The Twilight books have been flooding into the secondary market recently, but I have not added these titles (New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn) to my selection of independent reads for students. While I would not censor a book a student wanted to read, there are some texts that are unnecessary in a classroom.
Fortunately, author Stephanie Meyer does not need to worry that my decision to exclude her books will damage her readership. In fact, my exclusion might even help the book’s cache.
Simply put, there are some titles that have become so popular with my students, that I do not need to provide copies. For example, many students, elementary through high school, purchased their own copies of titles in JK Rowlings’ Harry Potter series. There is now a multitude of “well used” to “completely abused” copies of any one of the seven Potter books in the secondary market.
The Harry Potter series was so heartily embraced and so well read by millions that I do not need to encourage these readers to read more about Harry. Similarly, students who began with Twilight went on to read New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn at their own expense. Additionally, film releases for both Harry Potter and Twilight have kept these titles on best sellers lists, so used copies will continue to flood into the used book market.
Recently, several of my sophomore students were reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, one of a series that is just starting to hit the secondary market. Again, I will not add this series of mysteries, but not for the same reason. The material in this series require mature readers. However, if a student brought in a personal copy for independent reading, I would have no objection.
The Harry Potter and Twilight series are often stepping stones to other kinds of literature. I try to make the connections between Harry Potter and the epic adventures of other classic heroes who have been marked from birth: King Arthur, Theseus, and Achilles to name a few. I also try and make connections with Twilight, matching the book with the dark brooding romance between Heathcliff and Catherine in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights rather than the more obvious vampire classic Dracula by Bram Stoker. In Eclipse, Bella Swan even borrows a line said by Catherine in Wuthering Heights in order to describe her love for the vampire Edward Cullen, “If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the Universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” Meyer knew Bronte had the ability to have her readers swooning!
While some titles need to be promoted in order to gain a reader’s attention, the Twilight and Harry Potter series need no help from me. I leave those books on the tables knowing they will hook readers on their own.