A Gateway Drug

I’ve recently read quite a few Twilight reviews.  None of them were stellar.  None of them were kind.  Heck, none of them said the book warranted a mediocre review. And certainly none of them recommended the book.

And I would like to dispute that.

If books were food there would be the main course books, which in my life would probably be fantasy books.  Fantasy books, and the escapism they provide, sustain my soul.  These are the books I turn to everyday, the ones I reread time and time again, the ones that provide the literary nutrition to keep me going.

Then there are the fancy dessert books.  The ones you only read when you’re on a date, all dressed up, trying to impress someone.  In literature, for me, that would be Shakespeare, the classics, and the occasional biographies.  You know, the smart books.  I only read a handful of these books a year.  Just enough to keep up appearances.  And they are always sandwiched between good fantasy novels.

Then there are the candy books.  The not-good-for-you,  the only-tastes-good-in-the-exact-moment-you’re-eating-it, candy books.  That’s Twilight.  Good enough to pull me in for an entire afternoon and read a whole book.  Not good enough for me to discuss the intricacies of the characters, or plot, or language.  Enjoyable for the moments I’m reading it and then regrettable when I realize I wasted a whole afternoon eating candy instead of something more fulfilling.

Twilight is a Gateway Drug.  It’s pulled hundreds of thousands of readers in.  It’s introduced them to being captivated by heroes and heroines.  It’s opened the readers up to all the other books.  When there are so many distractions (blogging, ahem) to keep readers from reading, and worse, to keep non-readers from becoming readers, who can argue that any series with that many readers is bad?  This series has recruited more initiates to our ranks of readers than any blog ever has.

And maybe, one day, those readers will look back at Twilight and scoff at it’s one-dimensional characters, it’s weak dialogue, and repeated plot-line.  But the only way they’ll get to that point is if they’ve read enough Rawn, Bray, Yolen, Shakespeare, Bronte, Austin, Tolkien, etc.  But they have to start somewhere.  Something has to introduce them to the world of books, to the worlds in books.

So here’s a thanks to candy, to gateway drugs, and to Twilight.  Hopefully your followers realize their love for you is only the beginning of a much deeper more satisfying love, a love for literature.

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4 thoughts on “A Gateway Drug

  1. Finally! Someone who is bold enough to say it. The pretentious judgement of so-called “readers” often discourage [embarrass] new readers. Twilight, for example, maybe not be written for the snobby book clique. Perhaps Stephanie Meyers did exactly what she set out to do; she wrote an interesting story that MOST people can relate to that MOST people would find an easy read. It peaked curiosity and now we have even more friends, colleagues, students, children, to talk about books with. Maybe books have reasons to exist outside being “well-written.” Can’t a book just be, as you quipped, “a gateway drug?”

    Sweet post.

    I agree.

  2. I think of Harry Potter much the same way. Good “candy” book for me, but I’d much rather have something more substantial. But if it leads people to more books, that’s awesome.

  3. Pingback: I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore | Three Descriptors

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