Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Twilight Zone

Last night I was surrounded by teenage vampires (and maybe a couple werewolves...). Not only vampires, but vampires dressed to the nines. Prom dresses galore. Not to mention dark lipstick, combat-boot-fishnet combos, and big hair. All out celebrating the release of Stephanie Meyer's fourth installment of the Twilight series: Breaking Dawn.

The faces of the 'normal' bookstore customers were priceless. They looked around like it was an alien invasion (and I guess in some ways it was). But some old fogies, and some not so old, were regrettably unable to grasp the significance of the teenage presence. Complaints: "It's too loud." "What are these people doing here?"

Admittedly, a bookstore is generally a place where you come in, sip your coffee, and browse through merchandise you have no intention of buying...even if the coffee gets spilled on said merchandise. Yes, you go there for 'quiet' and 'peace'. In my opinion, these people have forgotten the real enthusiasm of reading. They whined and moaned and left early. Poor bastards don't get it.

It's not about vampires and werewolves and wacky, whiny teenagers.

It's about the fact that these kids were reading. And not only reading--actively participating and cheering for characters that showed them something about life. Cheering loudly. With their parents. That's right, there were a ton of caring, supportive parents there last night cheering on the same characters and the fact that their kids were reading. I've only seen Harry Potter and Eragon do that.

When you read, you've got to get down into the characters, into the story, and fall in love. That's magic. As a reader you have to suspend your disbelief and imagine this writer's creation as real. If the writer did his/her job (key!)...that shouldn't be hard to maintain. I've read Twilight and Harry Potter and Eragon and all of them do this (stock characters and creatures aside...). And the fans have come out in freaky costumes and all their wild, nerdy glory and they deserve our respect and admiration because they get it.

Put some passion in your reading. You'll be better for it.

2 comments:

  1. Hear! Hear!

    Hooray for the vamps and werewolves! And wizards and dragon riders. And, however you might feel about about "big box" bookstores, hooray for B&N for throwing the prom. I know it's a marketing thing--what isn't?--but how cool would it have been to go to party about your favorite books when you were 10? or 14?

    And a big "get over yourselves" to the fogies. It's a bookstore, not a library.

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  2. And libraries aren't exactly always sedate either these days. East library has a whole room for teens these days and its not exactly the most serene place. Teenagers are naturally enthusiastic and it should be encouraged- especially about something like the imagination and reading. I'd have loved to go to a party about my favorite characters when I was a teenager. We have to remember that the alternative to teen and preteen enthusiasm is sullenness and that's no bargain!

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