Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coming Up For Air

I have a confession to make.

I am a 35 year-old woman who loves Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books.


Yesterday morning, after dropping my eldest off at school, I made a snap decision to run to my Barnes & Noble so that I could buy the last book, Breaking Dawn. I finished it early this afternoon, and now feel rather lost. If I were a drinking woman - and I am not - than I would probably describe the way I feel right now as a reading hangover. 754 pages in about 26 hours - and it would have been less if I hadn't had to sleep last night.

No wonder I have a headache.

I know that I've spoken before about my English major - which was an act of love for me - and of how much I miss my pre-baby days of near constant book binges. I am a book snob, and I love good writing and skilled authors. The written word is sacred to me, and I take great joy in my favorite books.

Truth is, I have a soft spot for 'young adult' literature. When done well, there's just nothing like it. I can count on one hand the number of bestsellers, book club picks and/or popular adult titles that I have enjoyed. On the other hand, I regularly find gems among the children's shelves in the bookstores.

I'm also a huge fantasy/mythology/fairy tale geek. As much love and respect as I have for the classics, I would far rather have my nose buried in the latest Charles De Lint or Patricia McKillip novel. (Although rather interestingly enough, I prefer to listen to novels by Dickens or Austin.)

I could write a book about my experiences with books in both categories - and of those which are both. (My two all-time favorite books, The Hero and the Crown and A Wrinkle In Time are both.) Rather than wax poetic, though, I'll simply recommend Madeleine L'Engle's wonderful book, Walking On Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. In it she addresses what a children's book truly is and why a fantasy/science fiction frame is so important to telling the underlying truth of a story.

My point is not that Stephenie Meyer is the most brilliant writer of modern times - far from it -but that she does incorporate two of my favorite genres into one enjoyable fairy tale. I have a healthy dose of respect for her (and for J.K. Rowling) for pulling off the minor miracle of getting kids to read. I enjoyed the books, had fun with the fantasy and am glad I read them. Anytime a book can so completely engross me it's a good thing.

Also, I am rather surprised with the meandering trail that my thoughts have followed this afternoon. I feel an essay coming along...or a research paper. I can almost see connections between Bella and at least two of my other favorite heroines spiraling around in my brain, and I long to get that down on paper before it escapes.

I think I'm going to be busy tonight.


Silverwood said...

Yeah!!! I love those books (maybe love isn't strong enough)! Oh if you need something else to read she has a partial draft of Midnight Sun on her website (It is Twilight from Edwards perspective). It is great, but not complete. She has also written The Host which I have and you are more than welcome to borrow it. Enjoy letting your mind wander.

A Day That Is Dessert said...

I haven't read any Twilight books but you've piqued my curiosity..

I too love Wrinkle in Time and anything by Madeline L'Engle.

Have a great weekend! xo