MELISSA BLOCK, host:
If you're one of those readers who can go through life proudly telling friends that your favorite book is "War and Peace," "Moby Dick," maybe "Ulysses," well, that's great.
As we head into summer, we're looking beyond the classics, at books you feel guilty for loving. It could be a book by James Patterson.
We're launching a series called My Guilty Pleasure. And today, the bestselling thriller writer Brad Meltzer tells us about some books he loves, which were not aimed at adult men.
Mr. BRAD MELTZER (Author): There are; news flash here, true differences between men and women. A friend who has twins: one boy, one girl, told me the story of when they were down at a pond and the young twins spotted a cute little duck.
The little girl said, I want to pet the duck.
The little boy said, I want to kill the duck. I rest my case.
And with that gender gauntlet thrown, let me say to you as a meat-eating, "Entourage"-watching, sports-loving; okay, I really don't love sports, or actually understand sports. But as a heterosexual man who can't sit through a single show on Lifetime Television, let me loudly proclaim: I, Brad Meltzer, love the "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer.
Now, this is the part where I'm supposed to make an intellectual disclaimer like: I don't really love it, but I appreciate it for what it is. But let me be clear here. I love it. I love "Twilight." I love Bella, and I love Edward.
I'm not alone. Since it debuted in 2005, the "Twilight" series has sold over 53 million copies, making it the hottest thing in bookshops since that nerdy kid with the lightning bolt scar.
But back to what's really important: me. I love this story of the gawky, awkward girl who falls in love with the brooding vampire. And I love that she can't get sexual with said vampire because when her blood gets pumping, it'll send him into a frenzy and he'll kill her. How's that for a prophylactic? I love hearing the dark secret histories of how the other vampires were turned into vampires. Oh, my God. I'm on the verge of writing fan-fic here. But again, in case you missed it, I love this story.
But for the most part, I've told almost no one. You know why? Because as a man, this book is not supposed to be for me. I realized this when I went to see the "Twilight" movie. Yes, I was there, opening weekend. We got a babysitter for it. And I sat there in the dark with my wife and a roomful of suburban mothers and a smattering of teenage daughters. I counted. There were four other men, all teenagers, besides me. Me, four dragged-along boyfriends, and the rest women.
But you know who I blame for this? I blame my fellow men. That's right. I blame all the men out there who point fingers and call things girlie, and run like spineless cowards whenever something gets embraced by the opposite sex. It happens all the time. But I will not let this stand for "Twilight."
We'd never dismiss "Romeo and Juliet" as just for women. Yes, I know. I'm not saying its Shakespeare, and I still think "Harry Potter" is better, but don't mess up my analogy. I won't cede "Twilight."
And so I challenge, not the men out there; the men are clearly wusses, so I challenge the women. Give "Twilight" to your teenage sons. Give it to your nephews and husbands and other guy types. Tell them it's cool. Tell them they'll like it. Tell them it will help them understand women and therefore help them get dates. Come on, why else do you think I spent so much time with "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret?"
And I issue this challenge not for sexual equality, not to break down gender barriers. I issue it for the most vital reason of all: the sequel is coming, and I'm tired of being the only guy in the movie theater.
BLOCK: That's Brad Meltzer defending his guilty pleasure, the "Twilight" books. Meltzer is the author of "The Book of Lies," among others.
Over the summer, we'll have more writers' secret favorite books for our series My Guilty Pleasure. You can find more reading recommendations in our new Summer Books 2009 section at our Web site, npr.org
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