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Archive for July, 2008

Chapters 1 – 4

 

For most people (the sane ones) New Moon is the least favorite book in the Twilight saga.  With good reason.  Besides the fact that part two of any saga/trilogy isn’t usually as good as the first, half of the point of the book (Bella and Edward) is missing for, wait, let me count, 378 pages.  Out of 563!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

I was given Twilight as a shower gift three nights before my wedding from a very reliable source for good books.  Lucky for me, my thoughts after reading the back were, “Vampires, huh?  I’ll wait, thanks.” 

 

I finally got around to reading Twilight on my way back from a weekend trip, two months later.  I finished it soon after we got back and immediately went out to buy New Moon and put my name on the waiting list at the library for Eclipse (I was #312).  After New Moon was finished I tried to hold out for Eclipse (I was #310).  I lasted about a week until I bought Eclipse at work with a once lost gift card.  Then I had five months to wait for Breaking Dawn.  (I received notification from the library in June that Eclipse was available for me to check out.  I would have never lasted that long.)

 

Between then and now, I’ve read Twilight and Eclipse several times and I’ll admit I’ve re-read parts of New Moon, but not the whole book.  Why would I?  Edward left, then he came back.  Cool, next book please.  However, as I drew the short end of the stick for dust, here I am, with my thoughts on my second read of New Moon, in anticipation of Breaking Dawn. 

 

Before I dive into the book, I want to make note of something I read on Stephenie Meyer’s website the other day.  She had asked that those reading New Moon do so twice.  She found that the first time through, the reader will skip ahead to find Edward again, missing the main section of the novel.  Having a second reading will allow you to slow down and enjoy “the wounderousness” of Jacob Black.  So I’m taking things slow.

 

With all that said, now let us dive into the second reading of New Moon. 

 

My first thought as I’m starting the book is how much younger Bella seems now as compared to Twilight.  She is very hung up on not celebrating her birthday as it makes her <gasp> a whole year older than Edward!!  Wait.  Ok so Edward’s body and some parts of his mind are only technically 17.  But wasn’t he 17- ah – 90 years ago?  Really Bella, doesn’t that count for something?  You have an example of loving younger men with your mom.  Granted, that may be where the hang up is, however we’re told that Phil is much younger than Renee, and it suites them.  Plus, speaking from experience here, being with a younger guy is fun, and I even thought so when I was 17. 

 

Moving forward, Edward demonstrates his <cough> wisdom and maturity <cough, cough, gag> by deciding to leave Bella “for her own good” instead of talking things over.  I could write a novel about the level of communication that is needed to make a relationship work, but I won’t.  I could write another novel about how unobservant and thick guys tend to be, especially when it comes to how much their significant others love them, but, again, I won’t.  What’s done is done.  Edward is gone and Bella becomes a zombie. 

 

Which I’m not surprised by.  As discussed in book three, she has no balance with Edward and the rest of her life.  He is her life, therefore, her life is gone with him.  Sadly, I’m sure that I would go through something similar (though on a shorter and lesser scale) if my husband were to die.  Note, die; not leave.  In reality, any self-respecting woman would be pissed off if the love of her life just up and left her.  However, this is not reality, and as stated above, Bella is more immature this time around and most defiantly not self-respecting.  So we readers are introduced to: 

 

Da Da Da Dun! 

 

ALL-CAPS-BELLA!

 

Yes ladies and gentlemen, you may remember our beloved ALL-CAPS-HARRY from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  He amazed us with his anger and angst at anything that moved (and a few things that didn’t) as he went though arguably the hardest part of his life and longest book of the series.  Now ALL-CAPS-BELLA has come to dazzle us (yes, that’s right) with her distractions and recklessness.  (Both ALL-CAPS characters come with hearing voices at no additional cost to the reader.)

 

So, ALL-CAPS-BELLA is trying to find a way to ignore the gaping hole in her chest.  Enter: Jacob Black aka Exact Opposite of Edward.

 

And that my friends, is where I shall leave you today.  Next time we’ll take a look at Bella’s relationship with Jacob and how she is able to click with a “normal human” for once.  Oh Bella, when will you learn?

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Chapters 1-5 of Eclipse

I first read Twilight about six months ago at the insisting of my sister. We have similar tastes in everything and I am always desperate for something to read, so despite the description of “teenage vampire love saga” I bit. And it was good! I won’t ever rank it up with favorite books or best book series ever, but the Twilight series is a fun quick escape, and that is pretty much what I am looking for when I pick up a book. Stephenie Meyer has a great imagination, and I look forward to finding out what other books she has percolating in her brain.

            Okay, for my first post I am going to talk about the first five chapters of Eclipse. This is my favorite book in the series, and I think it’s because Edward and Bella are together the whole time. No getting to know each other, no separation for 200 chapters, they are together. In my opinion, the more Edward, the better.

            The first chapter starts off with Charlie trying to make dinner. Now, Charlie is one of my least favorite characters in the series. I find it impossible that a man who lived by himself for 14 years doesn’t know how to cook spaghetti. 10 year olds can make spaghetti. I mean, I’ll let the whole vampire and werewolf thing go, but I draw the line of unfeasibility at grown men not knowing how to make simple pasta dishes!

            Anyway, Bella gets ungrounded after Charlie mutters the line, “You’re remarkable non-whiney for a teenager.” I laughed out loud at that part. Really, Charlie? Really? Just goes to show how little he knows his daughter.

            In the chapter Bella talks about how her friends at school are divided between who sits with the Cullens and who doesn’t which makes me ask the question: Why do the Cullens even go to school? Prior to Bella, they never interacted with anyone, never made friends, never even ate the food and already know all of the lessons, why go to school at all?

            Also in the first 100 pages of the book is my least favorite thing Edward does. I hate it when he disables Bella’s car when she wants to go see Jacob. It drives me insane that vampire or no, werewolf or no, that he feels he has the right to tell her who she can see. It is controlling and obnoxious and it really bugs me that Bella pretty much trips over her own clumsy feet in her haste to forgive him because she is needy and codependent. For the one sentence she shuts the window to block Edward out I had half a second to think “Good for you!” before reading the next sentence when she opens the window again. Oh, Bella. It’s okay to be angry at some one when they are overstepping their boundaries and being a chauvinistic pig.

            Another issue I have with the book is exactly why all these guys are in love with Bella. I want to like her. I really do. At least in the first book she is written as strong and intelligent, capable of making her own decisions and defending herself, but by book three she is a whiney, sniveling, codependent unable to pick up her room without getting Edward’s approval first. And Edward never satisfactorily answers why he loves her. The most we get is a thin “You don’t see yourself the way I do.” What kind of answer is that? Bella seems nice enough, but I honestly do not get what is so special about her that Edward hasn’t found it in any other woman in the last 100 years? It because he can’t read her mind and isn’t treated to the inane internal dialogue we readers get? Is it the way she smells to him? If either one of those are factors, how will it change the way he feels about her when she becomes a vampire? And a one point of the book Bells comments about how Alice and Jasper’s relationship isn’t as flamboyant as Emmett’s and Rosalie’s and my response was Wah? If it weren’t for the fact that that it is stated in black and white that any of them have relationships, I wouldn’t know it was happening. The books so focus on Edward and Bella’s affair that there really isn’t any character development for the other vampires. I have never really seen anything between the other characters to suggest affection, much less an immortal passion.

            Those are my thoughts for now. I know that it seems like I am bagging on the book. I’m really not, I really do like them. But seeing as it’s mentioned every other page that Edward is attractive I feel that is information I don’t have to discuss …

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Once again, I find my mind racing with questions having read the second part of Twilight.  Chapters nine through 16 are so full of information and emotion that I had to really reflect on them for a little while.  I couldn’t help but ask myself what I would do if I were in Bella’s position.  I’d like to believe that I’d be as collected as she is in the book, but the truth is that I’d probably freak out quite a bit.  Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about:

  • Bella finally gets confirmation that Edward is a vampire.  I think she reacts pretty calmly, considering said vampire is driving her home at 100 m.p.h.
  • Edward can’t hear Bella’s thoughts.  I see this as a great equalizer in their relationship.  In this one way, Edward is human.  Bella and Edward have to trust one another enough to talk about their thoughts and feelings, just like any other couple.  I think this gives Bella and Edward the privacy to think their own thoughts without the fear of being misread.  However, this also brings up a question.  Is it impossible for Edward to read the mind of anyone he’s romantically in love with?
  • I think Bella and Edward’s biology class watches more videos than just about any biology class ever.  These classes seem like one of the hardest things they have to deal with.  With hands clenched in fists and arms wrapped her, Bella can’t help but notice Edward’s hands clenched and jaw tight.  This is one of the best ways Stephenie Meyer manages to capture the longing, danger, and stress of Edward and Bella’s relationship.
  • Chapter 13: There’s the meadow, Edward’s sparkly skin, and the first real physical contact between Bella and Edward (for once, he’s not saving her).  We get to hear Edward’s side of the Bella/Edward story.  And the best part: Bella and Edward finally kiss.  I like this chapter because it’s like the eye of the hurricane.  There are all of these issues swirling around, but in the meadow, Bella and Edward can look up into the bright blue sky and feel more comfortable with one another than ever before.
  • I’ve asked this question of a few of my friends: if you found out that your vampire love interest had been watching you sleep for some time now, would you freak out?  Most commonly, my friends say, “not if he was Edward Cullen.”  They may have a point there.  However, I really appreciate Bella’s reaction in the book.  She’s embarrassed because she talks in her sleep, and worries about what Edward has heard.  Personally, I’d be just as concerned about whether or not I’d been drooling.
  • The Cullen’s house is the anti-vampire house.  After a lifetime of being exposed to vampire stories where they slept in crypts, closets and basements, it was a bit shocking to read about the back of the Cullen’s house being entirely windows.  That there’s a cross hanging in the house is also surprising.  Are vampires in Stephenie Meyer’s works repelled by crucifixes? 
  • Meeting the family of your significant other is always unnerving.  I think it was great to read about Bella trying to pick an outfit to wear when she’s going to meet Edward’s family.  I was really surprised by how open Esme and Carlisle were with Bella.  The most interesting part of the visit to the Cullen’s house was when Edward walked Bella through the family history.  There was a lot of vampire lore and I found it interesting that Meyer’s vampires are a lot less destructable than in other stories.
  • One final thing, Edward has the bedroom of my dreams.  A brilliant sound system, a huge music collection, and great acoustics.  He also plays music.  It’s no wonder the girls all think he’s dreamy.

Songs listened to while reading:

  • ‘A New England’ by Billy Bragg
  • ‘Sour Times’ by Portishead
  • ‘The Mending of the Gown’ by Sunset Rubdown
  • ‘Ave Maria’ by Mary Jane Newman

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Last summer, my good friend Monica suggested I that I read Twilight.  She’s always given me good book recommendations, but I was a bit hesitant.  However, I got really sick a few weeks later, and I decided to read Twilight and see what I thought.  My boyfriend went and bought it for me, and came home doubly mortified because it was a romance novel about vampires and it was in the teen section.  

I read Twilight in 48 hours.  I read New Moon and Eclipse within 72 hours.  I was absolutely addicted.  Now I’m counting the hours until Breaking Dawn is released.  Meanwhile, I’ve decided to re-read the series so the story will be fresh in mind next Saturday at midnight.  

My posts won’t be a chapter by chapter synopsis of the book.  If you are looking for that sort of discussion, I highly recommend The Twilight Lexicon online.  I’m more interested in sharing my impressions as I read the book again.  In this first post, I’ll be talking about chapters one through eight.

  •  I think that Stephenie Meyer does a great job of juxtaposing the arid, baking desert of Phoenix and the lush, overcast atmosphere of the Olympic Peninsula.  Aside from Bella’s mentions of the change in her wardrobe, Meyer concentrates on the light that bathes everything.  The endless blue skies of Phoenix offer no respite from the sun, and the grey shroud of the overcast skies in Forks create a dome that blends in with the greenery everywhere.  
  • Ah, the drudgery of high school!  Classes definitely take a secondary role in Twilight.  We read a little about Bella’s English class, and of course, biology class is a major setting for Edward and Bella’s growing relationship.  However, most of the really important things in the story occur at lunch and before/after school.  This is the way I remember high school, as well.
  • Bella seems to have a hard time relating to people her own age.  She has taken on a parental role with both of her parents: she knows that her mom’s clothes are at the dry cleaners, and she cooks Charlie dinner every night.  Perhaps this is why she struggles with her peers.  It is also potentially a quality that Edward is attracted to.  After all, if you were nearly 100 years old, would you want to hang out with a ditzy 17-year-old girl?  
  • I’d forgotten that music is such an integral part of this book.  Edward and Bella find common ground with Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.”  Some of the kids bring a CD player with them to the beach and play music around the fire.  On the way to Port Angeles, Bella says that during the “estrogen rush” the girls listen to “whiny rock songs.”  Perhaps the most interesting use of music is when Bella puts on a loud CD to drown out her thoughts in chapter seven.

The concept of music in the book really caught my attention.  I think that all good stories have a soundtrack.  The great thing is that the soundtrack varies from person to person.  Here are a few things I listened to while reading the first eight chapters of the book:

  • ‘Drag’ by Placebo
  • ‘Counterfeit Rules’ by Snowden
  • ‘June on the West Coast’ by Bright Eyes
  • ‘Displaced’ by Azure Ray
  • ‘Those Dancing Days are Gone’ by Carla Bruni

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Update

This sleepy little blog is about to have new life breathed into it!  Stick Figure Girl, in her infinite wisdom, has come up with a plan to cover the release of the last book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn

With a possible new contributor, we will be re-reading Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse up to the release of Breaking Dawn on Saturday, Aug 2.  We’ll post our thoughts and maybe even throw in some theories for the new book for good measure. 

If you need a refresher on Twilight, or you’ve been living under a rock for the last 6 months, check out Stephenie Meyer’s (the author) site or twilightlexicon.com.  Both have lots of information on the series and even a quote of the day from the new book. 

This should be fun.  I’m looking forward to it.  I hope you are too!

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Flair

I thought it was perfect.  Enjoy!

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