Let's talk about this book for a minute.
As you may know, I'm an author myself, and have an unquenchable thirst for the written word. Any story that's competently told is worth a look in my book. It doesn't matter if it's The Great Gatsby or Twilight, if I have time, I'll check it out. (See my Goodreads ratings here.) As critical and dismissive as I am with movies - balls on Michael Bay, btw - you'll never hear me slag a novel.
Especially since actual, corporeal books, printed on thin slices of dead trees, have been losing their hold on culture. Likely, if you even bother to read a novel, you do it on a device. Or you just see the movie. And play Candy Crush on your phone during the talky bits. All that said, Fifty Shades of Grey has sold 100,000,000 copies - an astounding number, the equivalent of a movie making $1 billion at the box office. Originally self-published, it's grown an army of followers, mostly women, who have devoured every word.
Everyone is reading it.
Have you? Have you leafed through a copy? Have you seen the particular arrangement and usage of its precise collection of words? They're quite arousing to some eyes. To others, the less open and far more judgmental eyes, Fifty Shades of Grey is straight-up porn. The stuff of Penthouse letters.
I was in Target just now, perusing the books. I like to give books for Christmas. Even if they'll never get read, books might sit in a bathroom and give off a slightly arty air. You know, to balance out the poop smell. Anyway, I saw this book and leafed through it. These are the first words I read ...
I shouldn't come. I was matching him thrust for thrust -
... and I shut the book and thought, "If this was a movie, or an Xbox game, it would never, ever be on Target's shelves."
But it's a book, and no one reads them anymore, and anything at long as this post (or longer) is so boring and a waste of time when I could be playing Candy Crush, and banning Catcher in the Rye seems so long ago, like the stuff of black and white legends that your grandparents went on about, and Target is a big corporation which likes money, and books bring about a 50% markup for retailers, so there it is on the shelf. Seven copies of it, and of its two sequels. Barely five feet away from a book by Glenn Beck.
Isn't that the most awesome thing. Isn't, as the Sean Hannitys of the world love to point out, America just the greatest? Free market meets constitutional freedoms, so a steamy porn-lite novel sits on a shelf within sight of the toy section.
I bought two copies. One each for a couple of women I know. One will openly admit to reading it. The other will not, and probably burn it just before dying so her family doesn't discover it amongst her estate and make shocking gasps. But both are guaranteed to have a strong emotional reaction, and enjoy the visceral experience of reading it.
And that's what books are about. And the best sort of Xmas present there is!