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How I’m Learning to Live With and Love 50 Shades of...


4 more hairballs & I'll have a whole kitten.

Last week Rosario posted her DNF review of 50 Shades of Grey. It was the pick for her book club, comprised of men and women some of whom are primarily literary fiction readers. There were some who loved the book and some who hated it but it sparked a vigorous book club discussion:

The one good point? The discussion at my book club was fantastic. Given what I’d seen in discussions online, I started out by requesting that people refrain from making assumptions about people who liked the book, but I needn’t have worried. The discussion was non-judgmental enough that people who liked it were comfortable saying so, and people who hated it (and I think I was probably the most negative about it, even more than the lit fic-loving guy who objected so strongly to it when the book was picked last time) could also say exactly why. I really enjoyed that discussion, so in the end, I guess the moments of extreme annoyance were worth it.

This dovetailed with a text I had received from a non reader neighbor. She was going on a long road trip and wanted some reading recommendations. She said that she had read the 50 Shades trilogy, Bared to You, and Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens. I gave her a few recommendations and when she returned from her trip, I ran her down to talk about her new reading habit. She admitted to me that both she and her husband had read and enjoyed 50 Shades and now she was totally hooked on reading. She even wanted more recommendations. This is a woman who had never read more than a magazine article before. I had to bite back a snarky remark about whether it livened up their bedroom life. I was appalled at myself. Wouldn’t I be totally offended and disgusted if someone next to me made a similar comment just based on the type of book I was reading?

50 Shades success has been hard to swallow. There are so many things that are wrong with the book beginning with the shady provenance. Has EL James ever come out and admitted the truth about its origins? Paid homage to the fan culture that elevated her? Has Vintage stopped lying about how it isn’t exactly like the original fan fiction called Masters of the Universe or (MOTU). What about its terrible presentation of BDSM – that is the a perversion of normal sex brought about by abuse, a disease to be cured by the love of a good woman? Then there is Ana and her eating disorder and the self presentation of vapidity. (articulated well in lazaraspaste’s epic review here).

And how frustrating it is for romance readers, in particular, who have read hundreds or even thousands of books that are better done and just the same before any one ever noticed 50 Shades? To some degree media (and even publishing marketing) treat the book as if no one had ever written anything sexy, agnsty, or romantic before.

But the phenomena of 50 Shades is something to behold; one that will be studied for years to come. And that is just one of the positive things about 50 Shades. On a societal level, if it normalizes women having sexual fantasies; increases positive connections between couples; and reduces the shame associated with women reading (more people, for example, would be ashamed to be seen reading Obama’s biography than 50 Shades) these are positives.

50 Shades, whether you love or hate it, has revitalized the long form erotic romance novel. After years of suffering through truncated shorts and novellas, I applaud this. The move toward emotionally intense love relationships is another plus for romance readers. Beyond what it will do to our own genre, however, is how the success of this book will empower publishing as a whole.

Publishing needs books like this. It makes a publishing house healthy and then they can take chances or bring us books that are less well known but deserve to be published. Authors need books like this. A book like 50 Shades is a book most authors say to themselves that they can write. The success of 50 Shades emboldens authors to keep writing. We readers need that.

Overall sales numbers for publishing are positive. There are new readers entering the market and lackidaisical readers are devouring more. That’s priceless.

What I hope to see in the future is less emphasis by publishing on the BDSM aspect. I’ve bemoaned this in the past and I’ll repeat my complaints. BDSM in erotic romance became popular not because of the secret desire of every woman to be tied up and spanked but because in BDSM books, the couples explored the emotional issues of trust and intimacy in ways that other non BDSM erotic romances failed to do. Remember that 50 Shades is tame in the execution. There is really nothing more than a few spankings and some hand tying. In the end, in fact, Christian is cured of his need for physical gratification through BDSM although Ana experiences some tremendous physical releases through the type of attention she receives from Christian.

BookThingo had an amazing breakdown of why readers are responding to 50 Shades and that is because at its core, 50 Shades is a fairly conservative take on sex, romance and relationships.

I’ve gone through the seven stages of grief and I’m now at acceptance. I hope you’ll join me there.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

52 Comments

  1. KT Grant
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 04:18:58

    I can live with 50 Shades because it’s allowed many people who don’t read or who want to try something new, will now open their minds to reading more, and romance!

    As for loving it, no way. Sorry, I just can’t.

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  2. Meri
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 05:00:31

    I guess I can live with it because I enjoy some of the snarkier reviews.

    If 50 Shades leads people reading more and/or helps readers be more willing to try new things sexually and to communicate about their sexuality, that’s great. I am not sure to what extent that’s true, though, having seen only anecdotal evidence as to such effects. It reminds me of the conventional wisdom that Harry Potter* was getting kids to read more,when it’s probably more accurate to say that it was getting them to read more Harry Potter. If all 50 Shades does is get (most) people to re-read the trilogy – perhaps with Beautiful Disaster thrown in, or The Marriage Bargain – and buy and discard some rope and sex toys, I’m not sure I’m ready for acceptance.

    I guess it doesn’t help that E.L. James gets on my nerves. I also don’t like how divisive the trilogy has been within the romance community, and I wish it didn’t dominate the discussion to the extent it has. Yet here I am, once again commenting about it.

    * Not that I’m going to compare 50 Shades and HP otherwise.

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  3. Jen
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 07:27:03

    I think I will reach the acceptance stage when I see fewer books being marketed/re-issued/presented as a Fifty Shades copy … which doesn’t look like it’s happening any time soon, so I guess I’m stuck at anger!

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  4. Mireya
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 07:37:42

    Frankly, I don’t “love” 50 and it still sort of annoys me that something as sub par as that made the author a millionaire, however, I do appreciate what it’s doing to put erotic romance and romance in general in the limelight. I can’t say I am that surprised that the titillation factor is attracting so many people. Why? Well, to make the story short, I have been reading romance over the past 10 years because I discovered Jaid Black in early 2003 and looking for her work, I landed in her own company, Ellora’s Cave. I discovered e-books the same day. To me, it was a “milestone” in my reading experience. I’ve been reading since I was 5 and I just turned 50 a couple of weeks ago, but I never really touched the romance genre until then.

    M.

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  5. Vanessa
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 07:47:17

    People are reading and talking about books who weren’t reading and talking about books before. While I’d really like to talk about another book (ANY other book) already, an impassioned readership is and always will be a good thing.

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  6. jmc
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 07:51:24

    I’m not interested in 50 Shades as a book, primarily because the first 20 pages were so god-awful that I put it down and have not been tempted to waste time or money on it. Taking a step back, I can appreciate the draw to reading that it has created for the average non-reader.

    But as someone who writes fan fiction, the publication for profit of MOTU seriously pisses me off still. Behavior like that is why some fandoms lock down or delete fic entirely. DNW.

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  7. Evaine
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 08:21:39

    I can accept the truly awful writing. I can accept the fanfic aspect of it. I can accept that most of the western world is titillated by it. I can deal with the horrible, erroneous portrayal of BDSM. I can get past the shallow, navel-gazing, immature heroine. What I cannot deal with is the emotional abuse and manipulation Christian heaps upon Ana. As a survivor of abuse, it horrifies me that this is held up as 2012′s answer to true love, and touted as such from every mainstream media outlet from women who should know better, men too. I cringe when I hear otherwise intelligent women praising the trilogy as a terrific character study and proof that the love of a good woman can cure everything.

    I guess I’m still stuck in anger. :)

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  8. DS
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 09:24:51

    Actually, after I got past the fan fiction part, I just treated 50 shades like all other publishing phenomena– I pretty well ignored it. If it is a gateway drug to people becoming addicted to reading, all well and good for authors. Down side, I don’t think the popularity of 50 shades is going to make more books of the type I enjoy reading available.

    ReplyReply

  9. Jackie Barbosa
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 09:54:31

    @Vanessa: I think I will reach the acceptance stage when I see fewer books being marketed/re-issued/presented as a Fifty Shades copy…

    Word. And when A.N. Roquelaire’s Beauty trilogy is marketed as being “like” Fifty Shades, it’s hard to believe that publishers have the first clue as to what has made Fifty a phenomenon in the first place.

    @Jen: While I’d really like to talk about another book (ANY other book) already…

    And yes, please. Can we talk about ANY OTHER book in the universe? Some days, I think Fifty Shades is the only book in existence any more.

    ReplyReply

  10. Jess
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 10:01:56

    The thing that most bothers me about this series is that from what I’ve heard, it’s poorly written. I know different reviews have focused more on the subject matter, but the subject matter is a “whatever” for me because I really don’t get into any type of romance in the first place. Kind of weird since this is a romance review site, but anyway. Because I don’t have the same interest, I can’t really knock that about the book. No, it’s the writing that gets me. Again, this is totally based on snark websites that quote the book and comment on it, so I’m not sure if they’re picking the worst of the worst or the entire book is just that terrible. Still, you would think the author would want to clean up her work once she was picked up by a publishing company. If nothing else, you would think her publishing company would say “This is going to make us big money anyway, but we still think you need to change your (story, grammar, plot, whatever).” Writers, at least take enough pride in your work to fix it. If, once you blow up and make millions of dollars every week but you admit your own writing is garbage, there’s something wrong with that.

    By the way, I’m usually all for “gateway” books, but I draw the line here. There are probably way better written books in the same vein and I don’t see why this was the series to become so popular.

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  11. Gwen Hayes
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 10:09:16

    I’m learning to live with 50 Shades because…

    I try to accept the things I cannot change.

    ReplyReply

  12. Jane
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 10:38:42

    @Evaine and @Jen – that’s okay. I’ve been actively trying to get rid of the anger for months now. Who knows. I might only be fooling myself that recovery is around the corner.

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  13. Jane
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 10:39:45

    @Jackie Barbosa – You can’t imagine the things I’ve received from publishers marked as Fifty Shades like. Even Harlequin is pushing Tiffany Reisz’ Siren as 50 Shades like when it a) features a female dominatrix and b) ends unhappily.

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  14. Las
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 10:58:38

    @Jen:

    I think I will reach the acceptance stage when I see fewer books being marketed/re-issued/presented as a Fifty Shades copy … which doesn’t look like it’s happening any time soon, so I guess I’m stuck at anger!

    This is where I’m at. I pass on any book that’s advertised as similar to 50, even if it’s an author I’ve read and liked in the past. I know it’s the pubs that do that–and I don’t even blame them for doing it, because hey, money–and not the authors, but it’s such a turn off for me that I can’t give it a pass. I’m reading and enjoying The Siren now–if I had known that harlequin was comparing it to 50 I would never have bought it. Yeah, it annoys me that much.

    If it weren’t for that, I’d feel the same exact way about 50 that I do about Twilight. It’s phenomenally bad writing, the level of excitement baffles me, but I’ve like plenty of badly-written books. As long as a person isn’t arguing that it’s well-written, rock on.

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  15. Kristi
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:08:22

    “I was appalled at myself. Wouldn’t I be totally offended and disgusted if someone next to me made a similar comment just based on the type of book I was reading?”

    Thank you! It is hard to say ‘I liked that book’ when so many people constantly make derogatory comments about it.

    I liked it! I loved it, actually! I felt that it could have been 1 1/2 books and not three but I still liked it. People definitely shouldn’t be so angry about a book doing well!

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  16. Jackie Barbosa
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:12:48

    @Jane: Arguably, the first Fifty Shades book ends unhappily, though (with Anastasia leaving Christian, if what I’ve heard it accurate; I’m afraid I only managed to get through about 150 pages before I could read no more). I’ve read The Siren cover to cover, though, and I’m not sure I’d say it ends unhappily (just not with an HEA). And while the lead character is a dominatrix, the central relationship in her life has been as a submissive, so it’s perhaps more “like” Fifty Shades in that respect than it might appear.

    Still, based on what I’ve read of both books, I think they bear little resemblance to one another beyond the purely superficial (i.e., there’s BDSM and sex in them). Which is partly what irritates me about all the publisher push to link books to Fifty–the comparisons/connections being made are tenuous at best and misleading at worst (i.e., the Beauty trilogy). That said, if it’s resurrecting lines like Black Lace and bringing us high-quality erotic novels we wouldn’t otherwise have seen, I’m leaning toward acceptance and maybe even a hint of gratitude.

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  17. P. Kirby
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:30:45

    Remember when you were a teenager and it felt like no one understood you? Maybe you wondered if you were actually an alien simply disguised as a human, because you just didn’t get other people? (Okay, maybe it was just me.)

    Point is, 50 Shades has the amusing effect of turning me into an alienated teen again, because I absolutely, positively cannot understand the allure. This is me, picking at my skin, wondering if there’s green under there.

    In short, I’m less angry and more like utterly and completely confuzzled by the book’s success.

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  18. Jane Davitt
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 12:02:52

    I’m still at the stage where I curl my lip every time I walk past a display of the book and mutter, ‘There’s much better smut for free online and you don’t sell fanfic, dammit, you just don’t’, under my breath.

    I’m waiting for the day when the books hit the bargain bins marked way down and the madness is over.

    And yes, there might be positives that emerge, but couldn’t they have come with a better, original book as their source?

    ReplyReply

  19. Mentoring #FAIL | The Bewildered Writer
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 12:36:32

    [...] Today’s post at Dear Author by Jane, who is unabashed in her disdain for the book, outlines what (in my opinion) should really be taken away from the 50 Shades craze: Publishing needs books like this. It makes a publishing house healthy and then they can take chances or bring us books that are less well known but deserve to be published. Authors need books like this. A book like 50 Shades is a book most authors say to themselves that they can write. The success of 50 Shades emboldens authors to keep writing. We readers need that. [...]

  20. Patty
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 12:49:24

    The whole 50 Shades thing between my friends and I, is like a hipster defending his or her favorite genre of music. I was reading/listening to x before it became popular or why are you just now reading a book that I have been recommending to you for months simply because it resembles 50 Shades? In this case, the book club girls (including me) are the hipsters, we’ve read better and seen better, but we ultimately have to accept that the “cultural phenomenon” of 50 Shades is here to stay. The one positive I get is the push for erotic romances to come to the forefront so that when I am sitting reading my Kindle or update my Goodreads page, there will be less snarky comments (hopefully) about the nature of what I’m reading.

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  21. Las
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 12:59:05

    @Patty: That’s an excellent analogy, though it pains me to admit that I’m at all like a hipster. A big part of me is still miffed that people who’ve mocked me for reading romance and erotic just love 50. I’ve given more than one stink-eye over that.

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  22. Anne
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 13:31:53

    Maybe I should say I’m terribly sorry to still be completely disgusted with 50 Shades of Grey. Truth be told I am not, nor am I happy it brought some people to read absolutely crappy prose which misrepresents BDSM and is stirrupholder to playing down abusive male and sexual behaviour.

    I’d rather these people had NOT read anything or stayed with magazines than walk around gushing about how naughty this BDSM thing is or discuss what Christian did to a used tampon. It’s a lot like stating I’d rather people ate healthier food than discover suddenly that fast food can be chewed and swallowed.

    The one thing 50 Shades shows – in my opinion and beyond doubt – is that the lowest current common denominator means the lowest possible quality in writing and a plot which is more cliched than all of TVtropes’ content poured into a bottle.

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  23. Shiloh Walker
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 14:34:40

    You summed up my feelings pretty well. I have no desire to read it, nor is that likely to ever change. But I know a whole lot of people are trying erotic romance and romance in general because of it…and that’s awesome.

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  24. Ren
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 14:48:16

    @Las: “As long as a person isn’t arguing that it’s well-written, rock on.”

    I saw in my Goodreads feed the other day that someone appreciated that the writing “wasn’t dumbed down.”

    I had to be resuscitated.

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  25. Jane Lovering
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 14:54:29

    Whilst I admit that I haven’t read, won’t read, FSOG, I will defend anyone’s right to read anything that they wish to read, and applaud the fact that they are reading at all.

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  26. Ridley
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 16:52:11

    I feel nothing for 50 Shades but apathy. I don’t care if people think it’s the best book ever, and I don’t care if they think it’s the worst. Whatever.

    What I do care about, and really, very strongly dislike, is the media’s obsession with the book. I’m sick to freaking death of hearing about it. It’s been months. Can we see other, new people yet? No more “what does the book’s popularity say about women/feminism/sexuality/tampons?” No more parody books. No more tongue-in-cheek celebrity readings. I just want to move on.

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  27. Liz Mc2
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 16:52:40

    As someone mentioned above, my greatest regret about the 50 phenom is the division it has caused in some parts of the romance community. It seems as if one can’t mention the books without offending someone. No doubt this post has done so. On the plus side, I have learned to be more careful not to express my dislike for a book in a way that is critical or dismissive of readers who enjoy it; I know *I’ve* offended some people, and I regret that.

    Publishing does need books like this, and I was wondering the other day what Vintage will do with the profits. When Harry Potter was at its peak, Raincoast, its Canadian publisher, launched a line of debut literary fiction by Canadian authors, books that otherwise might not have found a publisher. I thought that was a great use of the money. It’s obvious that there are loads of publishers and self-published authors willing to give us more erotica, erotic romance, “books” of all lengths with angsty dominant billionaires and naive young heroines, etc. None of that has been Vintage’s niche and I really hope they don’t decide to go there, since others have it covered. I hope they use the money to do more of what *they* have done best in the past. Because sometimes these days, I do feel like there’s only one story left.

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  28. kiahzoe
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 17:24:04

    In my head I liken this to the whole Bridges of Madison County phenomena. That drove me crazy at the time as well. It wasn’t fanfiction but it was lauded as the most romantic thing ever and because it was written by a man and had a bridge on the cover (and a less then happy-ever-after) it was treated with far more seriousness then any of the many romances I considered to be better written, more romantic, etc.

    And I agree with the hipster analogy. It is irksome to have people treat it as though it’s the first of it’s kind. But this too shall pass.

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  29. Mary Anne Graham
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 18:15:45

    I enjoyed the series as a whole but I wouldn’t have read past the first half of the first book if a co-worker hadn’t assured me of something that made me feel better. I couldn’t have read it if Ana had signed that contract.

    Based on personal experience I think that Fifty Shades has helped the sales of contemporary romance across the boards – including non erotica. I find that a very good thing!

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  30. Kat
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 19:54:39

    I wondered why we had a sudden influx of FSoG interest on the blog. :-) The post was sparked by my frustration with publishers and the media but what really got me thinking about why people love the book is a conversation I had with a colleague. She loved it and she reads across genres, and after that conversation it wasn’t enough for me to think that only non-readers/unsophisticated readers loved FSoG because, well, I was talking to someone who didn’t fit that assumption. (Plus, two of my co-bloggers liked it!)

    Also, my mum told me she’d read the trilogy and her verdict was that it was pure fantasy, not dissimilar to Mills & Boons and historical romances she’d read in the past, with just a little more sex. (‘And the writing does improve a little.’) She enjoys a variety of books and, again, she surprised me.

    Now if I can only get past chapter two…

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  31. Kat
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 19:56:28

    @Ridley: I don’t mind the media obsession so much. To an extent, I love that books are suddenly topical. But I do mind the lack of a genuine attempt to understand its appeal or the gap in the market that it perhaps (maybe?) has exposed.

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  32. Kristie (J)
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 21:36:52

    “And how frustrating it is for romance readers, in particular, who have read hundreds or even thousands of books that are better done and just the same before any one ever noticed 50 Shades? To some degree media (and even publishing marketing) treat the book as if no one had ever written anything sexy, agnsty, or romantic before.”

    This is a real biggie for me. Though I haven’t read the book and have no intentions of it based on reviews by other romance readers whose opinions I trust, the success of this book is frustrating in some basic reasons for me. For years it’s like if you read romance your taste is taken less seriously. It’s only in the past few years that I can say proudly that I read romance. Now this book has take the world by storm. Like you said, there are so many other better written books (I presume) and to those who are reading 50 Shades and enjoying it, I find it frustrating that a somewhat badly written book (I presume) is the one that wakes up the world. Hopefully enough people who loved this one will go on and discover the so much better written books we romance readers have experienced for years.

    If this book is legitimatizing romance, that’s a good thing. I just wish it had been with a better written (I presume) books

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  33. Selene
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 02:40:15

    I’m definitely not there yet. 50 shades just offends me, on so many levels. That the book is touted by some as being empowering for women boggles my mind. The fact that EL James is making a fortune off the book, while authors I love struggle to get new contracts, is frustrating in the extreme. And that’s aside from the fact that I find it morally wrong to make a profit off your fanfiction in this way. And, oh yes, now books that are far superior to 50 shades are marketed as being similar to it, as if it were something to strive for!

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  34. Critical Linking: August 8, 2012 | BOOK RIOT
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 05:01:42

    [...] say that 50 Shades makes romance fans uncomfortable is a bit of an [...]

  35. Ju Dimello
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 06:10:56

    I guess I’m trying not to allow the hype surrounding the book to detract me from reading a story…. Meaning, I want to be just a random “reader” than a writer while I curl up with a book and the same applies here as well.

    I wasn’t really interested in the logistics of the BDSM aspect or the portrayal of erotica when I picked the book. I wanted to go on a journey into a world of glitz and glamour, where I’ll escape from reality and for me, FSoG provided a pretty large serving, leaving me satisfied :) which was pretty much what I expect from a romance.

    I liked the characters and wanted to find out why Christian was like that…..and if Ana will take a chance on him. Is it the best book I’ve read..or if this book on my keeper shelf…I’m not sure, but it was fun while it lasted :) (Typical reader here, just waiting for my next fix hoping it’ll be better than my last)

    As an author, I’ll be lying if I say I didn’t / don’t feel green (about the monetary success of a debut release)…but I think it’s time to put on my big girl panties and focus on writing my next book, following the path I envisioned than being side-tracked by “random lotteries of instant success”.

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  36. Robin/Janet
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 11:09:43

    As a book, I find 50 wholly uninteresting. As fan fiction, I don’t think the ethical issues have been explored deeply enough within the mainstream Romance or publishing communities (and I am interested to see how readers who adore it will respond to other ethical issues surrounding the provenance of a book). As a cultural phenomenon, however, I do think it’s fascinating (although even I’m losing interest now), because of the way it has brought so many women out into the light to talk about the fact that they really do have sexual fantasies and are not afraid to admit it.

    Notwithstanding the ignorance that still accompanies a long history of female-penned erotica and anecdotal research by the likes of Nancy Friday and actual clinical research on rape fantasies, if 50 gets women more comfortable with the idea of claiming their own sexuality, then that will be a very good thing (also if it helps Romance transition out of the clinch cover = Romance tradition, I’ll be thrilled). I agree with Kat that the book’s popularity is largely related to its conservative treatment of sex, romance, and relationships, and what I really hope is that now that the door is open, we can, as a society, move forward into a less conservative place in regard to female sexuality and sexual agency (e.g. lack of shame, dismantling of rape culture, etc). That is going to take some deliberate work, IMO, but I definitely believe it can happen, and that 50′s popularity provides an opportunity for the process to gain some momentum.

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  37. Jenny Lyn
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 15:06:10

    @Jane: Please oh please, I beg you not to lump The Siren in with the dreck that is FSoG. There’s really no comparison between the two, other than the inclusion of BDSM. The Siren is a fantastic book (BDSM done right), and I do hope you’ll read and review it here.

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  38. Jane
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 15:11:27

    @Jenny Lyn: You’ll have to speak directly with Harlequin about the offensive lumping as I am not the one making the comparison. Nearly every piece of marketing material I received, both print and email, from Harlequin as it related to the Siren was pushing the 50 Shades comparison. My point was that it is not likely to appeal to the mainstream readers of 50 Shades and it is a mistake for Harlequin to market it as such.

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  39. Alicia
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 15:37:38

    If it was just about it being abusive and horrendously written I could get to the acceptance phase. Hell, I did with Twilight. Even found amusement in it.

    I just can’t get past it being fan fiction. I can’t get past people accepting publishing fan fiction as okay. I can’t get past that. It’s not okay and it causes me too much rage. I wouldn’t be okay with any fanfic being published, but especially not one so deeply tied to the source material. I agree with Robin completely that the ethical issues have not been explored enough by other authors who did their own work or publishers. Of course, money talks and this has resulted in Berkley shelling out seven figures for another misogynistic piece of crap Twilight fan fiction when I doubt the amazing original authors they publish – who I love – are getting that kind of pay day. And now I can’t stand the idea of giving Berkley any sort of money so I’m even more upset. I hate that all the good erotica writers who came up with their own characters and their own plotlines, who put full work into their books aren’t getting this kind of money and attention (good writers of any genre, really).

    I can’t stand people relating it to romance, because it isn’t. It reinforces stereotypes of the genre (and fan fiction…and BDSM) that I think everyone was hoping would fade into obscurity. It’s nice that some women are embracing their sexuality more now, I just wish it was over something positive and empowering, which this fic is not. I also don’t feel like the talk surrounding it has been all that positive, at least not in the media. There it has been demeaning and sensationalized. “GASP did you know women like SEX!” Odd they hadn’t figured that out earlier in the year when they were reporting heavily on the birth control issue and all women who use it being referred to as “sluts”. Even in the book world, how many articles have there been acting as if this was the first erotica that ever was? BDSM erotica is a new thing? They don’t even want to research the basics. I’m getting off track now, I could rant about all of this for a long time.

    I also strongly agree with Ridley’s second paragraph.

    Life would probably be better if I could let it go, if I could make peace with it, but I find that I just can’t. Any time I try I think I end up even more angry. (And now people are trying to ruin Matt Bomer with this!!)

    ReplyReply

  40. Evaine
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 15:44:56

    AMEN, Alicia!! AMEN!!!

    I’m a huge Bomer fan and I hate that he’s associated with this in any way, and now they’re bringing his sexuality into it? OY!! This damned trilogy of turgid tripe needs to go away NOW.

    Yeah, I’m a little ranty too.

    ReplyReply

  41. Jenny Lyn
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 08:05:31

    @Jane: That’s just very disappointing to hear that The Siren is being marketed as similar to Fifty. The similarities are only in the inclusion of BDSM, period. And I completely agree with you that they’re making a mistake in promoting the book that way.

    ReplyReply

  42. Jane
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 08:17:23

    @Jenny Lyn – I looked in my emails and I must have deleted all but this most recent one for an example.

    ReplyReply

  43. Jenny Lyn
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 08:50:19

    @Jane: At least Ms. Thomas’s quote is accurate, IMO. And I do still hope that DA will consider reviewing it.

    ReplyReply

  44. Pharmer
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 19:09:31

    I haven’t read it. After first few chapters , I did an eye roll and said “Oh dear” and stopped.
    However, going to the video store, I saw two middle aged women giggling by the new releases. As I approached, one turned to me – a complete stranger – and said “we’re discussing the book Fifty Shades of Grey”.
    Can you imagine? Two women – admitting to another women (me – a complete stranger) – an erotic book they’ve read. Never would have happened before.

    This is the part I love about it: Women are talking about erotic material with each other – as if it’s as commonplace as the weather or something.

    In my opinion, society recognizes that men are sexual beings. They have topless bars (Hooters) strip clubs, escorts services in the classifieds, even magazines at the gas station: Penthouse, Hustler , Playboy, etc. It’s all around us.

    But what do women have?
    After a hard day at work, can we stroll down to our local bar, take a pew on a stool and order a cocktail from a jockless bartender while we stare at his nuts?
    On the way home, can we pull into the gas station and while paying the bill, pick up a monthly Big Dick magazine displayed at the counter: “Ouch!” or “YOWZA!”

    FSOG as erotic fiction may make a lot of us cringe but its out there – on the TV, on the radio, in the junk mail – and even without reading the book, the message is clear to society: women are sexual beings.

    ReplyReply

  45. Anne
    Aug 10, 2012 @ 02:40:30

    Sometimes I wonder whether I did the parallel universes thing.

    I’ve always talked with all female friends and most acquaintances about erotic material. Not just books (Wetlands by Charlotte Roche for instance at least was well-written), no, down to discussing the best positions for orgasming or what to feed the husband to get the least obnoxious taste and that over afternoon tea or coffee, no less.

    I really really have a hard time with the current brouhaha. I never had the impression women didn’t talk about this. Please let me get back into my own ‘verse. Maybe FSoG isn’t in that one…

    ReplyReply

  46. New GoodReads Guidelines, ICED Teaser, Audiobook Releases, Pirates and More - Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
    Aug 10, 2012 @ 16:01:35

    [...] How I’m Learning to Live With and Love 50 Shades of Grey Publishing needs books like this. It makes a publishing house healthy and then they can take chances or bring us books that are less well known but deserve to be published. Authors need books like this. A book like 50 Shades is a book most authors say to themselves that they can write. The success of 50 Shades emboldens authors to keep writing. We readers need that.…via: dearauthor.com [...]

  47. Literary Link Love | The Feminist Texican [Reads]
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 15:08:30

    [...] at Dear Author has gone through the seven stages of grief over 50 Shades of Grey and has now reached acceptance. [...]

  48. Patty
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 09:27:21

    I haven’t read 50 shades, and don’t intend to. What I find interesting is how many of my friends have read the book, who wouldn’t normally read any sort of romance fiction. Because the media has blown this trilogy totally out of porportion people feel the need to see what all the hoopla is about. I asked one of my friends if it was well written cause I had read otherwise and she says,”Oh yes it has to be, cause its a best seller”!!!! Enough said just because everyone and their dog is reading this book does not make a great read. Its the SEX that is selling this book. It burns me the author is making so much money per week when other books that are so much better aren’t.
    It speaks alot about us as a society.

    ReplyReply

  49. Critical Linking: The Most Read Stories: August 6-11, 2012 | BOOK RIOT
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 17:57:00

    [...] say that 50 Shades makes romance fans uncomfortable is a bit of an [...]

  50. Fewer than 50 links about That Book | The Bone Island Book Blog
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 14:23:46

    [...] update — OK not really finally but this one from Dear Author was too good not to share. Like this:LikeOne blogger likes [...]

  51. Diana
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 13:35:05

    Thank you, that actuaully makes it bit easier to live with the fifty shades trilogy!

    ReplyReply

  52. The IN2G Show
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 08:42:18

    The IN2G show has reviewed Fifty Shades of Grey in a little video. Do you reckon it’s 50 Shades of porn? Our two Christian presenters have divided opinions…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRjoeHYA7jU&feature=youtu.be

    ReplyReply

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