Summer Reading: Part II (in which Carolyn Sakowski ponders “Fifty Shades of Grey”)

Today, Blair President Carolyn Sakowski shares her summer reading plans–and her reaction to E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey. Enjoy!

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Sum..Sum..Summertime. I was going to devote my summer reading to lofty literary fiction and the latest offerings from my favorite mystery/detective writers, but my plans suddenly changed course the first weekend in June.

I joined a group of five college friends for a beach reunion. We’re talking about women in their mid-60s here—all intelligent, voracious readers with enough disposable income to indulge in purchasing dozens of books every year.

Our usual conversations revolve around family and ailments, but this year, something new entered the discourse. Yep, the Fifty Shades trilogy. They all wanted to know what I thought about it. Of course, I was aware of the phenomena, but I had purposefully avoided reading the first book. I just couldn’t fathom any serous interest in reading about bondage and sex toys. I will admit that I like to read a good romance every now and then, but this just sounded too trashy.

The first afternoon of our weekend, while my friends took their naps, I picked up the first book someone else had been reading. Several hours later, we were all down at Pelican Bookstore getting our fixes. I had to get my own copy to take home; one person had just finished book two and had to have the third. We were all disgusted with our reactions to this trilogy, but were certainly not alone. Neilsen BookScan numbers show 815,000 copies of this trilogy sold during the week of May 21-27. They accounted for 13% of all trade paperbacks sold that week. Total sales topped 10 million that same week. Will sociologists look back on the spring and summer of 2012 and analyze why so many women went crazy? I especially loved what one of my hairdresser’s clients said when asked if her sex life had improved after reading these books. She answered that after you read these books, you won’t need a man—just get a dog.

What do you think? Have YOU read–or do you plan to read–Fifty Shades of Grey?

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For a good chuckle, check out this clip about the books from Saturday Night Live or this clip of Gilbert Gottfried reading excerpts (fair warning: these clips are NOT safe for work–much like Fifty Shades of Grey).


4 thoughts on “Summer Reading: Part II (in which Carolyn Sakowski ponders “Fifty Shades of Grey”)

  1. What did you think about the writing itself? Every writer I know that has read them had horrible things to say about it. Every non-writer seems to love it.

  2. The writing is very clunky and could have used a good editor. But the pace is fast, and the characters are well-defined. An escape read, and ephemeral at best.

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