Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Autumnal reading

I decided to save The Plague of Doves for half-term when I have a week off work and can give it the time and attention it deserves.

Just before my book group got kicked out of the pub at our last meeting (we usually overstay our welcome) we selected A S Byatt's Possession so I need to read that before mid-November. I was also intrigued by this review. I love novels set in academia so I'm going to look for a copy of Admission.

My newly teenage daughters want to see the Twilight movies and I thought I'd read the book to find out what all the fuss is about. It seems the right time of year to read a vampire novel! I'm about half-way through and have mixed feelings so far. I'm not keen on the narrator, Bella Swan, and the writing is a little uneven, but I like the portrayal of the native American Indians and I do want to find out what happens. Anyone read it? I'd love to know your thoughts.

9 comments:

Paperback Reader said...

Nicola, I read the Twilight novels like they were oxygen. Poorly written and the Bella/Edward relationship is disturbing with Bella as a very weak (in both senses) heroine. I like to call them popcorn novels: an addictive snack but they don't sate the appetite long-term nor provide nutrients.

Steph said...

Read the Twilight books (well, the first three at least) but pretty much hated them. I don't know why I read all three since I found them bad in pretty much every possible respect, but I guess I wanted to have an informed opinion. In the end, I think the relationships portrayed are really creepy (both Bella and Edward are bad on their own, but put together I find them particularly loathsome), the messages the series sense are not great either (pre-marital sex is bad, so get married as a teen so you can have sex!), and the writing was tragic. I'd overlook the last part to some extent since they're aimed at a younger audience, but given that, I find the other issues (messages and relationships) all the more disturbing. Young girls don't know better than to find Edward dreamy, and I'd hate to know I encouraged any of them to develop such skewed perspectives.

minervamouse said...

My 15-year-old daughter has read the first two. She enjoyed the first but found the second rather boring and more-of-the-same and hasn't read any of the others.
I think the way to view these books is to think of them as a pathway to get teenagers into reading for pleasure and then gently nudge them onto better written stuff.

Bloomsbury Bell said...

I read the Twilight books and I did find them a good, easy read (they are in my mental chewing gum category). I agree with Paperback Reader that Bella is very weak; I found myself getting annoyed at her constant idolization of Edward.

Cath said...

I've read the first two and enjoyed them. Heaven knows why... Bella really irritates me, particularly at the start of book two. There's just something rather readable about them, but great literature they are not. I just like to feel that in the world of books there's room for everyone and everything, including Twilight.

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

I think Sarah Laurance (blog under her name) has read the Twilight books and written about them. Our book group read Possession when it first came out and it was hard going. You really couldn't skip anything because clues and information were everywhere. But I loved the sense of accomplishment when I finished it and I love the story itself. I think the film is quite good even if it is pared down from the book.

Vintage Reading said...

Paperback Reader, I would agree that the writing is very patchy and Bella particularly is irritating, but yes, you do want to keep reading.

Steph, yes I think it's important to consider the age group this novel is aimed at. Meyers does capture that sense of infatuation in love that you only really get with teenagers.

minervamouse, one of my daughters loved the film and the other one thought it was weird. Neither of them expressed any interest in reading the book (sign of the times, I'm afraid) but yes, it's a way to get them reading.

Bloomsbury Bell, what irritated me particularly about Bella was her snobbery. At the Forks prom at the end of Twilight she sneers because they have only have home-made decorations.

Cath, the plot certainly drew me in. Once the tracker way on Bella's trail I was avidly turning the pages!

Linda, thanks, a new blog for me to check out. I have to say I've abandoned Possession and I know for a fact that other members of my book group have too! Admire your tenacity. I gave it my 100 page test and I didn't care either way what happened to any of them so didn't continue. Certainly, though I admire A S Byatt, she's written excellent essays on Willa Cather.

Juxtabook said...

I've read and enjoyed all 4. They are not 'art' just YA pop fiction but very good in that genre. You can read my review http://juxtabook.typepad.com/books/2009/07/twilight-saga-by-stephenie-meyer.html You have to read the books closely and more than once, I think. There is more to them than meets the eye. They are sexist but not in the ways they usually are accused of being.

Elaine said...

My 30 year old daughter has read and loved all of these and has seen the movie about three times. I feel almost ashamed to admit to having such an offspring but she laughs, tells me I am a snob, and yes it is silly for someone of her age to like them, but there you go......

I hasten to add that all of this is a momentary aberration and she does read other stuff. I suppose that last comment just confirms that I AM a book snob!