This morning Little, Brown announced a first printing of Meyer’s novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Bree figures prominently in the movie version of Eclipse, opening June 30 (and director David Slade was able to read an early copy of the novella). But as fans remember, she does not appear in the book until page 569, in a pivotal scene where Bella and the Cullens encounter some of Victoria’s wild vampires in the forest: “The girl was curled into a small ball beside the flames, her arms wrapped around her legs….Her eyes were focused on me, and the eyes were a shocking, brilliant red.” Of Meyer’s decision to donate money from the sale of each book to the Red Cross, Little, Brown deputy publisher Andrew Smith says, “The plight of folks in Haiti and now Chile has been so much in the media, and very much on Stephenie’s radar,” pointing out that Meyer has been talking about the subject on her website for some time. (On January 27, she wrote, “I’ve been very impressed with the world in general and the Twilight fansite in specific in the support and love everyone is giving to Haiti.”) The website dedicated to the new book, breetanner.com — which will feature the book beginning June 7 — will provide a Red Cross link tied specifically to the novella. “We’ll be able to track how much Twilight fans are giving,” Smith says.
Tag: Twilight (21-30 of 32)
It’s no news that, in young adult literature, a high concept can often equal a high paycheck, especially in this post-Harry Potter world. According to Publishers Weekly, HarperTeen has just shelled out seven figures for a debut series about high school kids who discover that their lives are mirroring a Greek tragedy. The first book, Starcrossed, has a young Helen of Troy figure having to deal with the fact that being with the boy she loves might lead to a new Trojan War. The following entries, Persephone’s Garden and Ilium, detail Helen’s katabasis to the underworld and an end-of-times battle between gods and humans respectively.
First-time author Josephine Angelini dubs it “a Percy Jackson for teenage girls,” but it’s hard not to think that the publisher might have seen it a bit more as “Twilight of the gods.” With its high school setting, forbidden love, foggy locale, and young female target audience, the series looks like a possible pretender to the throne currently occupied by Stephenie Meyer’s behemoth saga about face-sucking bloodsuckers.
What do you think, Shelf Lifers? Excited for this series? Or are you too busy writing your own attempt to get a piece of that sweet YA fiction pie? I know I am. Publishers, look out for my upcoming Invisible Box trilogy, about a teenage girl’s love for a quiet young boy who she discovers comes from a family of mimes. You can send the checks courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.
My daughter began devouring, and then re-devouring, the Twilight novels back when she was 12. Stephenie Meyer had yet to finish the series and, at that point, the only people who had heard of the books were a million obsessive fans, plus a nation’s worth of grateful bookstore owners. (Entertainment Weekly actually began covering the Twilight phenom so early because my daughter’s enthusiasm suggested there was a big audience out there that the national media was ignoring. By the way, she thinks the movies are lame, so please don’t blame her for EW’s admittedly thorough coverage.) Anyway, my daughter — I’ll refer to her here as Llama, because she thinks llamas are hilarious for some reason — waited for each successive Twilight book in the same ecstatic agony that Bella waited for Edward. Like the Harry Potter books, Meyer’s novels became comfort objects as much as anything else: There was always one in her possession.
Because Meyer loves Wuthering Heights, she made it Bella’s favorite book. My daughter, Llama, tried reading Emily Brontë’s novel when she was 13 or so, but couldn’t get into it. (Judging from Charlotte Brontë’s preface to her sister’s novel, Charlotte Brontë couldn’t even get into it.) For Christmas, I bought Llama one of the cool new editions of Wuthering Heights specifically marketed to the Twilight generation. I went for the cool, sort of Edward Gorey-ish cover, not the one with just the hokey red rose. Long story sped up: She loves it and has already decoded all Stephenie Meyer’s allusions and literary debts to Bronte. Wuthering Heights, in all its weird, gothic glory, has always been my favorite of the “great books,” and seeing Llama insist on carrying a copy around is something I can’t thank Meyer enough for. In reading, as in addiction, there are gateway drugs, and Meyer’s Edward Cullen has introduced my daughter to Heathcliffe.
Any of this ring any bells for you? What are the books you love to see your friends, or kids, fall in love with? Has one novel ever sent you on a mission to devour another?
I’m the first person who’ll tell you how important the Twilight series is — not from a literary standpoint, mind you, but more from a reading standpoint: These are books that get kids reading. And yet, as a feminist and the mom of teenage daughters, I’ve also got some problems with them — namely, their depiction of women and relationships. Why does Bella always need to be rescued by men? Can’t she rescue herself occasionally? Heck — can’t she even drive herself places? (In New Moon, whenever she’s in her truck with either Edward or Jacob, they’re the ones driving.) Why do all the male vampires have college degrees, medical degrees, and so forth, while — SPOILER ALERT FROM ECLIPSE AND BREAKING DAWN!!! — Bella gets married fresh out of high school, with nary a word breathed about higher education? And then, when she becomes pregnant, why does she emphatically refuse an abortion, even though the pregnancy is killing her? (Let me be clear: I’m not saying it’s wrong for a woman to choose marriage and motherhood, or wrong for her to decide against college. But Bella is still a kid, even in Breaking Dawn.)
So last week, in his excellent blog post, movie critic Owen Gleiberman compared Edward to a stalker. And yesterday, in “Is Team Edward Enabling Domestic Violence?”, GalleyCat’s Ron Hogan called my attention to a LiveJournal post describing how the Edward-Bella romance has all the earmarks of an abusive relationship as defined by a national domestic violence group: “Does your partner look at you or act in ways that scare you? Check. Make all the decisions? Check. Threaten to kill you? On their first date….”
Hmmm. what do you think?
In hopes of taking advantage of the never-ending Twilight frenzy, HarperCollins decided to design a new cover for its paperback editions of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights that’s inspired by the teen vamp franchise (as noted by Ron Hogan at the books blog Galleycat). Why, you ask? As all Twilight fans know, Brontë’s classic novel is Bella and Edward’s favorite book (duh!). Don’t believe me? Well, just look at the new cover, branded with the sure-to-pull-in-young-readers slogan, “Bella & Edward’s Favorite Book” (as well as the Team Edward appropriate tagline, “Love never dies”).
Though most people taking a first glance at the new cover might be overwhelmed with images of Brontë rolling in her grave, I can’t completely dismiss it. I’m always in support of corporate decisions that encourage young readers to pick up the classics, even if said decisions are likely inspired by moolah. And at least the U.S. cover is better than the U.K.’s (the middle one above), which features a font that I probably used while designing posters in seventh grade.
Are you shuddering, Shelf Lifers? Or do you see merits to the re-branding?
In a refreshingly frank new video from Samanthus Ettus’ interview show Obsessed, former head of Warner Books Larry Kirschbaum reveals his skepticism about signing then-unknown Stephenie Meyer to a three-book deal for “significant six figures.” “I called the editor and said basically, ‘Are you crazy? This is a first author, no platform, just a housewife, books about vampires. Do people really want to read that?'” It’s worth noting that in the end Kirschbaum signed off on the deal that led to the Twilight phenomenon — though he also says he advised another Warner author, Detroit-based sports columnist Mitch Albom, to “stick to sports” and watched as Albom went to rival Doubleday for the non-sports book that would become megahit Tuesdays With Morrie.
And that’s just in the opening minutes of this interview with Kirschbaum and recently ousted HarperCollins president-CEO Jane Friedman, who offer thoughtful insights on the current woes of the publishing industry. Both agree that too many books are published, extol the virtues of self-publishing, note the slowness of major publishers to adapt to digital formats, and speculate on the fate of “legacy publishers” which, Friedman says, will struggle to reinvent themselves “because there’s too much history and there’s too much overhead.” “You’ve got a model that’s self-imploding,” she says. “If you look at the biggest best-sellers, the publisher is using the money that comes in to turn on the lights. But the publisher isn’t making any money on those books.” (It’s also fun to watch Friedman tap dance around questions about her frigid relationship with Judith Regan, the former head of Harper-based ReganBooks.)
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