August 21st, 2010, 02:13 PM
I have no particular beef with Twilight either. I've read the first three books, I will also read the fourth one when the movie draws closer. I do, however, laugh at the idea that popular = good. Yes, to become popular, you DO need some level of quality. But that level varies, depending on the target audience, and with vampire romance, it is not very high. Meyer's books are competently written, the second being better than the first, and the third - far worse. They are, however, very mediocre and definitely not the best even in her genre, as it is shared with Ann Rice (whom I don't respect too much either, mind you, but she IS a better writer).
August 21st, 2010, 02:26 PM
It all depends on who is defining the word "quality" and to get back to my earlier point, whether they are capable of keeping that definition separate from their personal taste. Most people are not, ergo low-quality books are considered "good."
Originally Posted by kirk
August 21st, 2010, 02:33 PM
As soon as you bring up the word quality, you miss my premise. I'm not talking about "I think book is better than this book" because that is so completely subjective that it can't be used as any measure. I'm saying it takes some type of skill to achieve the amount of popularity Stephanie Meyer has, which is not at all the same type of skill it takes to write a book of literary quality.
Popularity does not equal quality, I agree. But when you're going for popularity and you achieve popularity than by golly, you've done something right. And not many have achieved popularity to the degree Meyer has. It isn't literary skill, it's the ability to know what her audience wants to read and give them exactly that. And she's done it as well as almost any writer. That is what makes her a great writer.
August 21st, 2010, 02:59 PM
Cranky old broad
The book's popularity fed on itself. Teenagers especially want to follow the herd, read what their friends are reading. Plus, the story is Dick and Jane simple. There's no need to "read between the lines", figure out a theme or a deeper meaning. It's all right there on the page. It's a big fat book that anyone can read and understand. (The "big fat" part is important too.)
Originally Posted by molybdenum
I know some adult Twilight fans. They recognize that the books are crap, but they say they connected with the book on an emotional level.
That's what Meyer got right -- the emotional stuff. But the book lacks everything else that makes a book objectively "good" -- characterization, sense of place, continuity, thoughtful word choice, realistic dialogue -- and most important in my opinion, respect for the reader.
I don't care what anyone else reads, but I reserve the right to scoff when anyone tries to tell me that the Twilight books represent good writing.
August 21st, 2010, 03:30 PM
I'm sorry would someone be so kind to point out for me this amazing "emotional element" everyone appears to be so fond of in it? I'm afraid I may have missed it. Poor reading skills I suppose.
August 21st, 2010, 03:52 PM
It's hidden beneath the blatant mysoginism ^_^
There was one brilliant literary thing in New Moon btw. It is the part where Bella is devastated and the months just fly by. This was represented with blank pages with a month's name written in bold in the middle. I liked it. It had the right impact.
Otherwise - no, the books are rubish.
As for the "she must be doing something right to be so popular", I have noticed that ever since Harry Potter, people expect a ultra popular YA book-turn-movie series. I am inclined to believe that but for blind luck and circumstance, Meyer's series could have been completely ignored in favor of some other similar series.
August 21st, 2010, 06:22 PM
Originally Posted by Roland 85
If the entire book was done that way I would definitely consider reading it.
August 21st, 2010, 07:17 PM
I want to be aware of what's going on in popular culture. Not having read the Twilight books means missing on a ton of refferences all over the place, and considering they each take up no more than a couple of evenings, it's not much of a bother.
August 22nd, 2010, 01:47 AM
I've never read the Twilight books. My wife tried and got as far as the 3rd before she was seized by an overwhelming urge to reach into the book and throttle Bella for being incredibly whiny and annoying. I've seen the 1st film, and I know enough about the books to get most of the pop culture references made to them without having to read them.
The Twilight boom has affected YA publishing, there's barely a month that goes by without a plethora of Twlightish books being released and they all seem to be branded with the whole 'next Twilight' or 'if you loved Twilight' blurb. Even the books that point out all that sucks about being a teenage vampire seem to be turning into their own subgenre.
The unfortunate knock on effect of this is publishers and agents are turning down non Twilightish books because they're harder to market and sell.
It's a phenomenon and like all fads and phenomenons it will eventually go away and be replaced by something else.
I have to admit to being pretty over vampires even before Twilight and this has almost completely cured me.
August 22nd, 2010, 05:17 AM
I have to agree with the "popular =/= good" vibe. For a good part of my teenage years I was listening to bands most people hadn't heard of, and the amount of "I haven't heard of them, they must suck" comments I got were incredibly annoying. Aside from the fact it's incredibly rude, it shows massive ignorance on that person's part. Lady GaGa didn't just waltz into a record studio, wail for a bit and then get a #1 single. She had to work to get to that stage, although I'm still perplexed as to how these one hit wonders come out of nowhere.
The same situation plagues gaming, too. I'll use the brilliant examples of Call of Duty and Guitar Hero (funnily enough, both are by the same publisher). They're not great games. Modern Warfare 2 was an inferior sequel to Modern Warfare by most accounts I've heard (and I have little reason to doubt my dad's word, as he does play both games a surprising amount), and the Guitar Hero games have little more than different tracklists between versions. Yet, for some reason, they both sell incredibly well. I go and pick up something developed in, say, Russia by a smaller company, and I have a whale of a time with it.
Is it sad that so many people think Twilight to be the epitome of literature? Yes, it is. Is it sad that so many people think King is? Yes. King is a good writer, I will not deny that, and some of the best things I've read were by him, but it doesn't mean he's the best writer around. No writer does everything perfectly. King (in my mind) does so well because he often doesn't go too outlandish with his horror stories - for the most part, they're believable. Meyer might be good at the emotional side, but it doesn't mean she can characterise or world build. There is no "best" book, there is no "best" author.
And even if there were, Meyer wouldn't even be in the running.
August 22nd, 2010, 07:00 AM
Originally Posted by Roland 85
You're reading the books so you don't miss out when teenage girls make a Twilight reference?
I think for me the Twilight books will go the way of The Sopranos, Survivor, American Idol, Lost... fragments of our culture that aren't up to my standards and not worthy of my time.
August 22nd, 2010, 10:46 AM
No, I am reading them so I don't miss out when Joss Whedon makes it.
Originally Posted by Sparrow
August 22nd, 2010, 11:16 AM
I had a post up here last night and apparently it was eaten. And of course I didn't save it when I did it. So I'll just hit the basics now:
Luya, I believe that written fiction is a 100% subjective. (And no, that does not mean everything in the universe is subjective.)
Written fiction is a symbiotic market that relies on variety and browsing. All fiction sales are a pyramid -- small group that sells well at top, a bigger group that does okay and a larger group that sells poorly. Books are not popular because they all contain X.
The number one way fiction works are sold and become bestsellers is word of mouth. So again, if you want to promote books you like, I suggest you:
1) Don't waste time bashing books you don't like, especially phenoms.
2) Don't criticize kids and young teens about their reading habits, unless you want them to ignore your recommendations or stop reading altogether.
3) Spread the news far and wide about how good you think a book/author is. If a person likes Twilight, tell them that they might also like Book X that you want to promote.
4) Contact the author and offer to help -- build websites, fund-raise so the author can go to a con, write reviews, start a fan cell that spreads news about the author, do an author interview and put it on the Web, do giveaway contests, get reading clubs to read it, talk other reviewers into looking at the book, start a Facebook fan page, Twitter, hold an event that the author can get to, etc. Be pro-active and do it without bashing other authors (who help your author to sell, no matter what type of fiction it is.)
Understand that if you want to write a critical review of a book you don't like for other adults, fine and dandy. But if you want to get actual attention for a book you find worthy, attacking other authors isn't going to do it because fiction authors don't directly compete with each other.
August 22nd, 2010, 12:31 PM
I should be working
Originally Posted by Roland 85
It's also easy to get the jist of a lot of the elements of Twilight just by osmosis - and reading Entertainment Weekly, as I do religiously...
August 22nd, 2010, 12:37 PM
trolling > dissertation
I know nothing about Twilight, but I do know that True Blood also has vampires, and it also has Lizzy Caplan, who may or may not be a vampire, but who is undeniably ridiculously hot.
Based on this wealth of information, I conclude that Twilight's appeal is based on sex in some way...hopefully it represents the long-awaited overthrow of the Dawson's Creek-era teenage culture by an alliance of emo kids and otaku...
Tags for this Thread