NPR reads Twilight… Seriously

We got a PM from James at Ideal Living that NPR’s Monkey See “I will if you will” readers choice is “Twilight.”  They poked fun at the Eclipse teaser for the trailer a few days ago and got the idea from one of their twitter followers that maybe they should actually read the books, at least one of them, to find out what all the fuss is about.  They tweeted about the possibility and got a surprisingly positive response.  So they went for it.

“There are several reasons to do this. One is curiosity. Another is just tasting what’s in the water in the culture you’re living in. If you fear it will be bad, consider the fact that if the book is actually bad, you can say the book is bad and actually know what you’re talking about, instead of relying on the many other people who say the book is bad. If you’re going to crack on it, you might as well have something informed to say. Another is that if the book is 90 percent bad and 10 percent good, you will be surprised by the 10 percent.”

There are rules involved, including the one where they ask that those of us who have already read the book and might get upset by people not liking the book, they ask that we steer clear of their discussion.  So folks, no hating on NPR if they don’t like the book!  Personally, I want to applaud them for just giving it a try, something I know so many people are not willing to do.  You may be pleased to know that they have another rule that says their readers really do have to give the book a chance and not just spout hate for the fandom.

They have a week to read and will discuss their findings on March 22.  We will be checking back with NPR to see what their final verdict is, although given the comments on their blog, I’m guessing that many will be entertained by the story even if they don’t find the writing to be divine.  Visit their blog for all the details.


  1. The thing is, I think we ALL realize that the writing isn’t really that good. It is not grade A literature, by any stretch of the imagination. HOWEVER, the story and characters are amazing and you’re drawn in despite its many flaws. I DON’T CARE that the writing is technically bad. I LOVE it and I don’t care who knows it! Lol! 🙂

  2. vampbball says:

    Good for them! I’ll be following that blog starting on the 22nd.

  3. I don’t know how many of you read Twilight fanfiction, but let me tell you, there are so many talented writers out there who’s writing makes Stephenie Meyer look like an amateur! So…the technicality of her writing isn’t the issue. It’s the content. The themes that run through her story. Many people don’t get that. Also, it’s written for YOUNG ADULTS and the writing is different than for an adult level book.

    • Noah Brighten says:

      I disagree… I good solid story transcends the age group. Chronicles of Narina, Lord of the Rings, even Harry Potter, accomplished this with both writing style and story. Not only is the writing style bad in Twilight, it really doesn’t have the greatest story either, or at least it’s great story gets marred as she continued to pump out books. It’s not a bad story, but it isn’t really the best, most epic, story I’ve ever read, either.

      If the reader isn’t able to understand what the plot is about, that is usually because of bad writing.

  4. oh my goodness says:

    My sister and I LOVE the books, as do a number of our friends. My mom couldn’t stand it. We are in our 30s, Mom is in her 60s.. Yeah, there are some things about the writing that really bother me (really, they hiss every thing like snakes? I dare you to read it now without noticing) But you are right, the story itself is what draws you in once you overlook the repetitive descriptions.

  5. Well I have read books that where great literature that I thought was horrible. I don’t think the writing style defines if you like a story I think it is the story in itself that captured so many fans.

  6. Great initiative. I wish more mainstream sites would join them, they usually make fun of us and Twilight without giving it a real chance.

  7. Personally I thought the books were well written.

  8. No, the Twilight books aren’t great literature. Then again, were they meant to be? And more importantly, do we really care? A friend of mine is a professor of English at a local University. She read Twilight very reluctantly, and found the writing to be ‘immature’. However, did she like the story? Yes, she did. Meyer is no literary scholar as were C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, nor an Emily Dickenson. Her story was written from the perspective of a 17 year old girl, and with that in mind, I think the narrative style fits the story well.

    I admit that on multiple readings, some of the phrases that Meyer uses become repetitive and slightly annoying. For me what is most important about the Twilight saga is not the style in which it was written, for better or worse, nor the storyline, as engaging as it is, but rather the depth of the themes and importance of the sometimes controversial values that lie within the pages.

    I applaud NPR for taking on such a massively popular work, as such mass fiction is often dismissed by the more educated literary community without even being read. They may hate the books. They may love the books. They may find them simply boring; however at least they have the courtesy of reading them before passing judgment.

  9. I think it takes a lot of courage to write a story and attempt to have it published. Just remember that this was Stephenie’s first story and I am almost positive that all author’s can look back at the first story they written and say to themselves I could’ve written it better. SM has already claimed that in an interview. Instead of looking at all the faults look at the story. Now as far as this being great literature that one’s own opinion. Everyone has different taste of what appeals to them. I will say Twilight Saga is definitely my flavor.

    • Lisa, my thoughts exactly. SM has admitted she made mistakes in her writing. It is funny to me that people feel the need to keep pointing it out. It is kinda of like, “yes, I know…” Anyways, I never even realized all the “issues” until people started pointing them out. Whatever, it doesn’t change the way I feel about the book.

  10. Very well said Luthien

  11. I agree with Luthien, although I think the phrasing, etc., is meant to be from a teenage girl (and Jacob in BD), and the fact that she occasionally isn’t the most eloquent person ever — for me at least — contributes to the authenticity of her narrative voice. In general, it seems to me that there is a great deal of misunderstanding of Bella’s first person narration.

    • i like the books,
      [espt. the part lovetriangle with her and jacob was weird before bd but after was than creepy ITS like ‘was he really in love with her utrus’]
      ‘but as for the writting i dont really care that much it. it was afterall a [first] seires written by a busy mom aND its not like she meat for all of us to read it in the first place.

  12. Has anyone read the book Push by Sapphire? That entire book has poor grammar, poor language and a great amount of spelling errors. This is because Precious is illiterate and it is written from her perspective. It was one of the best books I have ever read. It feels real. I know that Twilight could never be real but the point I am trying to make is, does anyone other than highly educated people and people of high society ever talk with perfect grammar and big words? No, we talk slang and we have conversations with basic words. I like Twilight because of the story and the very real feel of the dialogue and Bella describes things like real people would. I know it is repetitive in some parts but it is what she is thinking and don’t we think repetitively in our lives? I don’t like books that use words I never hear because I am a normal person and I have normal conversations. It is a world that Stephenie has created that I can get lost in for a while and forget about my stresses. People are making it too big of a deal about how she has written it.

    • good point ill read push next

      i have dislexseea by the way

    • No people don’t speak perfect but that’s not even the criticism – there are other books written from a 17 year old girl’s perspective (or whoever) and they still are written in a better way. There are other ways to defend Twilight than to say “oh, it’s meant to be ‘simple.'” That arguement is reductive.

    • “I don’t like books that use words I never hear because I am a normal person and I have normal conversations.”

      Now, that’s just ignorant. No one is saying you have to read something highly sophisticated but to be that narrow minded on purpose is the reason people are just plain stupid. Stephenie reads good books and has a good vocabulary herself. I can’t believe a “fan” would say this!

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