Twilight isn’t great, but it doesn’t suck

eclipse flyleaf

Image by circulating via Flickr

It’s not that I dislike the book. I’m reading it now and I can’t put it down. I’m probably going to read the entire series. So it befuddled me that a book series I’m investing in leaves me somewhat disappointed. But it does.

The author Stephanie Meyer spends wayyyyyy too much time describing emo vampire Edward Cullen. Yes, I get that Cullen rhymes with “sullen.” There’s only so many words to describe his beauty. The main character Bella has to comment on his eyes every time he speaks. When they have conversations, Edward’s sullenness and actions interrupt dialogue.  I don’t need to know he’s sad. I got that from the beginning.  It’s like, get on with it already.

I’m halfway through the book and nothing really has happened yet. Maybe I made the mistake of watching the movie first, but I think by this time the bad guys might have shown up by now.

In the film, Bella reacts to her realization that Edward is a vampire in a much more believable way. In the book, she simply tells him, “It doesn’t matter.” WHAT? If I was in high school and I find out my boyfriend with the chiseled features is a blood-sucking vampire, I’d ditch my pom poms and run away, my pleated skirt flapping in the breeze.

But I guess it doesn’t matter, I’m going to finish the book and the series because I have to know what happens. In that way, Stephanie Meyer is a genius. And that is never disappointing.

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there is more than heat in the south: viewing faulkner as poetry

mister faulkner

As an English major in college, I had to take a course in American literature. One day, my professor said that a lot of great American literature came from the South. As a wise-cracking young adult in the early ’90s, my hair sprayed with Proforma 5 inches high, I smacked my gum and said, “That’s because there’s nothing else to do down there.”

I was quite naïve. When one thinks about the south, humidity, heat, kids hanging out smoking in the Wal-Mart parking lot might come to mind. Then there’s more humidity, mosquitoes, hanging out on the front porch on Sunday afternoons, more heat, and sun tea. Great literature probably doesn’t pop up in that list.

But William Faulkner breaks that southern stigma, if only we pick up one of his books and read it. Take for instance, this passage from Requiem for a Nun:

“A soar, an apex, the South’s own apotheosis of its destiny and its pride, Mississippi and Yoknapatawpha County not last in this, Mississippi among the first of the eleven to ratify secession.”

When reading Faulkner I discovered that you must first approach his work as poetry and then story. Otherwise you miss out on the vivid imagery and the southern dialect, like this excerpt from As I Lay Dying by the character Darl:

“Pa’s feet are badly splayed, his toes cramped and bent and warped, with no toenail at all on his little toes, from working so hard in the wet in homemade shoes when he was a boy. Beside his chair his brogans sit. They look as though they had been hacked with a blunt axe out of pig-iron.”

As a student I didn’t see Faulkner as much more than an assignment. But now, I can’t wait to read more.

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