I’ve read a lot of books. That doesn’t mean that I’ve covered everything on the AP list, but I suppose I have time. Obviously, as all readers, I have encountered some wonderful books –the kind that you obsess over and have to read at least twenty times before even thinking about loaning it out, and I have also come across some terrible ones –usually the ones that I was assigned in high school or some of the assigned readings even in college. That doesn’t mean that everything I read on my own time is spectacular either.
For instance, I was probably one of the last people to read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. What mainly attracted me to it was its cover –incredibly simple and somehow enticing at the same time. (I just finished reading Paradise Lost, so I feel like apples are everywhere.) At first, I really liked it. I was impressed by her story-telling, though I’m not sure I would place her style on the same pedestal as JK Rowling (because despite whether or not you like the Harry Potter books, the woman has done something incredible; I envy her big imaginative brain). I was interested in the idea and some of the characters and I looked forward to see how it would play out. But then I continued to read the other books and that’s when I came to the conclusion that while most people get stuck in the fanatic obsession with the series, I didn’t.
WHY? One word: BELLA.
She is the worst role model that a writer could release into our pathetic society. She’s selfish. She’d run over all of her family and friends just to be with Edward. She obviously has no qualms with emptying the money she had saved for college in order to cope with Edward’s absence. And last but not least, even though she is the narrator, she is far from a heroine and she lacks personality. Aside from the fact that she is in love with a vampire, there’s not really anything interesting about her. She is the typical Caucasian female. And the fact that in the fourth book, when she becomes a vampire, she admires her beauty –that’s just vain. How vain. What are we teaching girls? And not just middle school and high school girls; I’ve seen the book everywhere on my college campus. Life is not a fairytale. People die. You make sacrifices. You lose people. You can’t have your cake and eat it too –which is what the books promises. And yet it is a best-selling book.
What about the other best-sellers? Nicholas Sparks? John Grisham? Dean Koontz? While they have some good books out there, does that mean that if they give birth to a new one, it’s automatically brilliant? What if authors had to start from scratch (with their popularity and the trust of the readers) with each book? Imagine how that would turn out.
One of the best books I’ve read is one that I stumbled upon one night in the bookstore. I was drawn to it because of its cover (once again).
As Simple As Snow by Gregory Galloway remains one of my favorite books to read whether I want a break from Shakespeare, Milton, or Dickens or simply read something enjoyable. I’ve read it several times and still don’t have everything figured out. If you want to chew on something, chew on that. It’s a fascinating piece of work. But back to my original thought, I have yet to see it as a best-seller, but I don’t mind arguing that it’s better than some of the books on that list. Therefore, just because it’s not a best-seller doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth the time.
This is what I’ve been thinking about my situation with an interracial relationship. I’m not Caucasian. I’m Asian. What if guys automatically thought things about me that weren’t even true? It just so happens that Asians are usually pegged as brilliant rocket scientists or mathematicians. I’m far from both. But what if the stereotype was that Asians are thieves, liars, and don’t have jobs? And what if those were immediately applied to me on the spot? I wouldn’t know it unless the person with those feelings blatantly expressed it, but it’s there –inside the minds of everyone around you. Judgment.
In nowhere does it say in the Book of Revelation that God’s judgment will be based upon skin color/culture. In fact, the idea is that the inclusion of the word “Gentiles” in Revelation is a way of stating that all people are worthy of salvation and will receive it (if they are washed in the blood or if their names are in the book of life of course –can’t leave that out). John never says, “God will appear on his throne surrounded by 24 elders and the four living creatures to judge minorities and high-five Caucasians into heaven.” Salvation, according to Revelation, is something available to everyone based upon faith and good works (I know people argue that good works has nothing to do with it, but Revelation does include it). So if we’re speaking in the Christian mindset, people will ultimately be equal when it comes to judgment. If we’re thinking this way, then why would being a different color matter? How can Christians read Revelation and not see that discrimination and racism are wrong? –Then again, most people don’t really read Revelation or study it for that matter. So what is wrong with our world that we automatically insinuate these stereotypes or labels that dehumanize people of a different color, and make interracial relationships inferior? *By the way, if anyone is offended by this, don’t be. When you read Revelation and figure out the different myths of Nero, the controversy over the authorship of Revelation, the meaning of the four living creatures, and what the different colored stones mean, come talk to me. Otherwise, know that I studied the book this entire semester and even though that isn’t very long, it’s more than a simple glance.
Slyh made a good comment the other day. “This is 2009. Parents shouldn’t be worried about race. Would they rather their daughter get with a white guy that treats her horribly or a black guy that treats her right? Think about it.”
I guess it all comes down to happiness. Whichever or whoever makes you happy. Life is too short to stick to societal norms or socially imposed rules that include stereotypes and placing certain groups of people above others due to outward appearances. I’ve known some really “pretty” people and they are some of the worst people I’ve ever met.
Caucasian is deemed the “best-selling novel,” while all the rest are left off. This isn’t the case for everyone everywhere, but pretty close. What if none of us gave books like As Simple As Snow a chance because it didn’t belong to Oprah’s Book Club or was the number one best-seller of the week? Just because these books aren’t best-sellers doesn’t mean that what’s inside isn’t worth reading. Same goes with people. I know it’s wrong.
But how do you forgive yourself or force yourself to come out from behind the curtain when you know that the majority of the people in the crowd are ready to throw tomatoes at you –before you give your performance? It doesn’t even matter the quality of whatever you plan on performing. Society is harsh. It doesn’t care.
The last guy I dated was Caucasian, about 10 years my senior, and had/has a really good job. I could have lived a very comfortable life with him had I decided to stay with him and get that Tiffany’s ring that I wanted. I probably could have just stayed at home. But at the same time, this guy was the one who took a 14/15-year-old girl out into vacant parking lots to have sex with her and then tell her not to tell anyone because it was considered statutory rape. This guy was okay with his brother mistreating the same girl. This guy was okay with his ex calling all of the time. This guy was okay with lying and ignoring whatever came out of the girl’s mouth.
Then you have an African American guy who is about the same age, still in college, can’t flash a brand new Mustang in your face or buy you whatever and spoil you by spending ridiculous amounts on tiramisu and amaretto sours. But he’s a better person. The quality is better. The personality is there. The humor is there. The caring and thoughtfulness are both there. And so, with that description (minus the identification of him being black) you would want to choose him. But when you walk into a restaurant, people in this area are more likely to approve or “handle” the sight of the Asian girl and the established Caucasian male than the Asian girl being on the arm of the African American. Forget about statutory rape. It looks better. It fits better.
I hate some of the New York Times best-sellers because some of them are just terrible. They lack quality. They lack concentration. They lack style and precision and talent. They’re thrown together, but with a certain author’s name on the front, it’s automatically awesome beyond awesome. You cannot argue that all of these books are excellent. Just like you can’t argue that all of these books are bad. Just because a book is a New York Times best-selling novel doesn’t mean that it’s good. Quality isn’t obvious. It’s assumed.