I keep seeing my name around lately. One thing I’m glad of is that Stephenie pronounces it the same way as me. Not Mayer, but Mier. I haven’t read the books yet. Maybe I will someday. I don’t mind the odd bit of Undead sexual tension here and there. Sure, hype can often be a turn-off. And I’ve heard from a few trusted colleagues that the writing itself ain’t wonderful, but that she does tell a compelling narrative.
Sometimes it bugs me when people immediately roll their eyes if something is popular. Now, if you read this blog often you’d be quite aware that I prefer literary fiction, with well-drawn characters, complexity, layers, engaging issues, simmering subtext and hard-hitting themes or emotions. But I have been drawn into many narrative worlds that aren’t so dense, or aren’t realism, or are written to be fun, entertaining and/or escapist. There are many, various joys to be had through reading. Some texts I might find challenging and exhilarating, others I might speed through but be left compelled and satisfied.
I am personally a big fan of the Harry Potter series, for example. I began them as a teenager, before the films were released, and I have rarely had such an engaged, joyful experience of reading. There is a wealth of reference in those novels too for literary fans, history buffs, students of mythology and legend. I have met a lot of people who haven’t read the books but will judge me by my appreciation of them. I think this is strange.
So my point is, I won’t analyse this Stephenie Meyer ‘phenomenon’ until one day I feel compelled to pick up Twilight and have a look. And I will never roll my eyes at someone who loves the series. The only time I judge authors/books I have not read is when it’s clear the author/publisher is in the game for cash only and not for passion – when the books have the potential to dumb down; when the books are too easy, cliched and flat; when the books are now written by other people but the author’s name graces the cover, and he gets all the royalties while they get a one-off fee (you know who I’m talking about); when they hog the shelves every two months with a new release even though they have $40 million and could retire and write for fun. This kind of author leaves me steaming.
I don’t think Stephenie Meyer is like that, and hey, she might even be my third cousin or something. I seriously have religious Meyer relatives in the US. They’re quite distant. Not sure if they’re Mormons but wouldn’t be surprised.
I’d love to know who of you has read her? And what are your thoughts? Are the books crap? Are they amazing? Why/why not? Why do you think they’re so hot right now?
And do you see a resemblance?