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ande
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#23 What's up with these vampires?

[ Edited ]

Greetings Book Explorers:

 

Trying to prolong my vacation I was lazily reading the Times over the weekend and came across a column about young women readers and vampires –- specifically “The Twilight Saga” series of books, which is a publishing phenomenon. I know the whole vampire thing is big –- in case you missed it see my earlier #2 Heaven Scent: The Low Fat Vampire Dog Self Esteem Diet

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/bn/board/message?board.id=lvf&thread.id=229&jump=true

 

How big? In her column, Gail Collins quoted a spokeswoman for the author who said basically that the first three books sold 6.5 million copies in the US alone in less than three years. Collins went on to say that the fourth will arrive in stores early next months with  parties in at least 4,000 bookstores. In New York City, there will be a preparty concert of music that author Stephanie Meyer says inspires her writing. Two thousand tickets for the event gone within 45 minutes.

 

Sounds like a phenom to me. What really caught my attention, though, is how devoted young woman –- some still girls -– are to the vampire storyline. I had kinda thought about it in passing but Collins brilliantly framed this devotion and the activities of today’s boys and young men in a way that seems like even more of a creepy horror story. I’ll let Collins explain:

 

“The heroine is Bella, who gets sent off to finish high school in a really, really rainy part of the state of Washington. She catches the eye of a gorgeous boy in her biology class named Edward. He turns out to be a member of a commune of vampires, who have banded together to fight their inclination to drink human blood.

Edward, who has never been attracted to a woman, mortal or immortal, in more than a century of postdeath existence, falls for Bella at first sniff. (It’s all about the smell.) And he is going to be faithful to her forever, even when she gets old and dies. But as much as he adores her, he won’t have sex with her because he worries he might kill her with his superstrength in the heat of the moment.

So, they are forced to spend all their time kissing and cuddling and talking about their feelings.”

Collins then consults with Jessica Valenti, the author of Full Frontal Feminism, who says, “Only a vampire, ladies.” Valenti goes on to explain that since “young men are spending so much time watching pornography on the Internet that they will never be satisfied with normal women and normal relationships.”

Here’s how Collins boils it all down: “This sure sounds like trouble to me: A generation of guys who will settle for nothing less than a porn star meets a generation of women who expect their boyfriend to crawl through their bedroom window at night and just nuzzle gently until they fall asleep.”

I haven’t read these books, but Collins has and she reveals another love interest in another book in the series: a werewolf. She lets Valenti have the last word, “Just can’t meet a normal boy.”

Book Explorers:

Have any of you read books from the Twilight series? I’d like to hear from readers young and old, male and female, alive and undead.

What do you think about the books and Collins’/Valenti’s take on them?

Does your kid read these books?

Does you mom or dad read these books?

I find the topic fascinating. Here’s a link to Collins’ column, “A Virginal Goth Girl” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/12/opinion/12colllins.html?scp=2&sq=gail+collins&st=nyt

Ande



Message Edited by ande on 07-14-2008 11:19 AM

Message Edited by ande on 07-14-2008 11:23 AM
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TiggerBear
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Re: #23 What's up with these vampires?

We have been discussing your post over in the paranormal board. And holding off simply because we find it and that article(sigh) well... insulting. I asked our moderator his opinion, his benefit of the doubt is that perhaps this was done for the sake of starting discussion.

So in good spirit, I'll answer some of your questions. But I'll also for my own sake of mind show you the glaring affronts you presented.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Have any of you read books from the Twilight series? I’d like to hear from readers young and old, male and female, alive and undead.
What do you think about the books and Collins’/Valenti’s take on them?
Does your kid read these books?
Does you mom or dad read these books?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.Yes, the first one. If you want to understand what is going on, it's best to wade in and see for yourself. Not really that good, a bit too much cashing in on trends. And I hate fangless vampires. The author would have been better suited creating her own unique creatures, rather than the ultra watered down vamp model she does use. Of course though, then she might not have sold as many books.
It's not that they are bad books but well, I don't like decaf espresso either.

2.Clueless. The vampire invasion of popular culture is on a current up crest of a 40 year rise. 20 years ago a host of sociologists published what seamed at the time, an endless deluge on the subject. Valenti is way late to the party. Even the history channel beat her to the punch.
Both use a gross over simplication of the modern teenager. Give them more credit. After all you used to be one yourself, were you as gullible as Valenti makes them out to be? Is anyone's whole perspective on the opposite or same sex ever dictated by any one source?
Neither are well researched. The Twilight books aren't the only teen trendy things.
How negatively would either categorize the Otaku boy-love girls? Who satisfy their interests with books, bands, manga and posters all of boy+boy Yaoi works.
What about all the resent bruhaha over teen **bleep** parties - rainbow parties, and such? The rising trend of many straight girls kissing each other just to get a rise out of boys.
And please, did porn ruin your perspective on girls as a young man? It's never been all that hard to get. Hmmpt, the ease of acessability if anything has rubbed off far too much of the forbidden fruit quality nowadays.
Not to mention the gross comparison of porn to vampire books is more than a little insulting.

3.Does not apply.

4.Far too nonreligious and quasi sexual for my mom. But hey, she's 64. She likes Eargon and Harry Potter though.
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ande
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Re: #23 What's up with these vampires?

TiggerBear:
 
Thanks so much for responding and illuminating this for me and no doubt others. I really have no opinion and make no judgement about the Twilight series or vampires. You're right, I haven't read any of the books. I don't know if they are any good or how they compare to other books featuring vampires. Did I offend you and others? None intended. However, feel free to take issue with the comments of Collins and Valenti -- they provoke reaction for a living.
 
My purpose in all this is to learn more about the genre (any book that sells like that gets my attention) as part of the larger discussion we have every week here in Book Explorers about books, readers, culture and the publishing industry. The Twilight series popularity caught my eye in the same way that the phenomenal success this summer's "overnight success," The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by a first-time author did.  
 
So thanks for stopping in. Tell me/us more. Make some recommendations of books you think make better reading for those interested in the genre.
 
By the way, when I was a teenager I devoured  all I could find by H.P. Lovecraft. In fact, I might reread those books again this summer.
 
Ande
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TiggerBear
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Re: #23 What's up with these vampires?

Ah Lovecraft, or "what I read on my 14th summer". You might want to check out Howard's take while you're at it, makes for an excellent comparison.

Which are you asking for; Vampire romance recommendations, Vampire books, or the vastly growing sub genre of mixed vamp/shifter/fae/witch/ect.. books?

You haven't even put the tip of your toe in the ocean.
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ande
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Re: #23 What's up with these vampires?

Wow. It's a vast ocean of categories and sub-categories. Who knew? I didn't.
 
If you'd like, I'll count on you to be a tour guide for us informed Book Explorers who might want to put a toe in and see what it's all about. How about a couple of recommendations in each of those categories?
 
Merci!
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TiggerBear
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Re: #23 What's up with these vampires?

Sorry, would have gotten back to you sooner, but fridays are more than a bit hectic.

 

Well then a few sugestions.

 

Vampire Romance

Lynsay Sands - first in the series is "the Accidental Vampire" most recent"Vampire Interrupted". My best recommendation really; warm, funny, and sexy.

Jeaniene Frost - first in the series "Halfway to the grave".

 

It is important to note that a great many authors in this field crossover to the straight genre crossing section and vise versa. They use a lot of the same publishing houses, and mix ups are common, likely deliberate.

 

Pure Vampire

Anne Rice - first is "Interview with a Vampire". Still the best.

 

Cross genre Vampire

Laurel K. Hamilton - Anita Blake series, the pentacle(so far) in the series is "Obsidian Butterfly".

Kim Harrison - first would be "A fist full of charms".

Jim Butcher - Dresden series, first would be "Storm Front".

 

This genre is growing like kudzu nowadays, turn your back for a month and they'll be 8 new authors and dozen new books waiting for you.

 

 

Not to steal readers from your board, but a host more recomendations await anyone in Paranormal and in Romance. If any of these catch your fancy.

 

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ande
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Re: #23 What's up with these vampires?

My thanks for those suggestions. They will be be very helpful for those looking for a place to start. Sometimes people find specialized boards intimidating and are afraid of looking dumb or ill-informed.
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TiggerBear
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Re: #23 What's up with these vampires?

Not a problem, glad to help. Any more questions you were timid to ask? I'll happily answer.
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ande
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Re: #23 What's up with these vampires?

None from me at the moment. Anyone else? Now's your chance.
Ande