One more disclaimer: I do not have factual charts or surveys to access here. There might be other books that were discussed just as much as these two. However, the people I see and talk to the most have gone on and on about each of these, and it's time to put in my two cents.
Number One: The Twilight Saga
Nearly every woman I know has read these books. I picked up the first one in my sister's car on a road trip to Arkansas in August and thought it would be a good way to pass the time. It was. Twilight IS a page turner. I was interested to see what would happen next. And I got caught up as I identified with Bella's self loathing and teenage fantasies about the perfect guy finally noticing her. But when I reached the end of the book and we had returned to Knoxville, I turned down my sister's offer to take the second book home with me.
I'd been high on the romance, and I knew it. There are many more quality books I should spend my time on. It was the right choice for me. I'm glad I removed myself from the frenzy for awhile so I could be objective about the writing. "It's certainly not Literature," I told everyone.
But then Thanksgiving came and I was back at Mom's house and Risha had brought the books with her. By then everyone was talking about it and said how each book got better and better, and well, it was kinda fun to escape for awhile. Plus, the movie had come out and everyone had seen it, and we did kinda like Cedric Diggory, as well as the girl who played Bella . . . so John and I went to see the movie on my birthday. I ended up taking books 2 and 3 home with me. Every few chapters I would tell John how annoying and whiny these characters were and I wasn't sure I would keep reading these books, but for some reason, I kept on.
I wish I had done like my husband and stopped after the first one. As a person who calls herself a writer and holds a degree in English, I can not, in good conscience, reccomend these books. Unless you're just looking to kill some time and be entertained by Desperate-Days of -The World Turns. If you've been wrapped up in seriousness and need some brain candy silliness, by all means, borrow them from a friend. I'm sure there's someone in your neighborhood who has them.
I began book four in the middle of January and halfway through, I declared I was done. I called my sister and told her I thought the story had become ridiculous and I wasn't going to read it, so she should just tell me what happens. She did, but without giving it ALL up, so I returned to the last half to see how things played out. I started skimming though, only reading conversations, and it was way more enjoyable to see how many pages flew by this way.
Lastly, I have to say that my life has not been enriched in any way for having turned all those pages. I'm able to talk about the books with other people who love them, and I guess that's something. But I could've just waited and watched the movies. Much less time wasted, much less dissappointment. In myself as well as the plot line. I understand the appeal of these books, I really do. They touch the heart of many women and I'm not here to belittle those women. But here's what I know about the dusty landscape of my own heart: pouring soda on the cracks makes the dirt wet for awhile, but to really make the soil soft it takes rainwater and streams -- streams are good too.
Number Two: The Shack