7.25.2010

WHY I LOVE STEPHENIE MEYER

i was 21.
it was April.
it was April and i was graduating in May and i was a snob, and this part is important.

i was attending a small global-minded university serving Kantian ethics for breakfast, the Bhagavad-Gita for lunch, and Natsume Soseki for dinner. i studied the greatest authors, the greatest poets, the greatest stories in history. i spoke different languages, studied different languages, traveled around the world and fancied myself intelligent.

because i was so fancy, you see.

it was my last semester of college and i was taking six classes just because i felt like it. i liked books and i liked critical theory and i was working on my senior thesis. i was dissecting The Tale of Genji and Pride & Prejudice and creating an entirely unique argument for two of the worlds' greatest female authors in history and my oh my I WAS SO VERY PLEASED WITH MYSELF.

i was going to be a fancy fancy intellectual oh so fancyyyyyy mmmmmmmm

"have you seen Twilight?" my friends said to me.
"vampires? that sounds ridiculous," is what i said to them.
"have you seen Twilight?" my brother asked of me.
"i can't believe you would see it," is what i said to him.

who cares about Stephenie Meyer when there is Murasaki Shikibu?
who cares about Vampires when i have Dostoevsky sitting on my bookshelf?
WHO CARES ABOUT THIS NONSENSE WHEN NOTHING WILL EVER BE AS GREAT AS HARRY POTTER?

"here is the book," my brother said to me.
"no thanks," i said so politely.
"just take it," he insisted.
"i don't want it!" is what i exclaimed.

it was 7pm.
i remember because i kept looking at the clock.
i had 30 pages left to write and research and edit edit edit for my thesis and i was itching to procrastinate. that book had been sitting on my desk for a few weeks now. i'd only taken it from my brother on account of his insistence, and because i didn't want to hurt his feelings by telling him how embarrassing the whole thing was. how offensive, really, that i could even contemplate reading a book like that. but at 7pm that Friday night anything was better than staring at my computer screen for the 549th time.

so i read it.
and i never recovered.

i had to read her book to realize i was wrong about what i wanted to do for the rest of my life.

say what you will about Twilight, good and bad and in between, but Twilight has changed the landscape of the publishing world forever. Stephenie Meyer is responsible for breaking down a million walls in the Young Adult world. she's the reason teens are devouring books again, she's the reason Young Adult authors have a fighting chance, and she's the reason why so many of us started writing.

whether you read it and thought, "OMG IF THIS COULD GET PUBLISHED, WELLLLL, LOLOLOLOL"
or if you thought, "WHAT AN INSPIRATION I WANT TO DO THIS, TOO"

it doesn't matter.

Stephenie Meyer is the reason people are paying attention to our books these days, and for that, i can't help but say thank you.

i make jokes about glittering werevampires and volvos made of diamonds, but at the end of the day i owe Stephenie Meyer a hug and a lot of gratitude. because people like her are getting kids in libraries and bookstores. people like her are getting adolescents to save their money to buy books instead of something worse. people like her are giving US the opportunity to have a voice in the industry.

so to every Young Adult author who's given the YA world a fighting chance?

i just wanted to say thank you.

so much.

53 comments:

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

ha! great points! She definitely accomplished some great things with teens!

Cruella Collett said...

I'm with you on that one (even though I haven't actually read her books. But then I haven't read Pride & Prejudice or War & Peace either, so I'm okay...) She has opened up a new section of the market, and she has inspired both readers and writers. And personally I am really grateful for the comical aspect too - I love mocking sparkly vampires!

Kate Hart said...

Yup. Yup yup yup.

(I am FANCY.)

JEM said...

Hells. Yeah. Preach.

Tana said...

love!

Elaine AM Smith said...

Good points Tahereh.
The YA world mushroomed from this point.
Then there was The Host where Stephenie Meyer really showed how much she had learned about writing. Writing - a journey in learning to write. That is definitely true of us all.

Alison Stevens said...

I'm with you... I was reluctant to pick up a book about a human-vampire love affair. But my sister gave me her series before I flew home from a visit last fall.

Four books... filled most of my carry-on luggage... I started Twilight in O'Hare and finished it as we landed at Tegel. I read the entire series in 14 days... and I started writing in earnest after that. I owe Stephanie my thanks, too. :)

Remilda Graystone said...

Lots of truth in this post! It also made me laugh, WHICH I'VE BEEN NEEDING FOR FOREVER NOW!! So thank you. And also thank to Stephenie Meyer because you're so right about what she's done for the Young Adult market.

Chanelley said...

This is so true. It was after I read Twilight that I came out of my writing funk determined that if she could do it with no background in writing, then I could do it too.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Awesome post. I know exactly how you feel. Twilight played a big part in me finally chasing me dream too. :)

Jen said...

AMEN!!!! I found that J.K. Rowling unlocked the YA world for me so I have to thank her and the rest of the YA authors for giving the rest of us a chance and opened our minds to new and just as brilliant stories.

Happy Monday!

Mohamed Mughal said...

You write so well, I didn't notice the missing capital letters until 2/3rds the way down your post.

Good melding of thought and expression.

Matthew Rush said...

I would have to argue that JK and Harry started the whole craze, but Stephanie, Bella and Edward definitely kept it going strong and even increased the frenzy to epic proportions.

I remember seeing an episode of Good Morning America or something like that in 98 or 99 and they were talking about people standing in line all night to get the new HP. Adults were standing in line for a children's book. I was like WTF?

Eventually I went and got a copy and things haven't been the same since. Twilight wasn't written for grown men. I read the first book in the series, almost all the way through but I couldn't finish it. Not because it was bad, it WAS entertaining in its own way, it just wasn't for me ... but you ARE right. All aspiring writer/authors owe Stephanie Meyer a great deal, whether they know it or not.

Vicki Rocho said...

I think there are great books that are expertly written and share a message that needs to be told, and then there are just good reads. The characters are engaging or the storyline is fun. Neither is necessarily better than the other, and I think we need BOTH in our lives.

My mom always said she didn't care what we read, as long as we kept reading. She assured us we could learn from any book--and I think she's right.

Palindrome said...

I agree with Jen. I think it was J.K. Rowling broke down the walls first.

I have never stopped reading YA and have always seen adult readers in that section when I ran it.

But as long as you're reading... :)

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

THIS WAS THE SPARKLIEST POST EVER.

Christi Goddard said...

I tried to read Twilight. I made it to page 8. Totally not my cup of tea. It's not the story, it was the MC. I had no empathy for her. I didn't care what happened to her. Reading is subjective, after all.

I can wholeheartedly say it was Rowling who got me writing again. I was inspired by fanfic and started writing my own Potterverse stories. I have her to thank for getting my daughters reading again. Neither of them are interested in Twilight.

As for the frenzy of both series, I think it is largely because people long to feel like they belong to something. They want to be a part of something. The fans of these series proudly wear their shirts, attend conventions, etc. Much like television or movies like Star Trek or Star Wars. If the adventure is good enough, people want to pretend they are a part of it.

Jemi Fraser said...

Any book that gets kids reading is okay with me :)

Tiffany Neal said...

Loved this. I adore your public proclamation of Twilight Love. :)

MBW aka Olleymae said...

yep yep. So true!

Also, I'm pretty much the next J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer combined. Also Chuck Norris.

At least that's what I've been putting on my queries.

I joke.

Have a great Monday~~

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL. The book sat on my shelf for over a month before I opened it. And before I got to the end, I'd already ordered the next two.

I agree, while a lot of people complain about the writing and the characters, who cares. It helped the industry big time.

Em-Musing said...

I'm 60 and love the Twilight series. I was the oldest one in the movies last week seeing Eclipse too. A good story is . . . a good story.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Good post - and a great way of looking at it!

Steena Holmes said...

Give me a sparkling man that captivates the imagination any day!

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

T, totally agree with you on this. I remember when a friend told me about Twilight way before the craze/stigma/etc. I read the series, loved it, and even recommended it to others. Bottom line? It was enjoyable for me. I wonder if you've knocked out The Host, too. I actually feel like the premise appealed to me even LESS than Twilight, but I loved it so much more! Thanks, Tahereh!

Marissa <3

Theresa Milstein said...

We'll have to agree to disagree on this. J.K. Rowling bridged children's and adult books. And there have been quite a few YA books that sold well before Twilight. I'll credit her for making vampires hot again.

Natalie said...

Well said. I think Stephanie Meyer has definitely brought the spotlight to YA books and we should be grateful for that.

Bee said...

I will echo you on that. I might have hated Breaking Dawn ( I loved the rest of the series though) but Stephenie Meyer made YA what it is now. She made YA so very important that people are now not afraid to take a chance on teen books (more than they were a few years ago). J K Rowling made everyone read, read and read again, Meyer made people sit up and take notice of teen fiction.

And, yes, I'm thankful to her.

Caitlin R. O'Connell said...

"WHO CARES ABOUT THIS NONSENSE WHEN NOTHING WILL EVER BE AS GREAT AS HARRY POTTER?"

Haha, yaaaay!

I do think it was Ms. Rowling who catapulted kids' books into the spotlight, but I suppose, good and bad, it is Ms. Meyer keeping it there.

R. B. LeMoyne said...

I gravitate more to J. K. Rowling than Stephanie Meyer, but I do agree that the latter has taken what the former started - making YA books appeal to more than just middle school kids - and ran with it. For good or ill (and I'll spare you my rant on that), Ms. Meyer did get people reading again.

Sarah Enni said...

JK and S. Meyer are like the two women most responsible for YA today, no doubt about it. I personally was impacted by Twilight exactly as you were, and I also owe Miss Meyer a gigantic hug and possibly apologies for all the sparkle jokes.

Every friend I've introduced to Twilight, no matter how fancy they consider themselves (and I have some very fancy friends) LOVE Twilight unconditionally. It is responsible for eliminating tons of arbitrary boundaries to YA and I am so glad you are celebrating it!

Alleged Author said...

I LOVE Twilight. When I saw how rabid people were to read it, I thought "meh." Now I've read the whole darn series at least 10 times.

Laura Marcella said...

Great post! The only comparison one could make between Rowling and Meyer is that J.K. opened the door to kids, and Stephenie opened the door to teens. And BOTH series attracted adults, too! Pretty amazing.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Okay, #1: The only names I understood were Harry Potter and Twilight. He he he. #2: Very well said #3: I think Stephanie needs to share her genie. (See my blog if you don't understand this last reference).

Sumayyah said...

YES. This. So. Much. I've outgrown Twilight (except not really) and really, honestly, without her and the HUGE CRAZE OMG YA wouldn't be what it is today. :)

Also, I my word verification is keeze which I think is like the Russian way of saying kiss. So. Keezes to jyoo. <3

April said...

I totally get what you're saying. I am not a fan of Meyer. She's not the only author I don't really like, despite the hype. But, she did do a lot. I'd much rather see teens with their noses in a book, any book, than...something worse. I am such an avid reader that I hope my stepdaughter will be (though I doubt it). I get it from my mom, as did one of my sisters and both of my brothers. Reading is a lost art, in and of itself. So yay for Meyers who taught teens that it's cool to read again!

Talli Roland said...

Love your point of view on this one! :)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I agree. Anything which encourages teens ( and adults) to read, and opens up the thirst for YA is okay by me. <3

Krispy said...

You have a point here, a pretty good one. And, the book did provide me many, many hours of entertainment after the reading.

Patty said...

OMG...this is truly one of your best posts ever...do not ever stop blogging...you are a genius at it...

jddeshaw said...

I agree that there are definitely more young girls reading than before, but I'm not sure Twilight is the best book to be doing this :) There's a few things in there that send the wrong message to the young girls who are reading it.

I think all Meyer has done is probably turn reading into a fantasy once again. I don't see anything wrong with that.

However, I don't think all the girls who've read Twilight and loved it then moved to read other YA novels.

Simon C. Larter said...

Heh. As much as people hate on Meyer and Dan Brown and their ilk, they at least get people into bookstores and libraries. That is NEVER a bad thing. Well said, good lady.

Julie Musil said...

So true! Meyer did for YA what Rowling did for MG right? If young people are reading, it's all good.

Carolyn V. said...

Okay, it's true. I started writing because of Stephanie's books. I'm so glad she wrote them. =)

DL Hammons said...

I've never read Stephanie Meyer and I've found the Twilight movies to be totally forgettable, but there is no denying her impact on the YA culture and all of your points are valid. My hat's off to her.

Glynis said...

For a mum to write down a dream, get it published then made into a movie, she has my vote. For an author to encourage money to be spent on books, she has my vote.

I agree, thank you Stephanie.

Great post! :)

SM Schmidt said...

"volvos made of diamonds" had me gasping for air choking on my toast. In all seriousness your right on, there will always be the elephant in the room of authors who swoon over "fancy" and it will be SMeyer for bringing readers back to give said authors an audience.

Jamie Burch said...

Inspiring post!

Missy said...

I know I'm a little late to the game here, but I just wanted to say thank you for this. I'm so tired of all the Stephenie Meyer snobbery that I've discovered in the literary world.
I've spent a lot of time wondering why this series so appeals to the masses. At first I thought it was the vampire. That unattainable bad boy, or the Beauty and the Beast aspect. But after having recently re-read the series, I think it's something else. I think it's the give and take of Bella and Edward's relationship. From the very beginning Bella falls under Edward's spell and we feel her yearning to be near him. We feel her relief and excitement when they are together. When she aches for him to be near, we actually ache for him to be near too. The story gives us just enough, and then takes it away again.
I might get bashed here, but I actually compare the story to Jane Eyre. In this book we can feel Jane's desire to be near Edward and her despair when he is gone. Also, in both books the characters nearly perish when the other leaves.
I believe it is the love story that is so compelling in these books. The fact that the Twilight Edward is a sparkly vampire is almost superfluous.

Lori W. said...

I love this glittery "Show Meyer Some Love" post. I picked up Twilight because I thought I'd better find out what a best seller looked like. And, then, of course, I *needed* to read the whole series. Sure, you can rip it apart from a lit. crit. P.O.V., from an "OMG that relationship is so dysfunctional P.O.V., etc. BUT, it does have its charms.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly how everyone else has been taken in the fold by Stephenie Meyer ... she knows how it feels to be in love

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

Oh, this is so true. I wrote this down ages ago when I was playing with acknowledgements for my first novel (which is still in the editing stages, but I like playing around with that stuff, you know?)

Thank you to Stephenie Meyer for reminding me of the joy of writing.

She gets so much flack, but there is good there. thanks for reminding all of us!

Theresa Milstein said...

I've been thinking about this post. I bet every writer has the book or the author that made them decide to take the plunge. We all have the people (authors) who inspire us. And there's something to be learned and appreciated from each book we read.

It was nice to hear what got you writing.

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