Thursday, August 14, 2008

I quit

About two months ago my sister was reading a book that caught my attention. The cover was distinctly reminiscent of the artwork of the Twilight series. Which makes sense because she was reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer, author of said Twilight series. For some time now, I've been toying with idea of reading Twilight. Not because it's so popular (although mostly among teenage girls) but because two of my friends whose literary opinions I trust (Afton and Fat Cat) have read Twilight and enjoyed doing so. So, I asked my sister what she thought of The Host (she also being a Twilight fan). She said that it was different but also awesome. Afton gave a similar opinion as did my mother. "Alright, I'm gonna do this," I told myself. "If I enjoy The Host, I'll read Twilight."

I returned to AZ from school three and a half weeks ago with nothing to read. I wandered into my sister's bedroom and happened upon The Host. I remembered my decision to read it, and I was desperate for a new book, so I started that night.

Fast forward three weeks. I'm only three hundred pages into The Host. Now, I'm by no means a fast reader. But c'mon, I can do much better than a hundred pages a week. I start to wonder. Have I lost my love for reading? What's happened to me in the recent weeks or months that has killed the joy of a good book? I decide to try an experiment. I stop reading The Host and pick up Cannery Row by John Steinbeck instead (loved it -- a blogging forthcoming). I finished that in mere days (granted it's only 118 pages, but I was traveling at the same time, and I don't read much on the road). Last night I started Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card and I got that "can't put it down" feeling in the first chapter. These books brought me to a great realization: I hadn't lost my love for reading, I had simply been reading a bad book!

OK, let's be fair, The Host isn't a bad book; I certainly have no right to say so since I have yet to finish it. But if we're gonna be fair, let's be honest too: I really didn't enjoy reading it. The Host is very character based, and I never ended up really caring for any of the characters. In fact, some of them bugged the crap out of me. First, let's take Melanie (the one doing the hosting). "Oh my gosh, it's Jared, Jared's here, Jared, Jared's alive, Jared! JARED! Barf!" Just lame and annoying. Then there's Jared himself. I can't say why he bugged me. You know how sometimes people just rub you the wrong way and you can't say why? That's what Jared does to me. I didn't like Jamie either. He just wasn't convincing. At times, Wanda would be pretty cool, but most of the time I could care less what happened to her.

And I never really cared about the story. I was rarely excited to find out "what happens next" and was sometimes disappointed when I did. I'm honestly not one to quit a book, especially one as superficial as The Host, but I just didn't feel like going on. Yeah, I'll probably finish the book at a later date, if only to say that I gave it a chance and not so much because I care.

Maybe Stephanie Meyer just isn't for me. She's not a bad author, her characters and stories just aren't that appealing. In the meantime, the rest of my summer reading will be in the hands of Orson Scott Card, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, authors who have never let me down, who I doubt ever will.


  1. i think she's a great storyteller but only a subpar writer. and i also think that if you like her books you're either female or toying with the idea of homosexuality. (which is fine. i don't judge.)

  2. In other words, my lack of interest in this book is an affirmation to my masculinity. Right on.

  3. I wish people wouldn't pigeon-hole male bloggers like that. It's just messed up.

  4. myke! i did the same thing, except with Twilight!

    i read a third of it and realized i wasn't enjoying it. and it's exactly as kayleen says.. great storyteller, very average writer. i didn't DISLIKE reading it, but i didn't ever get to the point where i felt compelled to keep reading.

    score one for the straight dudes.

  5. Exactly Trev . . . I was talking to my roommate yesterday and I realized I've only quit two books: The Host and Catcher in the Rye. I think we feel similarly about that one.

    And I would argue that part of storytelling is being able to write well. I mean, the stories for Twilight and The Host could be good, but The Host wasn't written in a way that I felt compelled to finish it.

  6. I read her first 3 vampire books. They were ok. I started the last one and quit it. Boring as all get out, and she doesn't really infuse any sadness into her writing. Everything just ends happy. No sacrifices made. Lame!

    Oh, and I'm glad you're not gay Myke.

    Actually, I'm kind of sad...