In celebration of today's release of Eclipse, I want to praise the Twilight saga. Now, this is not meant to be a forum to debate Stephenie Meyer's writing skills (we all know there are passionate feelings on both sides of the spectrum). Instead, I want to focus on her books from the viewpoint of a high school English teacher.
As writers, it's easy for us to question why some books get published, especially when we feel adamant that we are better writers. But as an English teacher, I've learned to appreciate any book that my students read. My job is to get my students to read. And to enjoy reading. If it means they read a Twilight novel rather than Shakespeare, I'm okay with that. Because at least they're reading.
We've all heard the term "gateway drugs." (If not, Dictionary.com defines it here.) But have you ever heard of gateway books? These are the books that turn non-readers into readers. I see that happen every school year.
That's why I put every book I buy (or win in a contest or obtain as a donation) on my classroom shelf. Because I never know which book will be the next gateway book for my students. If I can help at least one non-reader become a reader, I'll feel like I've done my job.
Let's be realistic as writers. We need readers. How else can we make a living as writers? I applaud those writers, the ones like Stephenie Meyer, who can spin a great story and create energetic teen readers.
Here's my question to you: What were your gateway books? Which ones helped you to become readers and/or writers?
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