blo Teens Read and Write: Has Twilight Ruined Literature?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Has Twilight Ruined Literature?

(DEC 11 UPDATE: Hi Everyone. Just a side not to let you know that I am going to leave this post up another day for two reasons. 1. I love all the intelligent opinions and interesting perspectives that everyone is contributing, and hope more people will join in. It is wonderful discourse! And 2. I have not had time to respond to everyone yet. I plan to get it done by the end of today. In the meantime, please also go check out Rach at Parajunkee because she has a great post on all the things Twilight is being blamed for. It is hilarious but also a little sad and some of the stuff is just plain nuts! Thanks again to everyone for their comments!)

I was hopping about the blogsphere when I came across a blog that said Twilight was ruining literature.

I couldn't understand how Twilight could possibly be ruining literature. I mean, it's kind of an advocate of sorts for young adults. Have you seen the variety of teen books out there nowadays? I wish I had this much to choose from when I was a young teen.

My mom had me read things like Dean Koontz's Watchers and Lightning to help fulfill my craving for all things books. The selection of YA just wasn't was it is today. It has swelled immensely over a very short time, ever since Harry Potter and Twilight hit the publishing jackpot.

This 'ruining literature' comment had my interest.

Turns out some of the classics are making a comeback, getting a free promotional ride on Twilight. You know those Twilight shrines you see at bookstores, the books, the posters, the puzzles, the jewelry? Apparently Romeo & Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride & Prejudice all have new covers with catchy slogans. Some have character quizzes in the back. Wuthering Heights even has a stamp that says "Edward and Bella's favorite book!" and these classics are displayed amongst the Twilight shrine.

Now, these bloggers -- I'll refer to them collectively as Irate Blogger -- are very upset by the teen-friendly reprints and with Stephanie Meyers for instigating the whole thing, but I don't see what the big deal is.

The covers look different, but the content is the same. And the hype is getting young kids to read the classics. Hmmm...I can't find a problem with that. So I reminded myself that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and I'm always interested in reading different perspectives.

Then they said something that really struck a nerve.

"Many argue that Twilight inspires a love for reading and that it should be seen as positive rather than negative. I get that. I'm not saying that tweens and teens shouldn't read. But are they reading for the right reasons?"


"I feel like no one reads for fun anymore, and it makes me sad."

Reading for the right reasons?

No one reads for fun?

By who's definition?! I read to be swept away from reality. My uncle reads to learn. My best friend reads to find inspiration.

Whose reason for reading is the "right" reason? Why does their definition of "right" and "fun" have to apply to everyone else? Jake thinks sky diving is a blast, but that doesn't mean everyone else has to think it is too -- I certainly don't.

Reading is soooo subjective and I took it kind of personally when Irrate Blogger went on to slam everyone who doesn't read Austen or Bronte repeatedly for fun. Oh, and they said young folks are stupid and that we'll only pick books up if the covers are shiny.
Yeah, I really appreciated that bit.

After I got over the blow to my generation, I came back to the reason I sat down and read the two page insult.

So I ask you... Is Twilight ruining classic literature? Is it ruining literature in general?

I don't think so, but I'm interested to know... What's your opinion?


Catherine (On The Nightstand) said...

The covers look different, but the content is the same.

Actually, the Romeo and Juliet version has additional, original prose sequences from Juliet's point of view.

titania86 said...

I don't think Twilight is ruining anything. There will always be trendy, popular works that people will claim is ruining something (readers, literature, cinema, etc.). I think it's great that younger people are reading classics because of Bella and Edward. I just ignore the naysayers and enjoy the literature that I read for my own reasons.

I think Irate Blogger is just making grand (and insulting) generalizations. They need to get up off their high horse and just enjoy reading.

Cherry said...

I think Irrate Blogger needs a friend. If he/she has a friend: 1. a friend could even out his/her perspective and that would make him/her a whole lot less vindictive; 2. there probably be less "attention seeking" behaviour which smacks of a "cry for help" as this action seems to me; 3. Irrate Blogger would hopefully spend his/her time with friends and have less time slamming people on the net. What do you think?

Cherry said...

And, oh, I think somebody needs to teach Irrate Blogger the difference between fantasy and reality.

chocowafer said...

I'm a Twilight fan and I can confidently say that I am reading books for the right reasons. Yes, it may not be the best YA book out there but I like it cause I have fun reading it. :)

On the topic of the covers though, I don't really agree w/ using lines like 'Edward and Bella's favorite book'. I don't know, it just seems kinda wrong, maybe even a bit demeaning, considering Wuthering Heights (for me) is one of the best books of all time.

No, I don't blame Twilight or Stephenie Meyer for that. In fact, as I said before, I'm a fan. But I say 'NO' to the new classics covers. :)

But that's just me. Haha.

Anonymous said...

While I don't believe there is a right and wrong reason for reading, I don't agree with the new covers for wuthering heights, romeo and juliet etc etc. It's a blatant money-making scheme and the publishers who thought this would be a good idea are more to blame. It is clear that Twilight and Wuthering Heights are not of the same genre AT ALL so I don't get why there is a crossover?

Twilight fans would probably be disappointed upon reading Wuthering Heights, and I, as a Wuthering Heights fan, couldn't find the connection to Twilight. Some of the reasons people read 'classics' in literature is because of the stylised writing, but also because of the high culture status. By pulling something from high culture status into pop culture status and therefore 'sullying it' would get most classicists knickers in a knot, i suspect. And at this point in time I'm not sure that I blame them.

Even though I don't like Twilight myself, and don't believe it to be a quality book, i appreciate that people enjoy it for reasons other than the writing. I just think using its popularity to sell other books not even in the same genre and thus 'cheapening' the classic experience ruins the status of 'high literature'.

That's just my opinion and I understand it won't be popular on a page of Twilight fans, but thats ok, I just thought I should try and explain it from a little bit more of a rational perspective than perhaps irate blogger has done.


brizmus said...

That's THE most ridiculous thing I have EVER heard - that Twilight could be RUINING literature. ust reading the quotes you wrote made me somewat angry. urgh!
I agree with Aimee that changing the covers is just a blatant money making scheme (although I haven't seen the covers, so I guess I don't REALLY know), but I in no way whatsoever see how this could be a BAD thing.
Because the fact is - people (ALL people) are attracted to covers and more likely to want to read a book if they like the cover. So some people will go in with the wrong idea and end up not liking it. Others, that might never have read Wuthering Heights or Romeo and Juliet or whatever else, will find themselves pleasantly surprised.
and here I disagree with Aimee - I think using a fun an entertaining but not necessarily literary book to help expose people to the classics is a GREAT idea! I don't think it cheapens them or ruins their status at all.
Even if I hated Twilight, I think I would feel the same way. It's a good thing if it's causing people to read and discover other forms of literature that they might not have read otherwise.
I feel like that was kind of rambly; I hope it made sense.

I'm slightly irate that irate blogger said they feel like people don't read for fun anymore while trying to say that Twilight has ruined literature. If ever a book was read for fun, it's Twilight.
Okay, I'm done now.

Stormi said...

I'm not a teenager anymore but even when I was ahem..a long while ago, I still read what I wanted to and not that much of the classics, teens just don't read classics much they read what interest them.

I am not a huge fan of twilight, but I don't see how it has ruined its hyped up right now, it will lose its interest after a few years like everything else and some one else will come up with somthing to take its place.

Some people just need something to rant about or they are not happy.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

"Twilight ruining literature" - that is completely absurd! It's encouraged thousands of teens to read and that can't be bad thing.

I read for the same reason as you do, and Twilight is one of the most effective books to be swept away by.

The new covers of classics are probably good in a way as they introduce classics to people that otherwise might not read them, though a part of me screams that it's wrong!

ParaJunkee said...

Great post Alyssa. I recently came upon a post similar to this and was so aggravated by it, and especially since I had enjoyed reading other posts by this blogger. Yet, in her post on top of the topic that Twilight is the downfall of the everything good and vampirish - she continuously used phrases like twitard etc. I really don't understand this animosity towards a work of fiction.

When I was a tween I sucking down anything I could get my hands on. Paranormal YA novels consisted of Christopher Pike and Goosebumps. You wanted to spice things up you got a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Yeah. Needless to say I was through those and onto adult novels by the time I hit 7/8th grade. Which I probably shouldn't have been reading these then - but what more did they have? Nancy Drew, Babysitter's club?

Publishers are going to market what they think will sell. Covers change - I've probably owned 4 or 5 copies of Wuthering Heights throughout my reading career. The high school version, the college version, the adult version, the after Katrina version... not one had the same cover. Does that detract from the content of the book? No. Its a cover. Whether it has a pink pony on the cover - or a happy stamp that proclaims beloved of Bella and Edward, it is still the same book and if it helps along a new generation to an appreciation of the classics - hoo rah.

There is a certain type of person that extenuates their coolness by bagging on what is popular. "Look I'm trendy because I am so anti-trendy." Secretly they probably have a picture of RobPatz in their closet... :) - Parajunkee

Mandyfish said...

As an English Teacher, a vampire lover, and as someone who has a love hate relationship with Twilight I feel that some of the animosity towards books being "Twilightized" isn't actually because the classics now look like teen novels, but because they are wonderful books on their own and therefore shouldn't need new covers that blatantly acknowledge less well written books to be sold. However, that isn't how the world works and the publishing companies are notorious for jumping on the band wagons of whatever sells...

Some of my issue with things being "Twilightized" is with the fans themselves. There is a large contingent of fans...young and old....who didn't read the books at all or didn't read them until after they've seen the film and now classics are being forced to conform in hopes of being sold to crazy Twi-Fans who are basing their "it's a great book!" statements on whether or not they can picture RPattz as the main character.

This is just the tip of my love/hate relationship, but honestly....if you're looking for something new to read, you wouldn't be the first to look to similar covers for help. It's a classic move. It's why romance novels all look vaguely the same and similarly fantasy novels....same sells.

Anonymous said...

I dont think Twilight ruined anything....I think it sparked a interest in reading for teens. I hope teens are reading the variety and not just stuck on the Vampires because there is so much out there....Im not a teen anymore and I can tell you reading Jane Austin is just as boring today as it was when I was 16...Blach!! See everyone is different. Sounds like irate blogger needs to understand what reading is outside of educationial and he had 1000 pounds books!!!

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

Excellent blog. I agree with you. If you are not reading for love and enjoyment of books what's the point?

Obviously they are reading for the right reason and thats to read. Their needs to be no specific reason.

Tales of Whimsy said...

To those people I say:
Ca ca
*blowing raspberry*

A. The part about people not reading for pleasure: SO not true. People that don't enjoy reading don't read. People that read LOVE reading.
B. Any book that inspires reading is fine by me.
C. I LOVE that Twilight is inspiring young people to read the classics. That's wonderful. Twilight inspired me to read Wuthering Heights. The results? I ADORE Wuthering Heights.
D. Parajunkee is right. Covers change. They always do and they always will.

Great post darlin'! You got us all thinking.

Emily said...

This argument comes up whenever there's a switch in popularity in the book world. I remember reading (I think it was in the Read-Aloud Handbook) that there were people saying the same thing about Harry Potter, that it was ruining literature and dumbing down kids and all kinds of other horrible, doom-and-gloom things, and the author calmly pointed out that people said the same things about the Hardy Boys and all kinds of other series. The point is, for every popular thing out there, there is someone who thinks that everything is ruined forever because of it.

With regards to classical works being repackaged to be more appealing to fans of Twilight, I think it's important to remember that publishers want to make money. Whether we like it or not, readers are a big target market, and publishers are going to cater to the segment of that market that spends money. Does the cover of the book change what the story is about? Nope. Does the cover of the book affect who is likely to buy it? Yup. It is your job as a reader to do some research to determine if you will like a book or not; if you get tricked into reading something that's not your thing because Bella and Edward told you to, well, there's a lesson in there somewhere too.

What Book is That?

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Like you said, Twilight has gotten teens to READ!!! This is the most important thing that Twilight and Meyer have done in my opinion. Putting a new cover on a classic does not ruin the original story! There are many gorgeous new illustrated covers for the classics and it makes me want to buy them all over again :)

Julie@My5monkeys said...

I think Twilight has gotten many adults back into reading young adult novels. Which I think is great that many teenagers are reading. I got some other teenagers to read twilight and thier mom thanked me for getting back into reading.
I finally read wuthering heights and loved it.
Covers will change will change but the authors origninal work will stay the same.

Great post.

Gina said...

Believe it or not (and you're more likely too since you ran across a few), there are more folks out there that think the same thing, but aren't blogging about it. I presonally LOVE the series....that love aside though, I don't think it is ruining literature. You are is subjective. To each his or her own in reading as in life. I may love one series, but by no means do you have to as well whether I've know you a day or a lifetime...that's the fun of reading that we all collectively share! The CHOICE that is available to us ...and the action of CHOOSING what we read.

Now I have also seen the redo's on the covers of many classics....especially the one of Wuthering Heights that has a little label on it advertising it as "Bella and Edward's Favorite Book". While I'm not particularly fond of other books masquerading as a popular series (admit it...if you didn't look closely or for a title, some of them look they they are actually part of the series)....I am a fan of reading and if that brings more people in to read some of the classics they may not have touched before, by all means, use it. You wouldn't believe the number of times I've seen high school and middle school students that come into our local bookstore asking for a suggestion on a title from their summer reading list. Some of them list newer books, others list things from Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen. A large handful of them...HAD NEVER HEARD OF THESE AUTHORS! (*faints*..wakes back up) It's one thing to have not read any of the classics (again to each their own), but to have never heard of any of them is beyond me.

Okay, I've ranted WAY more than I intended...thanks for sharing YOUR thoughts and happy reading!

Reading said...

If Twilight is getting young people to read: Great! If it gets adults reading: Great! The number of those that read regularly is on the decline. People would rather be "plugged" into something. This is especially tru for kids. Anything that gets people to pick up a book is a positive for me!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I could say that reading Shakespere ruins literature. Mainly because it has turned off many would be readers because they "don't understand it". I'm guessing if Shakespere was seen as a play FIRST for many of those complainers it would have turned them around since it was ment to be a play and should be seen that way.

As for Twilight. It was not ment to be great literature, but a nice story. I think people really need to stop making problems where there are none. Are their lives really that boring? Is there no problems in the world that need to be solved? Save the energy for the real problems of the world. Just imagine what could be accomplished!

Jenny said...

Great post!
I have to say that considering Twilight great literature is not good... but it is what it is and it's still a good book AND to get all these young (and older) people reading again I think is a GREAT thing! One of my co-workers who can't remember having read ANY book EVER has now read the first two Twilight books and plans to read the rest. That's saying something I think.

L said...

Twilight ruining literature? you have got to be kidding me. Twilight was the reason I started reading and I get that it's a little over done and all, but it's definitely not ruining literature!

Alessandra said...

The part about "reading for the right reason" confused me a lot. As far as I know (and I've been a reader for some 20 years), there are two basic reasons why you read (reading seriously, not just going through a magazine while waiting at the hairdresser's):
1) Because you want to (that is, you like it and find it enjoyable), and
2) Because you have to (that is, someone requested you read something, for example in school).

I think they are both good reasons to read, although 1 is usually preferred to 2. The question is, why are people reading Twilight? Because they enjoy the story, or because someone forced them to? (I can't imagine a school teacher in their right ming giving Twilight as required reading, what with all the better and worthier books there are around) The "reading for the right reason" bit in this blogger's post makes very little sense to me.

I read the whole Twilight series, and I'm not a rabid fan, or maybe not even a fan; Twilight left me very perplexed, New Moon sounded better (less annoying-and-controlling! Edward around), Eclipse was my favourite book in the series (go team Jacob), and as for Breaking Dawn... ugh, let's not go there, shall we? Anyway, while I'm not a sucker for vegetarian vampires (yeah, because bears, wolves, deers, or whatever animals the Cullens suck blood from are part of the vegetable reign, right?), I don't think Twilight is ruining literature. Or better, I don't think any book can ruin literature. You can ruin literature if you ban it or burn it, not if you write a book that people enjoy. Even though it's not a literary masterpiece. And come one, it's not supposed to be. It's a story meant to be enjoyed.

As for Twilightized versions of classics... ugh. That's just a marketing trick. I can only hope teens who approach Wuthering Heights because "it's Bella and Edward's favourite book" can recognize that Emily Bronte is a far better writer than Stephenie Meyer!

As a teen, I did read Austen and Bronte repeatedly for fun. Pride and Prejudice was the first book I read in the original, unabridged English version (followed by Sense and Sensibility, and, a couple of years later, by Dickens's Hard Times & Great Expectations--partly because my town's library is small and used to have only very few books in foreign languages, and partly because I really was a fan of English Literature, and still am). But that doesn't mean much, really. Even if, as a young reader, I liked the classics and selected the oldest, dustier books in the library, it doesn't mean those kind of preferences stick with you all the time. Now I almost exclusively read "modern" books and I'm a sucker for pretty covers ;)

I don't understand all the Twilight bashing, really... but when you think about it, every time there is a very popular book or series around that people enjoy very much, there are those who will talk badly about them. No big deal.

Now, if you want to make a post defending Dan Brown and his most fampus character, Langdon or what's his name, I can provide you with a proper bashing ala Irate Blogger(Dan Brown lovers forgive me, but I can't stand the nonsense in those books, and I read both The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons from cover to cover, so I know what I'm talking about...)

Now, since I'm getting so OT, I'd better stop writing, lest I hijack your whole comment section...

Tynga said...

I had never read a book for fun before I read twilight. Now I can't stop reading.
Now that I've many other books, I can tell it's not my favorite series, but it remains the one that introduced me to the joys of reading ^^

Alyssa Kirk said...

First of all, thank to everyone. I love all this feedback!

Catherine ~ I didn’t know they added in prose from Juliet’s point of view. It’s still Shakespeare’s original writing though, right? If it is, I think that’s nifty, getting Shakespeare’s hidden scenes!

Titania ~ I’m right with you, I’m sticking to what books make me happy regardless of what they say.

Cherry ~ A friend would definitely help Irate Blogger. As long as the friendship was a yin yang, and not a yin yin, otherwise we’d they could be imaginatively vindictive together. *shivers*

Austenfan ~ I didn’t really like the “Edward and Bella’s favorite” tag either, that’s a little much. I can definitely see what you mean when you (and others) say that getting the promotional pop culture remake is demeaning. The classics are great on their own. I like to think that hype about Twilight can stimulate a love a books in general and, therefore the classics too. Thanks for your say on the matter!

Aimee ~ If nothing else I guess the general crossover would be romance – dark, dangerous romance, thwarted desire, untamed emotions and heartbreak. While I love Twilight, I agree that it isn’t the same quality as the classics. I see your point about how using Twilight to sell the classics could cheapen them, but I guess I’m just happy to have something get others (especially younger kids) to read more and branch out with their choice of literature.
I definitely agree that this is a VERY blatant money-making scheme. But publishing is a business and while they reap the money, kids who wouldn’t have otherwise read the classics are reading them now so…*shrugs* You have great, clear, intelligent opinions – and you didn’t insult anyone in the process, kudos!! I love having this kind of discourse. Thanks for sharing.

Brizmus ~ If the quotes made you angry, you would have looked like a read faced cartoon with vein throbbing on your forehead if you had read the whole post.
I think the reprints are a clever way to entice people to read the classics as well, almost like when my mom was teaching me fractions she sliced up a chocolate cake. Unfortunately, we have to be enticed to read the classics these days.

Stormi ~ I agree that Twilight will fade out. Has anyone noticed that Harry Potter is practically dead until trailers for the next movie pop up on the TV? I think after the last Twilight movie is made the popularity will rapidly decline.

Alyssa Kirk said...

Sophie ~ I’m totally with you. If kids are reading now, what’s the problem? But man, there’s a little voice in my head saying “Why do people need a new cover to read a classic?” But we have to deal with the culture as it is.

Rachel ~ Ugh! I remember I finished every Nancy Drew book ever written by age 11 or 12 and my 5th grade teacher started handing me those Choose Your Own Adventure Novels. *tries to erase horrific flashback* I jumped to adult novels by 7th grade too, there was…nothing else. I don’t understand the animosity either. “Look I’m trendy because I’m so anti-trendy.” That busted me up!
Mandy ~ As I was reading though the posts and comments, I started wondering, shouldn’t everyone be upset with the consumers? Not the product? You make excellent point. It’s sad we don’t read classics until we’ve got incentive or confirmation to do by celebrities (real or fictional).
Tina ~ I’m glad that you can grasp the phrase, “everyone’s different” because Irate Blogger couldn’t get that at all. You don’t care for Jane Austen, AustenFan loves her. It’s all personal preference. I love the fact that we all unique.

Cleverly Inked ~ “There needs to be no specific reason.” Thank you. I am so happy you (that everyone here) agree with me on that. It’s like that anvil of irritation has just been lifted off my chest.

Juju ~ I actually haven’t read a lot of the classics because I find them difficult to understand – Sad? Definitely. – but I’ve been reading books lately where the main character’s cherish a certain classic and for the first time I’ve got classics in my TBR pile. I’m glad to hear Twilight has you checking out the classics, even more psyched that you love Wuthering Heights! I’ve read lots of Jane Austen but haven’t read any Bronte. I’ve just put WH on my library list!

Emily ~ It’s kind of sad that because something is trendy there will always be naysayers there to shoot it down simply because it’s popular. I like your tack on the reprints. Nope. Yup. Well, There’s a lesson learned. You’re so – “Whatever, people are going to do what they’re going to do.” Refreshing!

Alyssa Kirk said...

Inthehammockblog ~ Teens are reading. I thought that was the most important fact too.

Julie ~ I think it’s great that teens and adults are reading the same stuff too! It certainly gives me something to chat about with my mom and aunts! My aunt and I are having hour long discussions over Hush, Hush. I think it’s a great book, she thinks its “meh.” See the conflict? But what great discussions we have! Oh yeah, we’re bonding.

GMR ~ Oh I definitely believe more people think Twilight is ruining literature, what I can’t believe is that kids have never heard of Twain, Dickens, or Austen! Please tell me they at least knew about Shakespeare! I recently met a woman in her twenties who didn’t know who Shakespeare is and was proud of her ignorance, I almost died! I too can understand never reading them, but not knowing who they are? We should faint together sometime. Thanks for sharing!! Never heard of Dickens?…ugh…

Bethie ~ I’m with you there. You wouldn’t believe how many friends I have that think it’s weird I can spout off more book titles and authors rather than movie titles and actors. I am unplugged! Mwahaha! The Matrix cannot contain me! …Nerd moment over.

Melissa ~ Oh! I can jump on that argument. I was just telling Juju I haven’t read classics because I have a hard time understanding them. Reading Hamlet my senior was like smacking a stapler to my forehead with every page! Once I finished it was I loved it I went back and reread it now that I’d gone through and deciphered it all, and I even wrote down some of my favorite passages, but reading it the first time? *Shudders*
I also agree with you on the Twilight matter. It’s not trying to be great literature, it’s trying to be a great story, and honestly, that’s why it’s selling so well.

Alyssa Kirk said...

More people commented while I was writing my novel/response. I promise I will respond to all the rest later, but I have to go out right now.

Thank you all. I so appreciate and love this discussion. You have such wonderful, diverse and intelligent opinions!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Alyssa for your lovely reply comment - obviously this is a discussion that has passionate people on both ends, so its an interesting debate and you can go from lots of angles. Great idea!

pepsivanilla said...

Ok, so the Twilight books aren't very well written, but they were addicting when I read them.
If, by putting a sticker on a classic that refers to Twilight, you can get more people to read it, why is that bad?

Natascha De Marco said...

I actually think Twilight has its good and its bad side. The good side being that we are having a lot more of young readers and young adult novels coming out of the closet because in some way Twilight inspired either the market or the people. The bad side is the fanaticism. It''s something that pops its ugly head once in a while and that some think its just too exaggerated since there are so many other YA books that could reign over Twilight, The Hunger Games for example.

Anyways thats me xD

Miriam said...

I'm not exactly a twilight fan, but I definitely wouldn't say it's ruining literature. Many people in my school have read the series and I know of others who have gone on to read other supernatural type YA books who never would have done so before. Perhaps it's annoying that the whole series is hyped up at the moment, and I roll my eyes by the 'Edward and Bella's favourite book' slogan, but it's not too bad.
If the series is getting teens into books, especially the classics (which i have started reading - but not for that reason) then what's wrong with it. I will say there are a lot of people in my school who hardly ever read for fun, but a lot of young people do.

Chioma said...

Thank you for this post. Finally there is something to be said about all those people blaming Twilgiht for all these problems. I mean really reading for the write reasons. Even if there are teens out there just reading becuase they are looking for a book to substitute for Tiwlight, there are still reading!!! Isnt that the goal here. I mean even my friends who hate anything educational are starting to come over and raid my books. Even if you dont like twilight, if you are truly a book lover, you would never discredit a book to such a degree. Okay you dont like it, move on and read another book, that is why youlove reading in the first place right. Whether I love Twilight or not, they dont deserve this. And Stephenie Meyer surley doesnt deserve this. Awesome post, it you said a lot of things that needed to be said. (Sorry for the ranting, i just get worked up sometimes)!!!

April (BooksandWine) said...

To be honest, I would think that in order for Twilight to ruin literature, it would have to be literature. Granted, Twilight is no piece of great literature, I can rattle off worse books.

I almost feel like a terrible person for admitting this, but I did a paper in women's studies class on the anti-feminism within Twilight, using literary theory. It wasn't much of a challenge to write.

That being said, I think that on IB's blog, IB is entitled to spout any opinion IB wishes, it's up to the reader of IB's blog to click the x in the corner of the window if the content is upsetting :-)

On the one hand, I suppose Twilight is good if it is getting people to read, but on the other hand, I worry about the messages sent to young girls about self-worth. I wish I could say, it's just a book, but that's like saying The Qur'an is just a book, or the Bible is just a book or the Bahadvagita is just a book, or Mein Kampf is just a book. Books have such power, that yes I do worry about Twilight and the possible negative impact it could have. Would I ever suggest banning it? Hell to the no.

(Gosh, I just get off-topic so darn easy.)

Also, before Stephanie Meyers and JK Rowling, there was JUDY BLUME (the queen of real-lifeesque YA)

mariska said...

I don't think so ! Since i'm one of biggest fan of Twilight SAGA.
Twilight is a book which written by imaginations of the Author, SM.
saying that Twilight is ruining literature, is only one person(?) opinion. let they be then.

I read coz I love to read. whether the book that i choose is right or wrong, is still my choice though not yours :)

Anonymous said...

Hate classics. Hate book snobs too. Give me the Twilight series any day.

Unknown said...

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Tamsyn Murray said...

Anything that gets people reading cannot be accused of ruining literature - it's a bit like saying tabloid newspapers cheapen the Pulitzer prize. There's obviously a place for Twilight or it wouldn't be the runaway success that it is. I grew up reading Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams books but went on to read Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. Making books appealing to younger audiences is much more important than using long words.

Kari Olson said...

I don't think it is ruining things and I think it is great how many people want to read now. It's never been considered cool to read- but now there are tons of people reading. That is amazing! And not just the influx of readers but how many new writers there are now- how much all this growing YA hype is making people who weren't sure actually go for it. I mean, there are debut author classes now for each year because there's so many.

I think the view is that if JKR and Stephenie Meyer, baiscally two people who wanted to write nbecause they liked it and didnt intend for it to get this book- two moms- then anyone else who has the will, the idea and the time can do it too. I dont think it is ruining anything.

My only gripe is how so many books now are compared to Twilight. That really bothers me that it has become the baseline for other books. If a book has vampires, it seems like it is compared to Twilight even though there are countless vamp books BEFORE that one. If it is a love story set in high school- again, Twilight. If it in any way involves a regular girl who isnt special and someone likes her- once again, Twilight. That is one thing that bothers me but do I think Twilight is ruining things? No, not at all. In fact, I think it is great that SM chose to have Bella so in to the classics- to make those books come back stronger and the people who wouldn't read them for other reasons are going to read them now but face it, if they really were that turned off by it, would they read through classics? No. They wouldnt. No matter what the reason, they want to.

Ladytink_534 said...

Thank you! I like Twilight even if I wasn't crazy about one and a half of the books. I think it really did help open doors.
ANY reading is for the right reasons.

tweezle said...

Honestly, I don't see a problem with the new covers. To me, it's like changing into a new dress. You are still the same, just a different look. Every time a book is made into a move, the book gets a new "movie edition" look, and no one complains about that. My only problem with the new look was the "Edward & Bella's favorite book" line, because it wasn't Edward's favorite, just Bella's :)

The covers are pretty, and they make a lovely addition to the Twilight collection. I'm all for young people reading good literature, and if this is how it gets it into their hands, so be it.

Alyssa Kirk said...

Jenny ~ A lot of my friends have started reading regularly ever since they read Twilight too! Yeah, I think everyone can agree Twilight isn’t beautifully written like a classic, but the story is captivating to many!

Alexa ~ Twilight hype is over the top but given time it will fizzle out and we’re left with wonderful new readers like you!

Alessandra ~ A very interesting statement, “No book can ruin literature.” You make excellent points. I wish I could whip through a classic like you can! And I don’t know anyone out there that isn’t a sucker for a pretty cover! Oh, Eclipse was my favorite book in the saga too! Love triangle? Fight scenes? How could I not!

Tynga ~ And for that reason, I don’t mind the overflowing Twilight craze, because I think it does more good than harm.

Aimee ~ Thank you for your input! I seriously love seeing what you all think. Even if you don’t agree with me, I get to hear new perspectives that make think, and best of all I get to know you guys better!

Pepsivanilla ~ Getting addicting to reading, is there a healthier addiction? Don’t think so.

Taschima ~ Everything has it’s pros and cons. I think with a popular YA book you’ll have the fanaticism because, well…teens make the craziest fans. I really need to read the Hunger Games. Jake (and so many of you) keep singing its praises!

Miriam ~ Twilight is definitely turning out to be a great stepping stone to get teens reading again.

Chioma ~ I love it when friends start raiding my bookshelves! It makes me giddy! And don’t worry about ranting. There are a lot of people getting worked up on both sides of the discussion! It’s all good.

April ~ Great thoughts! I would agree that bad literature can’t ruin the classics. They have stood and will stand the test of time.
Yes books have power but I wouldn’t put Twilight in the same league with works you mentioned. Those who believe in these writings consider them truths, while rational people know that Twilight is fiction. Sure Twilight has had an impact (and it’s crazies) but I doubt it will have that same kind of following or effect on the world decades and even centuries from now as those books. In regards to the negative impact of Twilight, I think you’d really enjoy Parajunkee’s post on what people are blaming Twilight for. I thought it was very interesting.
I never read Judy Blume although I have heard wonderful things. But my love has always been for urban fantasy so her real life YA never held much appeal for me. Ah, the subjectivity of reading choices!

Alyssa Kirk said...

Mariska ~Speaking of… Choices, choices, choices. That’s really what it all comes down to, and, like you said, with books, there’s no right or wrong.

J. Kaye ~ Short, sweet, and simple. So succinct. You got your beliefs across with panache. I love it!

Jennifer ~ Yippee! Thanks!

Tam ~ “It’s like saying tabloid newspapers cheapen the Pulitzer prize.” That’s a creative comparison and very apropos! Well done!

Kari ~ “It’s never been cool to read…” Don’t I know it! I’m happy more people are reading and that there are more YA writers! A running theme through these comments is that a lot of us remember when there were like….15 authors in the YA genre and now we’ve got hundreds of authors to choose from!

I absolutely agree, I don’t think Rowling or Meyers ever thought they’d get this big. They wrote because it’s who they are and they wanted everyone else to love their characters as much as they did.
Yeah, sometimes when I see something is “JUST like TWILIGHT” it can turn me off of a book before I’ve even read what it’s about. I’d like to read a book and determine the merits on my own. And I don’t always want to read something just like Twilight!

Ladytink ~ “Any reading is for the right reason.” Thank you, that is a wonderful spot-on statement

Wow, folks. That took a while. So many different opinions!

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? No one!

Opinions are just that - opinions, not facts,. They’re the subjective interpretations of our passions and feelings. They are unique and true to us. Thank you to everyone for participating with such thought provoking, intelligent passionate and respectful comments. I thoroughly enjoyed what you all had to say! I love you guys!

Natalie said...

Wow. First of all, major props to you guys for starting a discussion that has had this much response!

I'm not a huge Twilight fan myself. There were parts of the series I loved, and there were parts that I hated so much I wanted to throw the book across the room. Overall, I'd probably consider the series as mediocre. But here's the thing: no two people in the world are going to have the same feelings and reactions regarding one book. We're all different, we all have different life experiences, and we all have a unique phenomenology (throwing in my psychology term of the day there.) Some parts of the series that I might hate might touch the heart of another person, and for that in itself, I'm grateful. Reading is so incredibly your taste in movies and music is subjective. Some people like math and others like history. Some like Barnes & Noble and some like Borders. Some like Pepsi and some like Coke. Some like both! Are you seeing the pattern here? Nothing in life is going to be liked by everyone. People need to learn to accept that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but ruthlessly bashing something and blaming it for "ruining" literature is a bit ignorant (key phrase here: in my opinion!)

Regardless of how anyone feels about the Twilight series, I think that Stephenie Meyer deserves recognition for being able to attract young adults back to reading. I respect someone who can do that, regardless of whether or not I liked their work.

Affilorama Review said...

I am a hard-core Twilighter and I agree with you. Ever since Twilight all my friends are into the whole..emo thing i guess? well nto really emo but they wear darker colors..they listen to darker music like on the soundtrack..its kinda different.

Zombie Girrrl said...

Some choice quotes from the discussion above that I am in complete agreement with--
"Even though I don't like Twilight myself, and don't believe it to be a quality book, I appreciate that people enjoy it for reasons other than the writing."
"I really don't understand this animosity towards a work of fiction...There is a certain type of person that extenuates their coolness by bagging on what is popular. 'Look I'm trendy because I am so anti-trendy.' Secretly they probably have a picture of RobPatz in their closet..."
"I could say that reading Shakespere ruins literature. Mainly because it has turned off many would be readers because they 'don't understand it'."
"I have to say that considering Twilight great literature is not good..."
"I don't think any book can ruin literature. You can ruin literature if you ban it or burn it, not if you write a book that people enjoy."
Firstly, great discussion! Twilight posts always have this effect.
I've read the series, and I liked it- innitially. On further thought, though, I came to conclussion that is was just good, not great, and that there were some serious flaws to the character's logic. But then I can still see why people would become frenzied over it. For one reason, people like to be excited about something! We like to choose sides and face off in an us-versus-them battle of wits or words, even if it's over something as admitedly inconsequential as a mediocre book franchise. My main problem with the books is the possible impact it may have on women in the near future. Imagine that the characters were real human beings, not sparkly vampires or psychic werewolves. What have you got? An eldely, possesive man who has a hard time not killing his girlfriend. A young, sweet guy with serious rage issues; if he gets mad, he'll flip out and he might actually rip your head off. A girl who literally can't be alone. She's become so dependant on her male counterparts that she can't function without them and will manipulate them horribly to keep both of them under her thumb. And the ending! She chooses to stay with the old, possesive creepy guy while the rageaholic dude sets his sights on her little girl! What scares me is that young girls idolize these characters as the image of true and wholesome love. But that's just my oppinion. ;)
As for the deal with the classics, I think it's cheesy, but basically it's just an excellent marketing scheme. Books aren't about the cover art. Granted, it helps a lot to have a nice one, but if the writing ain't up to snuff then it's all for naught. Case and point: Ghost Girl. Great cover, sucky story.
I'd love to see what y'all have to say about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's actually been rewritten with a zombie apocolypse and ninja fight sequences (which is the only thing that could get me to read Austen because she puts me to sleep.)! :}

Great post, Alyssa!

Catie S (Book Bound) said...

I don't think its a bad idea for people to read more. I don't think its a bad idea that a certain book gets people to read classics either.
I do think the whole marketing when it comes to Twilight is a little ridiculous. (I love Twilight, books & movies, just to be clear.) Redesigning the covers in red, black & white so they match is a bit much, I think.

Because you asked, I think the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, (or Sense & Sensibility & Seamonsters) are slightly ridiculous as well.

April (BooksandWine) said...

I saw Parajunkee's post which was interesting. I can't believe certain people would blame Twilight for, idk, their kids biting other kids. No, it's not Twilight that is to blame, the real blame probably goes on the parent for not installing a healthy dose of fear in the kid (if you bite another kid, you wait til dad gets home and hears about it). Ha! My example probably makes me seem like such an asshole, or an iron-fisted discipline-o-holic.

I do think a positive about Twilight is that it can be a gateway to better books. Gateway books are awesome.

Also, I do love me some Harry Potter, which I personally consider to be in a different league than Twilight, and also among the most wonderful books I've read. Again, reading is pretty subjective, what makes me squeek in joy may make another person grimace in disgust.

ZoeyLau said...

I dont think so!!!
Twilight is a really god book! I like it! and i know everybody thinks different, but im not agree with that person .

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