Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Quality of a Writer

Here is my confession of the day ...

I have not read any of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and do not ever intend to. ::Gasp:: How have I come to this definitive decision? Through one simple but infinitely important reason -- every review that I have read (by a reasonable teen or adult -- not those cuckoo teen girls with atrocious spelling and an unnatural loyalty to a book series) says that it is an entertaining story but that the author is not a very good writer. I may have it wrong but I think that the best story ever, written by the worst writer, is just going to be a bad book. When I was a teen, I started reading Dean R. Koontz books. After two or three of them, I dropped them cold -- not because the stories weren't interesting or scary or whatever else they were meant to be but because the writing was so dreadfully bad.

I'm not a book snob by any means. I don't have to finish a book feeling edified or educated. I appreciate and enjoy many books, such as Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series, simply for their entertainment value. But just because a book is entertaining and/or "frivolous" reading does not mean that I still don't expect that it be well-written. For me, a story is only as good as the quality of the storyteller. And for this reason I will be avoiding this particular bad writer, however popular she and her stories may be at the moment.

Snarkily critical,

p.s. If you need some examples of the totally painful teen reviews of the book, check out the L.A. Times Book Review. My favorite line from a comment is "In my opinion, books are things that people take time to write in order to get an important message across in a way that both entertains and sheds some intelligence." Hah.


  1. I have the series in my bookshelf just waiting to be read. While I agree, a good story with great writing is going to be a better book, I can read crap. Yep, do a lot of it. I'm lowbrow that way. I also read a lot of quality, so I'm not totally lowbrow, I just like to read, and like to read a wide variety of stuff.

    But I respect your choice to abstain.

  2. As I think a bit more about it, I find that my philosophy is that there are just so many well-written stories out there that I haven't read yet so why would I spend my time reading something that everyone says is not especially good for one reason or another?
    We are all different, though, and that's why all of the books that exist were able to be published. There is always someone out there who will read them! The Twilight series has the right to exist and I'll just exercise my right not to read them.