Apr 4 2012

Thankful for Twilight

It’s pretty easy and popular to hate Twilight: the hundred year old guy who hangs around a high school, the vampires that aren’t affected by the sun, the sparkles, Kristen Stewart’s expression(s). But the fact is I’m actually thankful for the Twilight series–at least the books.

I have always wanted my children to be readers (actively choosing to read–not simply lacking illiteracy). I got one of the girls hooked on reading at age 6 by lending her my Calvin & Hobbes books. One day she proudly announced, ‘This is the sixth time I’ve read this book!” So I decided that she was ready for something bigger, and gave her Bertrand Brimley’s Mad Scientists Club. She acted like I gave her dish-duty. She complained a lot, but eventually read it.

“Dad, that book was awesome!”

Duh.

The other child didn’t take to reading so quickly. She was 11 and still did not read for pleasure. Sure she sang and drew pictures, but I was obviously a terrible parent.

Then the Twilight books hit big, and suddenly she wanted to read, and she read the entire series. Now she reads regularly, and has polished off several much larger books, including Gone With the Wind. She has since professed a distaste for the girly vampire books.

In August of 1931 a 14 year old Forrest Ackerman–the man who would, among other  accomplishments, coin the term ‘sci-fi’–wrote a letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs regarding an argument he had with his teacher over what constituted ‘good’ literature. Two days later, the author of the Tarzan and Jon Carter books wrote him back. The excerpt below sums up my sentiments (emphasis mine):

“My stories will do you no harm. If they have helped to inculcate in you a love of books, they have done you much good. No fiction is worth reading except for entertainment. If it entertains and is clean, it is good literature, or its kind. If it forms the habit of reading, in people who might not read otherwise, it is the best literature.

You can read both letters in their entirety here at Letters of Note.

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Jan 12 2009

Zounds!

If you are a fan of Spaceman Spiff from the old Calvin & Hobbes comics, you know this word. It is one of those comic-book-sounding exclamations, akin to Great Scott! that you never hear anyone use in real life.

You probably wouldn’t liken it to taking God’s name in vain, however the word actually dates to the 1600s, and is a contraction of the words God’s wounds!

Don’t ask me how I came to look this up; I don’t remember.

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