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50 Things About 50 Shades

50 Things About 50 Shades

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Published by Maria Inzagi

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Published by: Maria Inzagi on Aug 07, 2012
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05/15/2013

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50 Things About 50 Shades (of Grey) | ReadReact Review50 Things About 50 Shades
WEL
COME! If you enjoyed this post, consider subscribing (it’s free) to get new bookish
posts (about 3 a week) in your favorite feed reader or email box.
Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic novel self-published by first-time British author E.L. James in2011 which has already spawned two sequels and, maybe, a movie deal. I just read it and have,naturally, fifty things to say.Updated 10/12 to add: Vintage is publishing all three books in the trilogy in e and paperback:Now American publishers have just concluded a battle over the rights to re-release the book inthe blockbuster fashion they think it deserves. This week, Vintage Books, part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, known for its highbrow literary credentials, won a bidding war forthe rights to all three books, paying a seven-figure sum.On Monday, the publisher will release new e-book editions of the trilogy. Weeks later will comea 750,000-copy print run of redesigned paperback editions.Adults, read on:
 
1. The blurb:When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful youngentrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic andintimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind
 – 
untilhe happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her tokeep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to re
sist Ana’s
quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too
 – 
but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of 
success
 – 
his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family
 – 
Grey is mantormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on apassionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as theChristian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.2. The cover is perfect for the novel. Why are we stuck with such literal cover art forcontemporary erotic romance?3. As reported in Publishers Weekly, Fifty Shades of Grey started as Twilight fan fiction. I haveseen the first three Twilight films, and read part of the second Twilight book (it was a DNF),
and, despite looking for it, detected almost no resemblance. If I hadn’t seen a link to the PW
article, I would never in a million years have guessed the provenance of this book.4
. That said, for some readers the issue isn’t how closely Fifty Shades hews to Twilight, but theauthor’s use of the Twilight fan fiction community. Amazon.com reader Jennifer offers a good
summary of the argument in her comment on Amazon.com:In what was her most unethical act, EL James (aka Snowqueens Icedragon) also borrowed
Twilight’s large fanbase on the condition that she would not profit from her fanfiction. Shedidn’t have to run marketing campaigns like Stephenie Meyer and other legitim
ate authors mustdo. She knew that people would buy her book due to her success in the fanfiction world, a
celebrity that she attained under the deceitful pretense that she was simply honoring Meyer’s
work and nothing more.I would need to know more about timing and motivation to comment on this. To hatch the wholeplot from the start would be pretty crafty. Jami Gold, a PNR author, asks When Does Fan fictionCross an Ethical Line?5. The price for, $9.99 for the ebook (see Amazon), from a debut author, self-published, isoutrageous.I read Fifty Shades thanks to the generous Kindle lending of a friend.
 
6. Having read romances for the last five years, I’ve noticed BDSM romance, and BDSM
elements, becoming more mainstream within the genre. With the benefit of 
20/20 hindsight, it’s
obvious that someday a BDSM erotic romance would break out and become a phenomenon theway Fifty Shades has.7. For evidence of the phenomenon, see Pornography for Mommies, an article about Fifty
Shades in the Huffington Post. Or don’t, if you don’t want to be annoyed by the condescension(but it’s self 
-
condescension, so maybe that’s ok? Or… maybe that’s the oldest and most
hypocritical trick in the book? You decide!) in comments such as:
Also, I have been so busy reading “real” books
that, no, I have not read anything dumb and
erotic like this since college. And I think that’s true for many of my women friends. We read the
latest historical fiction bestseller¬s (like The Paris Wife, or The Help, which are definitely notbodice-rip¬pers
) and then we sip wine and meet for book club. So that’s why it is fun (andfunny) to rediscover this stuff in our 40′s. Not sure why this one was the break 
-out erotica to
“trip” on, as you say, but it has certainly crossed over.
 8. People get mad at you i
f you like this book: You don’t know good writing! You are part of the horde who encourage the publication of poorly edited books! You don’t care that the author 
ripped off her Twilight fanficdom and/or Stephanie Meyer! You are promoting work thatencoura
ges the stereotype that folks who are into BDSM are “damaged”!
 
9. And they get mad if you don’t: You’re an elitist snob! You don’t get it! You are some crazyTwihard who can’t bear the thought of Edward with a whip! You’re sexually repressed! You are
tryin
g to tell women which sexual fantasies are ok and which aren’t!
 10. Boy, is this book popular. Check the number of reviewers on Amazon (4.5 stars, 180 ratings,190 likes) or Goodreads (4210 ratings, avg rating of 4.41 out of 5). Just compare that to the latestbook by New York Times bestselling romance writer Nora Roberts, The Next Always (published
around the same time, also priced at $9.99): Amazon (3.5 stars, 197 reviews, 1014 likes… thelast number showing Roberts’ strong Facebook presence, something James can’t now, or perhaps
ever, compete with), Goodreads (3687 ratings, 3.88 average rating).11. But wait! Fifty Shades is not, technically, a romance novel (no happily ever after, although
there is one at the end of the series). It’s not published by a
romance publisher. The cover is
certainly not romancey. And, I could be wrong, but I don’t think it was primarily romancereaders that first discovered this book: it was members of the author’s fan fiction community.Indeed, my romance reading “friends” o
n Goodreads give it a much lower average review.12. If you want more Fifty Shades, you can read the next two books in the series, Fifty ShadesDarker (supposed to be pretty good) or Fifty Shades Freed (supposed to suck).

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