just good.  They’re fun.  I’ve actually never seen an episode of Lost, but I have seen its addictive impact on my friends.  I felt the same way watching Battlestar Galactica, which you seriously seriously need to watch if you haven’t already.  Have I ever steered you wrong?  I’ve been into serial books for a long time.  I’ve read nearly 100 Star Wars novels, nine Sword of Truth books, ten Wheel of Time books, The Vampire Chronicles and many more…

I like “literature” too, don’t get me wrong.  I just finished the Pulitzer winning A Confederacy of Dunces.

Here’s the last 20 books I’ve read.  They encompass a six-month time span (like I’ve said before, I’m a really slow reader).  I liked all of these books.  Some of them I loved.  I’m just sort of the kind of guy that loves whatever he’s reading right then or whatever movie he’s watching right then (unless it really sucks).

I still probably won’t read Twilight, but more because I’m a nearly 29-year-old man and would be tragically embarrassed.

Books:

1.  Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
2.  A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
3.  Memorial Day by Vince Flynn
4.  Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester
5.  Greedy Bastard Tour Diary by Eric Idle
6.  The Hidden Man by Anthony Flacco
7.  Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
8.  Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
9.  If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell
10.  A Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs
11.  Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
12.  The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
13.  On The Edge by Richard Hammond
14.  Potty Wise by Gary Ezzo
15.  Daddy Needs a Drink by Robert Wilder
16.  Simply Effective by Ron Ashkenas
17.  Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara
18.  A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
19.  Crazy Love by Francis Chan
20.  The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose
21.  The Rising Tide by Jeff Shaara

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8 thoughts on “Reading Twilight IS Better than Not Reading

  1. You’re hilarious. Still no immediate plans to begin watching Battlestar Galactica. I at least need to wait until Lost is finished, and maybe until Southland gets canceled again, before I start watching a new show. Seriously.

    This post is link city! Did you like Daddy Needs a Drink? I recently ordered Hush Up and Listen Stinky Poo Butt by Ken Sparling, which appears from the description to be similar in tone, but I haven’t gotten it yet.

    Which of the books on your list would you most recommend?

    1. 1. I thought Daddy Needs a Drink was akin to a blog (which it was extracted from). It would have been better to read each chapter in isolation with weeks between. Reading straight through was somewhat boring. That said, there are some hilarious stories in it (and some that I think Wilder thought were funny and I thought were stupid). If you read it, get it from the library and get another book, too, just in case.

      2. Books to read:

      Geek Love by Dunn – awesomely creepy

      The Buzzing by Knipful – delightfully pulpy and a nerdy, paranoid take on Spillane-style mystery

      The 10th Gift – Kind of silly (it’s a Romance, fundamentally) but has some interesting Barbary Pirate/Modern Moroccan culture that is very interest piquing

      Ender’s Game – possibly one of the best Sci-Fi’s I’ve ever read – very quick read

      A Canticle for Leibowitz – a post-apocalyptic satire of the struggle between knowledge and power (best book I’ve read this year)

      If Chins Could Kill – Surprisingly not that funny but great exposure of what it’s like to be a “working class” actor.

      A Year of Living Biblically – This was good, but make sure to keep in mind that the author is a very secular guy.

      On the Edge – This was a great story about family and love and patience between a husband and wife which you probably would not expect. There were points in this book that made me tear up with joy at their commitment.

      Rise to Rebellion – Great book that goes deep into the politics that led to the American Revolution. Very good. In the vain of The Killer Angels.

      Crazy Love – One of the more convicting books I’ve ever read.

      Tell me if you plan to read any specifically so we can talk about it. I LOVE talking about books.

  2. Hey! I finished A Confederacy of Dunces. It’s aptly named because literally everyone in that book is an idiot. I liked it. I think it would make a great stage play, simply because of the physicality of the characters (Ignatius being the obvious one, but also his mother always throwing herself on the floor, or Jones’ animated dialog. Woah!) and the slapstick feel of the humor.

    Aristotle said, “It is obvious that the solutions of plots should come about as a result of the plot itself.” In Confederacy, you can literally feel the drawstrings of the plot tightening throughout the story, as characters collide and react in ridiculous ways. So on the one hand, you can see how the author carefully crafted each event to achieve his harmonious purpose, but on the other hand, nothing really surprises us. Except maybe Myrna showing up at the end. Did you feel that Ignatius really changed and learned to show gratitude when he kissed her braids? I loved the ambiguity.

  3. Also, I looked for a bunch of those books on the Caroline Library website, but, surprise, surprise, they don’t have most of them. Grr.

    1. That’s a bummer. I do not think Ignatius really changed. Who was your favorite? I really like Gus Levy. I thought that while he was sort of a loser, he was really getting the short end of the stick from a lot of people. I LOVED reading the dialog from Jones, whoa!

      This has been conceptualized as a play and movie but has never materialized. I really hope it does.

  4. I have to agree with you, Gus Levy was a star. He was the most “normal” of all the characters. Come to think of it, he wasn’t really an idiot, so I guess he ruined the curve a little. His dialog with his harpy of a wife could get a little tiresome because she was just.so.godawful, but they could also be funny together, like when she kept telling him to leave her exercise board out of it. Jones may have been my ultimate favorite, though. He was a very cool cat.

    1. Do you think this book is worthy of the praises it has received over time? Can you steer me toward other books that may be similar in tone?

  5. You could try more Southern lit, although most of it is so darn serious (I’m thinking Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, Willy Faulkner). You could try some Mark Twain you’ve never read. John Kennedy Toole also wrote another book, called “The Neon Bible.” Amazon just recommended for me a book called “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal,” which looks really funny, and another recommendation I found for a book similar to Confederacy is “An Evening of Long Goodbyes: A Novel” by Paul Murray.

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