Reading for Pleasure *wink wink*

imagesAt the hair salon last summer, I took my Nook along.  My stylist said, “What are Christian and Anastasia up to *wink wink*?”  I hadn’t yet read Fifty Shades, but I had heard of Christian and Anastasia.  I said, “Oh, I’m not reading that.”  Turns out a large number of her clients WERE reading that, coming in with Fifty Shades on their e-readers, the 21st century version of a plain brown wrapper.  She whispered, “You have to check it out. Seriously. It’s hot.

So on the advice of my stylist, I did check it out.  And I’ll admit, it was sort of hot at first.  But it was also sort of degrading and stupid and repetitive.  It made me wonder just how this book became so popular, and I think it has little to do with good writing and everything to do with marketing.

We really don’t need a plain brown wrapper for Fifty Shades.  The cover is tame, discreet.  No bodice rippers or entwined bodies in sight.  This, I think, is a huge part of the appeal, legitimizing the genre somehow and making it seem less cliched and old fashioned.

I’d also call it erotica-lite.  FSOG has more of a relationship-focus than porn but more sex than a romance novel.  So it’s ok because, you know, they love each other.  Or something like that.

Book 1 of the FSOG trilogy is now the fastest selling paperback of all time, leaving a bewildered Harry Potter in the dust.  31 million copies of the trilogy have been sold worldwide.  Practically everyone’s read this book; your friends, your sister, your neighbor, the lady sitting in front of you at church.  If you haven’t read it, you’ve heard of it.  Even people who wouldn’t normally read erotica (hi…) want to check it out to see what all the fuss is about.  It’s been hand sold, woman to woman, in person and online over Facebook and Twitter.

Mommy Porn has influenced sales of racy toys and taken reading for pleasure to a whole new level.  It’s an exciting time to be in the business of selling handcuffs. Publishers have rushed to put out erotica titles for the masses, with varying degrees of quality, and covers so subtle they are perfectly acceptable on the book tables at Costco.

What, if anything, does this say about our culture?  Are we sexually frustrated?  Bored?  Oversexed?  Did we need something like Fifty Shades to give us permission to talk about our fantasies with our friends or our partners?  Or is this just pure escapism?

I don’t know, but I couldn’t get past the repetitiveness and the icky relationship between Christian and Ana.  I’m sure there have to be better titles in this genre, which I’ll admit is not without it’s charms *wink wink*.

Suggestions, anyone?


8 Responses

  1. I’ll will attempt to not go on my rant, which I usually do when the topic of this book comes up. The ladies in my morning workout class have all gotten their share of my attitude. I couldn’t imagine ever feeling like this was hot, because I couldn’t get over the horrid writing and the degrading attitude towards women and the fact that this “studly” male was really a control-freak asshole. Nothing romantic or sexy, that I could see. I didn’t read the 2nd or 3rd book, because I felt like it was a total waste of time! I’m not sure what it says about all the women who are swooning over it. Obviously something was missing in their lives…sex? fantasy? a book that was easy to read? Who knows.

    • I didn’t read book 2 or 3 either. When I complained about the book recently, someone said to me, ‘oh, you have to read book 2. That one is the BEST.’ Ha Ha

  2. I won’t read these books. I just know they are horrible. I have not problem with the genre itself, though. I do think it’s great that non-readers suddenly found time to read after this one came out. My hairdresser too was talking about it and she never reads anything but magazines. People in the school drop-off and pick-up had copies in their hands or sticking out of their bags. For that, I am grateful.. Just like Harry Potter, not the best written stories but they got people to read.

    Nadia sent me Secret. Which she said is soooo much better. I haven’t read it yet. Here is the link to her review:

    • Twilight and The Hunger Games got a lot of people reading too. I certainly can’t fault FSOG for that!!

      We did a tour for SECRET and it got really good reviews.

  3. I haven’t read these but my book club has been buzzing about this series but several have agreed with you and all agreed the writing was pretty bad even if they were titillated by the story. I’m probably not rushing out to read these.

  4. “It’s an exciting time to be in the business of selling handcuffs.” Lol – that is so funny! I have a friend who has actually friends with James – met her through fan fiction.

  5. I can safely say that I will never read these books. Not my genre for one, but I have seen enough to know that they are not for me. I hope that people who have gotten into reading because of these books will move on to other, better novels.

  6. I HATED fifty shades of grey with all the passion in my body. I couldn’t get past the first few paragraphs where ana (on purpose) is obsessed about her hair that I had to resort to reading chapter recaps. Here are my reviews for all three of the books

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