Last month, some Australian school libraries banned the Twilight series from their shelves. The books were “too sexual” and irreligious. All the fuss prompted me to watch the movie – finally. I also went into the city to see if the ban had hit the bookshops as well. The Twilight experience was quite illuminating.
First of all, it’s ridiculously expensive to buy books in Perth. So although Stephanie Meyer’s latest was on proud display beside Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol, the whole effect was, well, lost on me. I simply browsed my way through the store, mentally calculating what I could buy for 30 dollars back home. You can buy two breakfasts at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai for the price of a book in Oz. Not that I would have wasted money on Twilight, in any case – apologies to the fans.
Indeed, there seems to be something of a twilight of books here. Bookshops are few – either a Dymocks or an Angus & Robertson. There are second-hand bookstores in Guildford, and the op-shops are good for a cheap read. Although with the latter, it must be said that if a book has been donated to an op-shop, it’s there because it wasn’t worth finishing. Still, it seems to me that people aren’t interested in reading these days. I’ve never felt so depressed in bookshops as I have here. If the prices don’t get me down, the impossibility of finding my favourite authors does.
As for Twilight, the movie…anaemic-looking vampires just don’t do it for me. My flatmate has seen the movie five times. Still trying to work that one out. Personally, I feel it’s a great pity that Robert Pattinson, who was perfectly dishy in Harry Potter, looks duller than dishwater as Edward Cullen. Edward Sullen would be more like it.
Still, Twilight seems to be the flavour of the year. In the past six months, I’ve been invited to a Twilight-themed party, watched numerous news stories about the actors, and used bits of the film as an example while teaching. Needless to say, my students were thrilled.
As for me, I did what every self-respecting girl does when she’s in trouble – I called my mother in India.
“I’ve run out of good books to read,” I said.
“I’ll send you one in the mail,” she replied.
Definitely the cheapest option.