Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yum Yum Trash

Ok people. Sometimes I make fun of Stephanie Meyer.

I really don't make fun of her, actually, I guess, because she always comes up in conversation at the awkward moment when you don't know what the other person thinks of her, and I really don't like to offend people, so, usually I just wait until they say what they think of her and then tailor whatever I was about to say to neatly fit in the discussion they are about to have about her. No worries, I don't lie about my actual opinion, I just turn the level up or down. I know you were worried about my opinion getting lost somewhere in there.

In my experience, there are
A. THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE TWILIGHT and for whom it was their first long-term reading experience/relationship that they are very attached to
B. The people who appreciate it only because it's a book and they just like books so much so it's ok that it exists
C. The people who secretly love it but have read a lot of other books and feel like culturally they are not allowed to like it because it's worse than everything else or something
D. The people who simply cannot ignore the sentence splices and thumbs-up to emotionally dependent relationships that the book spits at you because they feel entitled to be these people who make these judgments about books
E. The people who hate it to go along with everyone else and be in the club
F. The people who like it to go along with everyone else and be in the club
G. Mormon housewives, who seem to actually be a combination of A and F.

I have noticed these things, and I fit into one of these categories very plainly, and I don't even know Stephanie Meyer so I'm not even allowed to dislike her. You can't dislike people unless you know every single thing about them and have made a perfect, educated decision to do so, or unless they've killed one of your family members. Even then.
But I do make fun of Stephanie Meyer sometimes, and for that I feel bad. I feel bad because I took a swift look at the books that were MY first reading experiences, MY first hooks into the delicious world of literature, the pieces of writing that really got me into the pool, and I have to laugh at myself because I read a lot of trash. (Trash is not derogatory here, it's more like "easy reading". Like "easy listening". Think "easy listening" music, the creepy but basically harmless jazzy piano trumpety grocery store music vs. a symphony or Elton John or something.)

My trash was books from the Orem Public Library with premises like this:

"Someone Like You depicts a year in the life of two sixteen-year-old best friends. Although Scarlett is much bolder and more self-confident than Halley, the two girls immediately become friends. Scarlett has fallen in love with a boy named Michael Sherwood over the summer, and the day after she sleeps with him for the first time, he is killed in a motorcycle accident. Halley, who has been going through a phase of separating herself from her mother after a trip to the Grand Canyon earlier in the summer, comes home from camp to be with Scarlett and attend the funeral. Halley has the new experience of supporting Scarlett and being the strong one, instead of the other way around."

or this one:

"Sixteen-year-old Laurie finally has it made: She has a handsome boyfriend and a popular group of friends. Things start to fall apart, though, when Laurie's boyfriend swears he saw Laurie meeting another boy, even though Laurie was home sick.Other unexplained sightings convince Laurie that she has a double, and when the mysterious figure claims to be her twin sister, Laurie investigates. Laurie discovers that she was adopted at birth, although her sister Lia was not. Instead, Lia bounced from foster home to foster home, growing more bitter--and more dangerous. Now, although her body is confined, Lia visits Laurie through astral projection. When Laurie's friends start to get hurt, Laurie suspects Lia's trying to take over her life. Will Laurie embrace her newfound sister, or will she protect her adoptive family?"

No biggie. Astral projection and all that.

Books with covers like this:

Yes, that is a bleeding hourglass. Yes, I have read this book over fifteen times. Yes, it is about a teenage girl moving in with her father and new stepmother in the deep South, and about how the stepmother actually is a hundred years old but made a deal with a Cajun witch to never age, and how Lenore the daughter has to fix this with the help of her super hot stepbrother who is also ageless.

And this:

Yes. I remember every word of this one. Really I do.

...and after taking this small journey into my preteen and teen and maybe I read Locked in Time again last summer years, I have really started thinking twice about running about yelling angrily about someone who wrote blockbuster books about werewolves and vampires and vampire babies with apples and creepy white hands on the covers, because I have a dozen brown cardboard boxes of books like the above shoved in my basement. So, who am I to say?


Constance Marie said...

Hmmm, I appreciate your point, but I'm still a very solid D and proud to be there.

tracy said...

Yep. Point and case. I completely relate- including the fact that I read a book that will remain nameless in the last six months. However, English Patient really was good. And I can talk about that one.

Heidi said...


Also, I don't HATE Stephanie Meyer. She's a smart woman who has made a truckload of money on a story...she just REALLY needed a better editor.

ingrid lola nilsson said...

What about Judy Blume?!?

Liesl said...

Funny you bring up Twilight, because I was discussing it with someone I work with, who is a D. I'm definitely a B, but I haven't read them in years. If I read them now, I might be a D. And I have many, many friends who are E's. I just have to say that I no longer think the 7 millionth parody that has come out actually isn't that funny. And I sometimes think that the people who love to hate Twilight can be just as crazy as those who are obsessed with Twilight.

laura marie said...

Okay, so I am pretty sure I loved that particular Baby-sitters book. More than lots of the dozens of others I read.

jenny said...

I have read a good 1/3 of my brother's Vintage Nurse Romance Book Collection, mostly on days when my brain or my heart was sore. Or both. But I was also an English major, and read many "good" works.

I'm a firm C. I mocked the books for as long as was technically possible before diving in and reading like a madwoman for 2 days straight. Seriously: I was clawing my way into Borders, unshowered, in my pajamas shouting, "WHERE'S BOOK THREE! I NEED BOOK THREE!"

But I mostly agree with Heidi about needing a better editor. *Oy.*

Angelica said...

I have vowed to never read a Twilight book, and will probably never see the movies, but I did read the entire Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High series along with a lot of Christopher Pike and everything Michael Crichton ever wrote (please don't tell Hemingway, he might get jealous). I guess we all have our guilty pleasures.

Brittany said...

Baby-sitters Club.
So, so guilty.
I read through that long, long shelf at the Salt Lake County Library. I could still show you exactly where that shelf is.

I just like the black and white, I think.

As for Twilight, I read them before the phenomenon, and I really enjoyed them. It's a good story! By the time I got to the last book...I was a little tired. The same words, the same whining...
I have no problem with people liking/reading them. I do have a problem with people calling these books "literature" and labeling them as the best books ever written, despite their lack of outside experience. Also, I have a problem with B and E's creepy relationship.
That's all.

Kayla said...

Thank goodness for the Twilights and Babysitters Clubs and other guilty pleasure books. Mine, personally, are. . . the Leven Thumps books. Reading only deep and heavy novels makes my mouth feel sticky similar the feeling of dehydration. They are draining not because they are bad, but because they take such an intense amount of energy to absorb all the layers. It's nice to have some light, easy reading for entertainment value but also to emphasize or contrast the beauty of a real classic.

Anonymous said...

I SO TOTALLY AGREE!! Stephanie Meyer is not even that good of a writer! BOO TWILIGHT!!

ps. i used to be SO addicted to Babysitter's Club. HAHA and i might just check out that Stuck in Time book :)

Katie said...

Haha your description of people who read twilight is right on!

I loved babysitters club. I would read three of those books a week when I was younger.

Sam said...

i remember reading the babysitters club. and the boxcar children :) and i love twilight. i started reading right after the 3rd book came out. i'm not a big fan of stephenie meyer, only from interviews, but like you say, who am i to judge really.

ps-i left you an award on my blog :)

Marcindra LaPriel said...


Allie said...

JULIE. It makes me unutterably happy when you like something I write. I love you. And I keep remembering that your heart is fluttering for.. Should I write his name? I don't know. In that case, I've just been wondering about your fluttering hearts and I want an update. Haha.

When does your show start, babycakes?

Madison Call said...

don't you be dissing sarah dessen she is still my absolute favorite author but that may have something to do with the fact that i am a social work major and in fact not a lit major...oh and i worked at plato's closet for entirely too long to ever get away from the drama that sarah dessen brings to my life. dreamland? does it get any better?