Book Buzz: Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty-Shades book cover
BooksDigital 9 Comments

Last time we talked about books, we were wrapped up in historical novels, enjoying the intellectual stimulation you get from learning some history and enjoying a great story all at the same time. Well, today we have something a little bit different in regard to genre. We’re talking about what everyone seems to be talking about… the hot, new, erotica (or “adult” romance) series, Fifty Shades of Grey, by first time author E L James. If you haven’t heard of Fifty Shades of Grey yet, you surely will. This sleeper series has been quietly heating things up in bedrooms all around the country. In a matter of months, the books have developed something of a cult like following. Since its release, the books have shot up every bestseller list and just this past week, Universal Pictures acquired the movie rights for reportedly more than $5 million.

E.L. James Random House UKAuthor E L James is a TV executive, wife, and mother of two based in West London. She originally wrote these stories as Twilight fan fiction (stories written by fans inspired by the original work), and released the chapters one-by-one online. Fan fiction is rarely professionally published, but the viral success of this series caught the attention of the publishing industry and was quickly snapped up by Knopf/Vintage, a division of Random House. Primarily sold as an e-book, a paperback version with a 750,000 print release is expected out next month.

The wild fire success of these books is definitely a sign of the times, and is being attributed directly to social media and bloggers who have been sharing recommendations and excerpts with followers and readers. This success hasn’t gone unnoticed by the critics either, and has many of them scratching their heads wondering why so many women are falling for this book. The dominant and submissive roles depicted in the series have also created somewhat of an eruption of opinions from the likes of comparative literature experts and women’s studies professors, all trying to come up with a thesis for how and why successful, modern women are turning to this genre in droves. We’re not clouded by the complex narrative of gender politics the experts are trying so hard to present, we think it’s much simpler than all of that.

Fifty is a great romantic story about two opposites learning and trying to meet in the middle. It’s a traditional love story with an x-rated twist. The overall appeal for us comes from the sexual tension created by James between the two main characters, Anastasia Steele, a student who works at a local hardware store, and Christian Grey, a self-made billionaire who seduces innocent Anastasia into the world of BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism). Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying this is essential reading or some kind of literary masterpiece, in fact there are many times where the text falls short on style and the overall continuity is amiss, but then again, we aren’t checking it out for its finessed prose, we’ll pick up some Shakespeare for that.

What we love about all the jibber jabber surrounding these books is that it seems to have removed some of the taboo traditionally associated with this genre, making it easier for us to admit that we have become hooked! After reading the Fifty series, all three books in three days, you may even say that some of us are a little addicted, but that’s okay. These books are entertaining and sexy and our fascination is nothing to be ashamed of. In full disclosure, we have devoured a number of other titles in the same genre.

Stack of booksHere’s our complete reading list… so far!

Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire
and Thoughtless, S.C. Stephens
Hearts in Darkness
, Laura Kaye
, Megan Hart
The Vincent Boys
, Abbi Glines
Shades of Gray
, Kim Sanders



  • Ellie

    Why does it still shock so many people that women love to read about a good, sexy romance? It has nothing to do with dominance and/or submission. It’s the romance and SEX that make the books exciting.

  • SuzieQ

    I just saw a local TV news report about this series… they interviewed a bunch of women (all different ages… looked like 30s – 60s), who read these books and claimed Fifty Shades of Grey single handedly helped bring passion back to thier lifeless marriages and saved them. Buying a book is a lot more affordable than marriage counseling, so good for them!

  • JA

    WHAT THAT HELL IS IN THESE PAGES???????????????????? Curiosity fully piqued… now I have to read the books.

    • Chrissy

      That was exactly what I was wondering. Glad I was curious enough tobuy the book to find out what the fuss was all about!

  • KT

    Amazing how different men and women are when it comes to this subject. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say men are not really reading these… and that they are more visual creatures.

    • Bia

      KT, actually my hubby was so intrigued with the whole plot (since I HAD to talk to someone live about the series last guy), that he got really interested and it’s now reading. He said:” If every guy took the time to read some of these, they would know what their wife/girlfriend likes, and what she doesn’t like, and I like knowing what’s sexy for YOU in me!”.awwww…. Well hubby….agreed!..:)

  • Thia

    LOVE these books. But, I wish the critics would stop calling them “mommy porn”, since when do you need to be a mom to enjoy a hot fantasy read?

    • Bia

      This…I’m with you!!! Grrrrr..ignorant people…this is actually a romance, but men can’t or won’t understand that “The chase” of love/sex, and the sexual tension in these books are what WE, women, love it. We don’t really need “the explicit” version like they do..with us is all about the romance, the sex, the love…the drama…hehe

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