Monday, April 30, 2012

"Feels Like The First Time"

I have a final tomorrow, so this post will be pretty short. I want to talk today about the first time that I read Twilight.

For starters, I almost didn't read it. The movie was about to come out and about half the population was talking about the books as though they were the next Harry Potter and the other half were talking about them as if they were written by Satan. Being a super-awesome-and-super-popular-and-super-literary high school student, I was in the IHATETWILIGHTONPRINCIPLE camp with the rest of the internet.

But there came a point where I started to feel guilty about hating the book on principle. It wasn't really fair of me to hate a book that I hadn't even read. Maybe it would be good. What did I know?

But my super-awesome-and-super-popular-and-super-literary high school self had trouble just sitting down and reading the book. There was something about being the sort of person who would read Twilight that rubbed me the wrong way. What if people saw me reading it? What if they thought that I was a Twihard?? MY REPUTATION WOULD BE RUINED!!

Luckily I found a loophole. I was going to read it ironically.

One of my friends had a special copy of Twilight. It had been passed around his family, each member making notes in the margins, commenting on both Stephenie Meyer's words and also each other's. Some of my favorite comments were "Every time Edward Cullen winks, imagine a hundred-year-old man winking" and the dozen or so "Is Bella incapable of walking without appearing drunk" and "This paragraph doesn't make any sense" and of course, "Didn't we learn 100 pages ago that this is impossible?"

When I read the book through I enjoyed reading the annotations just as much (possibly even more) than I enjoyed reading the book itself, and I had a crap-ton of fun adding in my own comments.

This raises two points that I think are interesting. The first is that reading can be a social experience. You can start a book club, find reviews online, or just drop quotes in conversation and see who picks up on the reference. So it goes, amirite? Even if you read a book that you are not in love with, reading a book with friends provides significant pleasure.

But as pleasing as social reading can be, social complaining is even more pleasurable. I have bonded with so many people about how much I hate that girl in class who asks too many questions, or how much I hate seafood, or how much I hate it when people use "dice" as the singular. Complaining about a book can be even more fun than reading it!

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