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Twilight doesn't suck

Sarah Dean

Your regular columnist Jude Simpson is on maternity leave. As anyone who ever typed 'parent' into Wikipedia or googled 'What is it like to have children?' will tell you, having a baby is pretty life changing. But it's not just Jude who has been learning to cope with sleepless nights, an inability to concentrate and an unerring feeling that things will be never be the same again. I have been going through the same things too, because I am currently reading Stephanie Meyer's vampire saga Twilight.

To clarify, I am not a moody Goth teenage girl. I am 34-year-old woman. None of my clothes are tie-dyed. I watch Larkrise to Candleford out of choice and I have a pension. And yet I really like the Twilight books. (By the way this isn't one of those articles about the pros and cons of Christians reading Twilight. If you are after one of those then google 'Twilight's not real, Christians calm down'.)

I am definitely a bit embarrassed to read these books in public, because I know I don't just judge a book by its cover, I judge the person reading it too.
I am pretty sure my fellow commuters judge me reading Twilight on the train each morning as some kind of lame 'kidult' who is so emotionally stunted that she chooses to retreat into literary adolescence, rather than facing up to what they call real life by reading something more worthy. Like the Metro, for example. Although, to be honest, my Hello Kitty hair clips and the fact that I am wearing mittens and a duffle coat probably don't help to disprove their judgment.

When the third book in the series was reviewed last year on Simon Mayo's Five Live radio show, a panel of men and women, aged 35 and over, all agreed that it was a well-written and engaging book that they had all enjoyed. However I doubt that on hearing this review the average Five Live listener pulled over his minicab and ran into the nearest Waterstones to snap up the third installment, which is a shame because this is great writing.

So here's the challenge, next time you are in Waterstones wondering what to get for your third book in the three-for-two, choose the title on the table you least like the look of. Something with good reviews or critical acclaim that you just don't really fancy.

We are called to love our neighbours, even though we might not understand or even like them, and as anyone who ever googled 'books' can tell you, books are a great way to widen your horizons, and understand someone-else's perspective.

For example, if your neighbour is a moody goth teenager or a 34-year-old woman who likes Larkrise, then I recommend you have a read of Twilight yourself. And if you feel embarrassed reading your new choice of book on the train, do what I did with Andy McNab's Bravo Two Zero, cover it with some Hello Kitty wrapping paper.