First, the movie was bad. While I was home for Thanksgiving break I went with some of my family to see the movie Twilight. I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to movies -- not that I love every movie I see, but there is usually something that I like about most. But when I left the theater after seeing this one, I sincerely struggled to find something I liked about Twilight. The acting was unconvincing, the visual effects were laughable, and the action was too short to be satisfying. (Sure, Twilight is a love story so it's not about special effects and fighting, but c'mon, when the acting is that bad you've gotta give us something.) How could a movie with no redeeming qualities be so popular? (OK, so I liked Jacob, but a character with ten minutes of screen time hardly saves the movie.)
Second, the book was better. They usually always are. I was curious to see what the hype was about. I've been interested in reading Twilight before, but after an attempt to read The Host by the same author, any desire to try Twilight was extinguished. But this time curiosity got the better of me, so while at the airport last Friday I picked up a cheap paperback copy at one of the newsstands. I finished it yesterday. It was OK. I'm hesitant to say that I liked it. I didn't hate it, it wasn't terrible, and I might even go so far to say that parts of it were better than I had expected. But I'm not gonna lie, it didn't take long for me to get sick of Edward's smoldering eyes and marble forearms. The characters were OK. I think the only one I really liked was Carlisle. And maybe Alice but probably because I imagined her being a superbabe. As far as the writing goes, at the beginning it seemed like she was just reading off some list, "I did this, then this happened, and after that this person said this and this is how I reacted." I found less of this happening as the story progressed, which was good. But overall, there was nothing in the book that made me say, "Wow, she's such a good writer." The book was OK. I'll probably end up reading the others but not anytime soon.
And third, I think I somewhat understand the hype of Twilight. Yeah, I can understand why a teenage girl would be into this book. It's easy to read, it's about a girl in high school who falls in love, Edward is a dreamboat, etc. and so on. Do I think it merits the hype? Not really. Other than a good story (which is arguable), it really has little value to the world of literature. It's not thought-provoking and the characters are bland; in short, it doesn't really offer anything that hasn't already been given. Which is completely fine, I read and enjoy plenty of books like this. It simply goes to show what people are looking for in books these days: fluff.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
It's been a while since I've gone this long without a post. It's because whenever I come home for breaks I always switch into turbo-reading mode to catch up on all the books I wasn't able to read while I'm at school.
Friday night I finished reading my sixth novel by John Steinbeck. He's my favorite deceased author (Orson Scott Card being my favorite living). The Winter of Our Discontent is probably my third favorite Steinbeck Novel, after East of Eden and Cannery Row, though it has the coolest title of any of his books (taken from Shakespeare's Richard III, I believe).
This book reads differently from the other Steinbeck novels I've read; it has a much more modern feel. It's told through the main character Ethan Allen Hawley, heir to a squandered fortune. Instead of enjoying the status and fortune of his father and grandfather, Ethan is forced to work as a grocery store clerk to support his family. The story is an account of Ethan's stuggle to regain the position and dignity his family once enjoyed.
I really enjoy Steinbeck because his stories are so original and far from predictable. You feel less like you're going through the process of a story and more like you're experiencing what the characters experience. I wish I could explain the (dare I say?) majesty of writing; it's really something you have to experience for yourself. The best part is there is a Steinbeck novel for everyone. Looking for a sprawling, multi-generational family epic of grandiose proportions? Check out East of Eden. Don't feel like making that kind of investment? Try Cannery Row or Of Mice and Men. Average length novel with a far-from-average story and even better characters? I suggest Grapes of Wrath or The Winter of Our Discontent. You can't go wrong with any of these. It's just a matter of what kind of read you want. Let me know if you want to borrow one of these, I own them all.