What are you reading?
“Breaking Dawn [by Stephenie Meyer]. It’s the fourth installment in the Twilight series.”
Tell me about it.
“I’m only about 20 pages in, but it’s really good. It’s about a younger lady named Bella who falls in love with a 100-year-old vampire named Edward — though he’s still the same age he was when he died.”
It seems a lot of the books’ fans are women. How do you relate to it as a guy?
“It’s just a really good depiction of somebody who doesn’t feel loved, who doesn’t know what’s going on — like everybody at certain points in their life. Bella is kind of misplaced — she moves from Tucson to Washington. She finds someone who can love her no matter what — so it’s kind of fun.”
Compare it to other books you’ve read.
“Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights — two star-crossed lovers, that kind of deal. I love the gothic aspect of Wuthering Heights, how Katherine falls in love with two men and they’re both really bad for her, but both really necessary at certain points in her life. There are two characters in the Twilight series, Edward and Jacob, who are both in love with Bella, and she’s in love with them, but in different ways. She’s really deeply in love with Edward, and then she loves Jacob in a best-friend kind of way. I like Jacob — he’s a good, stand-up guy, and so I’m kind of rooting for her to get with him in the end.”
Who is your favorite character in Wuthering Heights? In Twilight?
“Probably Heathcliff. He’s very brooding, very damaged, very difficult to be around. He kind of reminds me of myself. In Twilight, Bella, because she’s very brooding, very confused, very difficult to be around sometimes.”
Who is your favorite author?
“Probably Anne Rice. I like vampires, and themes of rebirth and eternal love are kind of a draw for me. And I like her prose — it’s very romantic, very flowery, very Victorian.”
What book has been most life-changing for you?
“Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned really struck me in a profound way. I was 13 or 14 when I first read it, and I’d never read a book that was so enthralling, so rich, with so many intertwined stories.”
What magazines or newspapers do you read?
“Vanity Fair is my favorite magazine. I read everything in it except for Dominic Dunne. He writes society stuff, and he’s a big namedropper — ‘Well, I used to have lunch with Elizabeth Taylor.’ I don’t read newspapers — I read news on the Internet, mostly Yahoo.”
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
“Yes. We go out for cocktails and talk about what we’re reading. The last time we got together, one of my friends — she’s a teacher — was very concerned about the way Bella came across as an ineffectual role model. She doesn’t like her students reading the books because Bella comes across as being very needy, wanting Edward to take care of her. Because it’s unnecessary in this day and age, that kind of thing. And she was taking it further — the author is a little old-fashioned in her viewpoint. Bella’s waiting to have sex with her boyfriend until she gets married. It’s all very old-fashioned, which a lot of girls like.”
Why do they like it?
“It’s romantic. It gives them the way-back kind of feeling. Feeling special.”
Name: Jeff Cooke | Age: 30 | Occupation: Leather and Luggage Sales
Neighborhood: Encinitas | Where interviewed: Book Works Bookstore, Del Mar