Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once

Owner: Goodreads.com

16863 books
79982   votes
0

1

The Hunger Games

by

4.37 rating

Comment 1: allow me to be relevant for a moment: oh my god, this book is outstanding!! it is all good things; battle royale, blood of heroes (one of the best movies ever made - dont argue with me), and all the best elements of this survivalist gary paulsen jag i am on. it kept me up way past my bedtime last night, because i could not stop reading, even though my eyes did not want to be awake. and now we veer, as ever, into the personal. this book is my comeuppance. i suppose it is factually my second comeu Comment 2: Why did I put reading this one off for so many years? I remember this being extremely popular but it seems like I was in a rut with my reading and figured I would pick them up eventually when I was back on track. Months turned into years and I finally saw the movies, which I suppose pushed them even further down my TBR and is a real shame because the movies didn't capture quite everything the book had to offer. (Not that I'm shaming the movies; I enjoyed them but you never can include everything Comment 3: To say this book is good is an understatement to the extreme. This book is abso-freaking-lutely phenomenal. It has been a long time since I've read it, and I don't remember being as engrossed by the story whenever it first came out (when I was in high school maybe?). But this time...man, it has been hard to put it down and walk away. The movies are most fresh in my mind and I can't believe I didn't realize how closely the movie followed the book--from what I could tell, there were only a handful

2

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by

4.43 rating

Comment 1: Adolescence is not an easy stage of life. I remember when I was a teenager I would often find myself having fits of anger without any reason at all. I would be pissed with people that I did not even know, I would antagonize my parents and friends just for the sake of doing it. As Harry is now a fifteen year old, we find him going through all this hormonal problems. Throw in the mixture the fact that there is a psychopath trying to kill him while no one believes what he says and, to worsen the situation, his friends have ignored him during all summer, and you have a perfect recipe for explosive behavior.tThe atmosphere of this book is, since the beginning, much more mature than in the predecessors. As in Goblet of Fire, here Harry starts being attacked by his enemies already at the beginning of the book. Because of these attacks, he is summoned to a hearing at the Ministry of Magic. So, after having passed the whole summer without a word from friends and even from Dumbledore, he is “rescued” from the Dursleys’ by a bunch of people, some of which he has never seen before. He ends up being transported to the old mansion of Sirius’ family, which is serving as headquarters to the people that want to oppose Voldemort and his followers.tHere is where I started noticing the big difference in atmosphere on this book in comparison to the previous ones. There is no staring at everything that is magical in awe anymore, there are no more long descriptions giving background to every little magical thing that pops up in the story. It is clear that Rowling is expecting everyone to know their whereabouts while reading her story already, so she focuses more on character/relationships development than in any former book.tRegarding the Black mansion, while it was fun to explore a new place, I found it particularly hard to accept that such a nice sensible person as Sirius is related to someone as nasty as Bellatrix Lestrange. It’s just… not right. tAnyway, soon enough we are led to Harry’s hearing, which allow us to see for the first time some parts of the Ministry of Magic. I actually liked the Ministry, in general, but didn’t like most people working there. Especially at Harry’s hearing, everyone was treating him harshly, even those who were supposed to support him; really sad. Here we are also introduced to one of the character who would become hated by almost everyone: Dolores Umbridge, but I will talk more about her later.tWell, after this events everyone is soon enough on their way back to Hogwarts. This is when we are introduced to one of my favorite characters ever: Luna Lovegood. I like her so much! Yes, she is lunatic, but she is so essentially good and innocent, being at the same time extremely wise, that I can’t help the feeling that we would be really good friends if she was a real person. As the story goes on, she unknowingly acts like a wall of stability in Harry’s life, even when darkness seems to be winning, and that is really sweet.tAs for the normal school affairs, there is a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, as usual, only this time it’s a woman: Dolores Umbridge. Yes, a former Ministry agent as a teacher. She soon makes it clear that she is going to teach following strict guidelines given by the Minister of Magic and no one else’s. That gradually leads some students to act rebelliously, trying to learn how to defend themselves properly on their own. When this fact comes to Umbridge’s attention, she manages to pull a few strings of her own, what makes the imperative influence that the Ministry had been imposing over Hogwarts to grow even more. Things soon get out of Dumbledore’s control, Hogwarts becomes almost like a military school. This is what makes me hate Umbridge so much; she manages to, for almost an entire book, destroy that welcoming atmosphere that made me think of Hogwarts as home, and this is unacceptable. Sooner than later the students get their little piece of revenge on her, though, and that is amusing to see.tAnyway, political conflict isn’t the biggest problem during Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts. Comparing to when he starts having very vivid nightmares and those start coming true, that is nothing. Yes, the evil lurking outside is not only outside anymore, it’s tormenting him from inside his own head. This peculiar situation leads to a few very especial lessons and impressive discoveries about Harry’s father past in Hogwarts. It’s interesting to get to know a little bit more about his parents under a different, not so friendly, perspective.tDespite his lessons against mental rape, though, Harry is not strong enough. Evil uses the window of opportunity created by his young mind to lead him and his friends into the most epic adventure in the series so far, in my opinion. Unfortunately, not everyone gets out of it unharmed and the outcome of it changes not only Harry’s life forever, but also the whole world’s. We were used to the customary pattern on the former books: Harry is with the Dursleys during the summer; at the end of the summer he would go to the Weasleys' or some other place and then to school; something serious would happen during his stay there and he and his friends would try to solve the problem. Not anymore. Not after this book. There’s no safe place any longer, not even Hogwarts.tI like this book a lot. It’s my favorite after The Prisoner of Azkaban, actually. Despite the darker tone, which is present since the beginning, it still contains some very sweet parts and hilarious scenes that made me laugh hard. My only advice would be to people be prepared to lose some favorite character here and there, for in this book Rowling starts to display some symptoms of what I call the “George R. R. Martin syndrome”. Beware. Interesting quotes that I didn't include in the review: Wit beyond measure is a man's greatest treasure. Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike. Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect. Youth can not know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young. The Last Passage(view spoiler)[ `Well…' said Moody, pushing back his bowler hat to reveal his sinisterly revolving magical eye. Uncle Vernon leapt backwards in horror and collided painfully with a luggage trolley. `Yes, I'd have to say you do, Dursley'He turned away from Uncle Vernon to survey Harry.`So, Potter… give us a shout if you need us. If we don't hear from you for three days in a row, we'll send someone along…'Aunt Petunia whimpered piteously. It could not have been plainer that she was thinking of what the neighbours would say if the't caught sight of these people marching up the garden path.`Bye, then, Potter,' said Moody, grasping Harry's shoulder for a moment with a gnarled hand.`Take care, Harry,' said Lupin quietly. `Keep in touch.'`Harry, we'll have you away from there as soon as we can,' Mrs. Weasley whispered, hugging him again.`We'll see you soon, mate,' said Ron anxiously, shaking Harry's hand.`Really soon, Harry' said Hermione earnestly. `We promise.'Harry nodded. He somehow could not find words to tell them what it meant to him, to see them all ranged there, on his side. Instead, he smiled, raised a hand in farewell, turned around and led the way out of the station towards the sunlit street, with Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and Dudley hurrying along in his wake. (hide spoiler)]

3

To Kill a Mockingbird

by

4.24 rating

Comment 1: This is one more book which I read during a summer break. I actually had not read any classics by my own volition until I grabbed this one, so I will always cherish To Kill a Mockingbird as my first. At first, I didn’t even know what the book was about, really. I just remember choosing this one because I had heard its title a bunch of times, plus it had a really beautiful cover (yes, I am one of those guys…). I remember thinking that it was bound to be, at least, average, otherwise it wouldn’t have acquired such fame. And it was much more than that. To this day, few books have had the same general impact on me as a human being as this one. The powerful lessons expressed through every character, especially Atticus Finch, are unique and everlasting.I could say that this book is nothing more than a coming of age story about day-to-day life in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression, but it is. To Kill a Mockingbird, in its simplicity, emanates waves of warmth through totally believable and relatable characters. Enduring characters like the Finches, Calpurnia and Boo Radley are rare, but when they come up they tend to stay with the readers for generations. Atticus Finch, by being such a beacon of righteousness to the kids, has done the same for me as well. The most admirable thing about him is his ability to influence the kids, constantly leading them to the right direction regarding moral and general behavior, while letting them interact with society and find out the workings of the world on their own. Also, the way Atticus talks to the kids is something that everyone should learn: to interact with children as if they are adults; by doing so, Atticus makes sure the children know their opinions are being taken seriously and that they are respected. I wish every parent was like that! God knows how disgusted I get whenever I see parents interacting with their kids as if they are some kind of injured puppy or something… Well, to wrap this all up, I wish I could have read To Kill a Mockingbird sooner so that I would have been inspired by its awesomeness from a younger age.Regarding the narrative, I found it light and easy flowing; there is no excess of detail descriptions, no sudden unexplained events or anything poorly executed. Everything makes sense and fits the rhythm of the story perfectly. Still, it was only a third or so into the book that I began to understand why it is what it is. When I got there, the first part felt really less significant than I had thought. In fact, it only served to introduce all the characters – their relationships, personalities, motivations and moral standpoints. After that, though, the core of the story is slowly built until it comes to the famous courtroom scene – and I found it to be as remarkable as everyone had said it would. The events that come right after are equally shocking. Even though our society, unfortunately, still is not near being prejudice free, the lengths to which people of that time would go to ascertain that their prejudicial views were being hold by legal authorities left me astounded.To Kill a Mockingbird was truly beyond its time and I find its messages very much relevant. That is what characterizes quality literature: the property of transcending time and having the same impact on several generations as it had on the first reader. All things considered, this is an incredible book that reminded me, once more, of how important it is to at least try to treat everyone with equal respect. Also, this book is extremely powerful in its discussion of racism, tolerance and human behavior. Considering that I come from a town where most people will look at you as if you are trash if you don’t suit up to go to the mall to watch a movie, I can’t possibly read too much about such lessons. I really do not ever want to turn into one of those people. Interesting quotes that I didn't include in the review: You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience. People in their right minds never take pride in their talents. The Last Passage(view spoiler)[ He guided me to the bed and sat me down. He lifted my legs and put me under the cover."An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things... Atticus, he was real nice..."His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me."Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning. (hide spoiler)]

4

Pride and Prejudice

by

4.23 rating

Comment 1: Some years back in one of my APAs, someone castigated Jane Austen's books like this: "All those daft twits rabbiting on about clothes and boyfriends and manners."Since then, I’ve encountered other variations on the theme that a modern woman ought not to be reading such trash because it sets feminism back two centuries.Well, much as I laughed over the first caveat, that isn't Austen. It sounds more like the silver fork romances inspired by Georgette Heyer. Austen's characters don't talk about clothes at all, outside of air-headed Mrs Allen of Northanger Abbey, who doesn't think of anything else. Austen sticks her satiric quill into young ladies who think and talk about nothing but beaux, such as poor, luckless Anne Steele in Sense and Sensibility. Manners are emphasized but not manners without matter; Austen saves her spikiest irony for hypocrites.I think it's important to remember that whereas Heyer was writing historical romances in the silver fork tradition, Austen was writing novels about contemporary life, especially the problems facing young women in her own walk of life, the country gentry. She criticized herself in a much-quoted letter to her sister Cassandra, saying in effect, 'the problem with Pride and Prejudice is it's too light and bright and sparkling.' Many have misinterpreted this remark. It seems to me, on close reading of her elsewhere, that she meant the novel to be taken more seriously than it was.What is it about, really? It's about the wrong reasons for marrying, and how those can affect a woman for the rest of her life. Of course a hard-line feminist can point out that novels about marriage are hideously retro for today's woman, who has many choices before her. During Austen's time, marriage was the only choice a woman had, unless she was rich enough to shrug off the expectations of her society, or unless she was willing to live on as a pensioner to some family member or other, which more often than not meant being used as an unpaid maid. Of course there was teaching, but the salaries for women were so miserable one may as well have been a servant. The hours and demands were pretty much equal.If one looks past the subject of marriage, the novel's focus is about relationships: between men and women; between sisters; between friends; between family members and between families. As for marriage, Austen sends up relationships that were formed with security as the goal, relationships that were sparked by physical attraction and not much else, relationships made with an eye to rank, money, social status, or competition. And, with abundant wit and style (or as she’d say, with éclat), she offers some truths about the differences between love and lust, and what relationships based on either mean to a marriage months—or decades—after the wedding.The fact that Austen doesn't use modern terminology doesn't make it any less real than a contemporary novel that has a supposedly liberated woman romping from bed to bed for forty pages while in search of the perfect relationship. The message is the same, that women who mistake falling in lust for falling in love are usually doomed to a very unhappy existence. And in Austen's time, you couldn't divorce, you were stuck for life.I've had dedicated feminist friends give me appalled reactions when I admit to liking Austen. I don't consider reading Austen a guilty pleasure, as I do reading Wodehouse. I consider Jane Austen a forerunner of feminism. She doesn't stand out and preach as Mary Wollstonecroft did. Her influence was nevertheless profound. Again and again in those novels she portrays women thinking for themselves, choosing for themselves—even if their choices are within the conventions of the time. What the women think matters.In Austen’s day (and too often, now) female characters were there as prizes for the men to possess, or to strive for, or as catalysts for male action. These days we call them refrigerator women. Jane Austen gave her female characters as much agency as a woman could have in those days, and the narrative is mostly seen through their eyes.The famed relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy makes it very clear that they were first attracted by one another's intellect—those two were clearly brain-snogging before they ever got to the fine sheets of Pemberley. It is also clear that the man—his higher social and economic status notwithstanding—had to earn the woman's respect, and rethink some of his assumptions, before she could see in him a possible partner. There is no dominant male making the decisions: those two are equal right down to the last page, and Austen makes it clear that it will continue to be so after the marriage. Each time I reread the novel, I notice something new, but in the meantime, will I continue to recommend it to young women just venturing into literature? You bet.

5

Twilight

by

3.56 rating

Comment 1: Twilight follows what I think has become one of the great traditional plotlines: star-crossed vampire/human truelove. So, move aside, Jack London. In acknowledging my friend Ms. Meyer’s role in developing this new tradition, I feel like the first important thing to say is that Stephenie Meyer is not The Man. While most criticisms of the Twilight series are empirically true, it is nevertheless also true that this series is ubiquitously influential in culture right now, and I don’t think it’s influential in the same way as the War on Terror, or even Sarah Palin. The War and Palin are both The Man in ways that I refuse to believe Ms. Meyer is. I do concede, however, that Stephenie Meyer is a polished and packaged product of culture, and that she is the same package, in almost every way, as me. I don’t care about age or cynicism, I am the audience for this book. If you want to see my reaction summed up much more quickly than I plan to, I refer you to Paul Bryant’s Georgia . To introduce you more thoroughly to the audience for whom this book was written, I’ll start with a little summary of the story.Bella arrives, at the opening of the story, in the small town of Forks, Washington, and she’s not thrilled. She’s like, A little town, oh, it's a quiet village - ev'ry day like the one before. Little town full of little people, waking up to say, bonjour!She checks in at school, which is awkward because everyone’s staring and whatnot. They’re all, Look there she goes that girl is strange, no question, dazed and distracted, can't you tell? Never part of any crowd, 'cause her head's up on some cloud. No denying she's a funny girl that Bella.Even her father doesn’t really get her and goes around thinking, Look there she goes that girl is so peculiar. I wonder if she's feeling well. With a dreamy far-off look and her nose stuck in a book, what a puzzle to the rest of us is Bella!Even when she makes friends, they still just don’t understand that she’s an old soul – too old for dances and shit like that. Everyone still wants to be her friend, though, and they go around whispering, Look there she goes a girl who's strange but special, a most peculiar mad'moiselle. It's a pity and a sin, she doesn't quite fit in, 'cause she really is a funny girl – a beauty but a funny girl. She really is a funny girl – that Bella!If, after that brief summary, you don’t have a very particular song (and maybe some dance moves that you made up to go with the song at one time or another in your life) stuck in your head, then you are not the designated audience for Twilight. I’m not even intending to be disrespectful or critical when I say that the resonance people feel with Twilight is the resonance of Disney. It is the dividing line between those who fall in love with this story, and those who can’t stand looking at the cover art. Interestingly, though, I think most of the people who cringe at the mention of The Twilight Saga would still go see a new Pixar movie or even Beauty and the Beast if it was re-released on the big screen. It’s got the candlestick and the teacup, right? Who doesn’t like to see inanimate objects sing and dance? It’s just awesome. Disney, however, is totally The Man. Disney is, like, whatever is above The Man telling The Man what to do. I would call it The Superman, but I don’t want it to get a big head.Disney is smoother than Twilight because it knows that you can’t just present the story of a young, beautiful girl falling in love with a potential abuser without including a catchy tune and some dancing flatware. In that way, I guess it’s a mixed blessing that the movie version of Twilight is so freaking boring and awkward. It gives you time to reflect on whether it’s not a little convenient that our girl thinks it’s so groovy to have a vampire stalk her in her own bedroom. It lets you stop and think that undying for love might not be all it’s cracked up to be. The book version has lots of sparkles, though, and cars flying in every direction, so you don’t have to dwell on the unfortunate implications of the central relationship unless you’re inclined to. But, let’s face it, most of us have contemplated that at one time or another. If you haven’t, now’s your chance. What do you think about a cartoon that encourages little girls to stay in abusive relationships because underneath the gruff exterior of the abuser lies the heart of a prince? What do you think about a book that has women across the country swooning at a cadaverous stalker watching a teenage girl sleep?I’ll tell you what I think: it totally doesn’t bother me. I mean, if those aren’t the implications that the storytellers were intending (and I don’t necessarily think they are), then oops!, but that’s the extent of my criticism. On the other hand, I think it’s equally possible that those are the implications that the storytellers intended, and, if so, they are both pretty effective in being persuasive and single-minded in their goals. The messages might be sugar-coated, but they’re still obvious. They’re not sneaky or underhanded. I don’t like it when I feel like an author is trying to sneak around with themes, but if I just disagree, it’s not so bad. I think they’re good stories, too, despite their unfortunate messages, and they are made all the better by their singing and sparkles. Whether we like it or not, stories that idealize stalking and teach girls to try reforming their abusers through patience and fancy dresses are deeply ingrained in (at least) Western culture. It seems possible that these stories are even products of a conflicted nature in humanity. Men want the virgin/whore; women want the beast/god. But, also, none of us really want those people because they’re freaky. We don’t know what we want.(Arguably, the moral of Beauty and the Beast is that looks aren’t everything, and the moral of Twilight is that true love waits. I think those are less interesting messages within the stories, so I’m not going to address them. They are obviously there, though, so disagree as you wish.)Maybe there is a little Harold Bloom in all of us, mentally applying for the role of literary gatekeeper every time we read a book we don’t like. I have read criticisms of Twilight that are both hilarious and poignant, and, like I say, this book has a very specific audience. When I hear criticisms, though, they usually just make me really sad. A girl I know is a mother of three young kids and lives out in the middle of nowhere. At the time she read Twilight she was mostly staying home (again, in the middle of nowhere) and being a mom. She hated the book and had two criticisms. First, she thought that the clothes were really dorky (and, it’s true, the clothes are distracting). Second, every time she looked at Stephenie Meyer’s picture on the back, it bugged her because she thought about how Meyer is “just a mom,” as though a mom shouldn’t have a valuable voice in literature. I hate that on a lot of levels. I hate the idea of limiting literature to what I agree with, and I hate the idea of taking the voice of moms out of any part of culture. It also seems like a creepy excuse for nonparticipation to say that an entire group of people, to which you belong, shouldn’t be respected in the literary world. I’m not trying to say that Stephenie Meyer represents all moms, but I do think that a lot of criticism I have read of her writing either dismisses her as The Man or as a mom. It reflects the idea that literature should be a table at which only the cool kids sit – or at which the cool kids can’t sit. I don’t know who’s supposed to sit there. There are a lot of totally valid reasons to dislike any book. I recognize this book’s faults, but I think that one of its greatest strengths is that it was written by a mom. I think it is a fun, hilarious, action-packed story. I think that Stephenie Meyer has story-telling skillz and that you can’t teach that. Henry James might have had a big vocabulary, but he couldn’t tell a story to save his life. Ms. Meyer could benefit from reading the dictionary once or twice, but she already has what you need if you find yourself sitting around a campfire. Possibly, she could use just a dash of self-awareness, but too much self-awareness can ruin any good story – just look at Dave Eggers. Honestly, I would rather be brave enough to write Twilight than smart enough to criticize it.It’s funny to say, but this book actually inspired a real crisis of faith in my life. I’ve had some occasions where I’ve had major fallings out with God and then other occasions where I’m a big fan – like ya do. A crisis of faith is not unusual for me. There’s this thing that goes down in mainstream Christianity that is really annoying (I’m sure it happens in other religions, too, but I’m talking totally pop culture Christianity here so that my point makes sense). It’s this thing where people will frame a story as though the hero’s dreams are sure to fail, but then, suddenly, through the power of prayer, God swoops down and fixes everything in a magical money donation. Don’t get me wrong; magical money donations are the bomb. But does that mean that for those whose magical money didn’t come through, God’s showing that he’s angry with them? Does God speak in a reward/punishment system? I don’t think so, but I don’t really know anything about it. I know that in that situation, you’re supposed to say that God has a better plan, but that lacks something to me, also. To be clear, this isn’t a criticism that I’m making of religion in general, or even of Christianity in general, but of this Disneyland Christianity that is everywhere in America. It’s a religion of total convenience where everything has a vague, cliché explanation and, if it doesn’t, we don’t look at it. And the way people tell these stories is like they’re telling the plot of the newest movie about a down-and-out kid’s sports team. The stories are all informed by the plot development of Disney movies.Like this Disney filter, Edward and Bella’s relationship is very convenient. Edward is immortal and can give immortality. He watches over Bella. His desire for Bella is consuming both physically and emotionally. Bella’s maturity alienates her from other humans. She is physically vulnerable. She is smart and values passion over care for her life. Edward is the Disney god and Bella his disciple. I really don’t mean to be disrespectful when I say I’ve heard God and His people described just this way many times. I don’t know why I hadn’t really thought about this before I read Twilight, but from thinking about the silly convenience of the Edward/Bella relationship, a lot of real things fall apart for me. Like, if we believe that God is really real (not just abstractly real) and we think that God is with us all the time like Edward is with Bella, why isn’t that creepy? I know I think it’s creepy with Edward, but why not with God? I think it’s because we believe God is there when we’re thinking about Him and not when we’re not. I think Jesus has become a sparkly, romantic immortal with super-strength who thinks you’re so awesome he can’t take his eyes off of you and gives you cars sometimes. This is obviously a problem, but I think any generation will interpret traditional writings through a contemporary cultural lens, so it’s not shocking. It’s just, perhaps, not the lens most of us would prefer. On the other hand, if we think we’re completely alone when we aren’t with humans, no possibility for anything supernatural or spiritual, that seems limited and conveniently clean, too. I don’t have an answer, and it seems like it’s not really possible to have an answer that’s not annoyingly convenient on some level. Also, I'm not saying this because I think Stephenie Meyer invented the Disney Jesus, but because I think it helps explain Twilight's resonance in society. I think Meyer expressed something very simple that both culture and religion have prepared people to receive.It is probably important to say, again, that I’d be surprised to find out that Stephenie Meyer is part of a vast conspiracy to subdue Western civilization by reducing our worldview to clichés. Plus, I think that when someone’s worldview is a cliché, patronizing them out of it isn’t really the way to go (yeah, you know who you are. No, not you – you in the back. That’s right). Also, what do I know? Maybe, Jesus really is sparkly and has a warehouse full of new cars. It is just as legitimate to say that I don’t believe that because I don’t want to as that someone else believes it because they do want to. *sigh*This may seem backwards, but I started reading Twilight in the mood for something fun and silly and not well written, and so I enjoyed (almost) every minute of the series. In a more anti-Disney mood, I probably I would have wanted to burn them for the weak and whiny heroine and glorification of stalking. I think of these books like the show Friends, though. Everything works out well for everyone by the end of the episode, and so despite appalling personal choices and caricatured personalities, the stories are comforting. I don't know whether I think it's worse to be comforted by stories that present unhealthy worldviews, or to expect books to represent literal reality. Both seem suspicious, but the first seems more fun. I appreciate and think it's hilarious that Meyer loves her characters so much that she'll sacrifice anything in the plot to make things turn out well for them. I never feel like she is trying to impress me, but only writing what she wants have happen.The main criticism I hear of these books is that the love story is completely unrealistic. This is absolutely true, but it is also a series about vegetarian vampire superheroes, so I think it's important to have a little perspective about realism. I hope that we are not so culturally bankrupt as to go to Friends for dating advice or vampire stories for authentic representations of love. Unfortunately, we actually might be that bankrupt, and I sadly acknowledge my own experience with teen girls and grown women taking these books VERY seriously. I am reluctant, however, to be angry with books I thought were so silly and fun only because of other people being silly in a not fun way.To conclude, I’m planning to petition Tim Burton to do a song-and-dance version of the Twilight movie. It will be awesome. For the vampires, we will cast all professional dancers, and for the normals we’ll cast normals. I mean, we gots a meadow scene, fast cars, and a baseball scene in here! Not to insult the My Dinner With Andre version, but my version is going to kick ass. We’ll throw in a little irony, music up the melodrama, and show the haters what a story looks like. You’ll love it.

Description of list:

Books that encourage thought