You are probably too erudite to discuss this, but Iâ€™m bringing it up anyway: vampire books. You know what Iâ€™m talking about.
Last week my 12-almost-13-year-old daughter was re-reading an unnamed vampire series in preparation for the release of #4. My cousinâ€™s wife noticed, blinked, and exclaimed, â€œOh, do you let her read those?â€ Um. Yes? Apparently she, too, allows her children to read a few select vampire books but has been roundly criticized around the neighborhood (read: ward/family) for doing so.
And I have to admit when my daughter brought home her first one from school two years ago, I did ask what she was reading. She insisted it was fine, but I was still a bit worried, mostly because I remember getting a bit obsessed with vampire books and other paranormal phenomena about that age and thought I should be ready to talk to her about it, if thatâ€™s where we were headed.
So I read it first, then handed it back and asked if the second one in the series was out. I find the concept of moral vampires interesting, and, frankly, after reading them, I am much more concerned about the quality of the writing than the evil aspect. Am I a bad mother? You donâ€™t really have to answer that. But we could discuss the knee jerk assumption of evil some seem to have. Sometimes it seems we value locating evil more than celebrating good.
Perhaps it is easier to draw un-crossable lines in the sand than to analyze? I draw those lines, myself, so Iâ€™m not suggesting we shouldnâ€™t. Rated R movies are out for me, along with romance novels, Victoria Secret catalogues (at least for as long as I have pre-teen and teenage boys), and violent video games. But it seems to me that lines in the sand donâ€™t mean that everything on this side is of equal value or worth. Just because a book is in the . . . say . . . mystery section (my light summer reading) doesnâ€™t mean all is well in Zion. Are all non-romance books worth reading? All PG-13 movies worth watching? All video games worth playing? I donâ€™t think so.
Really, from a literary standpoint, I find it much more difficult to find contemporary LDS novels that are worth reading however â€œsafeâ€ they may be, though I have definitely found some.
What are the standards you use to decide what to watch, read, and wear? How do you respond to those who feel we should scrub books so clean from complexity (opposition? evil?) that the books are left boring, flat, and lifeless?
And could we brainstorm some synonyms for â€œcoldâ€ and â€œhardâ€ while we are at it? (That was harsh. Forgive me. Perhaps I’m just jealous of the biggest 24-hour selling period since the Harry Potter release. Go Stephenie!)