Books

To Read Or Not to Read: Twilight

Twilight
by Stephenie Meyer
Little, Brown
October 2005, 360 pages, $12.99

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight is more than a book series. It's a lusty demon, I tell you, bent on making me bite into its shiny red apple-butt. Why, you ask, when I have free will... and absolutely no interest in a puffy high school vampire love story written by a Mormon?

Huge sigh.

Well, there was a time, see, when I was the authority on books in my environment. I knew the newest, best, most arresting works that everyone just had to read. You like her? You should read this. Into him? Try her, now she's really something. And then my followers would go off and read my brilliant recommendations and on we would go, debating, into the night, the world of the book. And I would sit back, feeling wonderful that I had sparked such debate, stirred others' romance with words.

Now, suddenly, something has invaded my Book Queen territory. And it's big and red and evil. So popular, so inescapable, so everywhere.

I'm coming to this late, right? Well, this is where it gets interesting ... and annoying. Though Twilight has been around a while, it has only recently found its way over to my circle of friends. And all at once, right now. My best friend, her sister, my junior at work, even my very own sister -- are all suddenly buried in the plights of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. And they have four whole books to discuss -- massive books, that I know nothing about. See, usually, if a book comes along that takes the group fancy that perhaps I just don't want to read, I might know enough about its author or plot to scrape by in conversation, hoping that the topic of discussion might shortly shift back to something I've read. But it's just impossible to try and discuss Meyer's series with my pathetic knowledge that comes pretty much from the film adaptation, which I saw, enjoyed despite the cheese, thought about for a bit -- (She's his heroin?) -- and then viciously hated.

I just can't go on hearing this anymore: "Yeah, but the movie's different. You've got to read the books."

"Do I?" I scream in my head at these women I no longer recognise, as horns begin to emerge from there earholes. "Do I really?"

And it's not just Twilight. They all read Meyer's The Host, too. And sat around discussing its apparently super-amazing ending that I now know, but have no idea what makes it so amazing. It's killing me, this inability to weigh in on the debate. You just can't steer a discussion from Stephenie Meyer to Jane Hamilton the way you might get a Patricia Cornwell discussion over to Dennis Lehane. I don't quite know what to do with myself. It's like The Da Vinci Code all over again. And, yes, I cracked on that one and suffer to this day.

Do I do it again? Do I -- gasp, swallow, choke -- read the books myself?

Could I?

What harm would it really do?

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