Fifty shades of red

We regularly see phenomenon books rise from the pack, books which suddenly everyone wants to read; The Harry Potter series, The Da Vinci Code, the Twilight series, and now it is 50 Shades of Grey. While often these phenomenon books tend to be genre, what sets this recent tome apart from the rest is the saucy nature of its genre; er0tica.

When I first saw it advertised in Target and K-mart I assumed it was another YA paranormal romance, and due to its obvious popularity put it on my list of books to read. Then I saw some reviews and at last I read some excerpts… This was not a YA paranormal romance!

Suddenly I noticed my boss was reading it, my work colleagues, even mousy looking people were reading it on the bus! ON THE BUS! And no-one batted an eyelid. I wonder if I pulled out the old 70s Joy of $ex book that my parents thought they had hidden on the top shelf, if people would find it as unremarkable? Believe me, I don’t mind that people are reading it, I just find it peculiar that they would do so on the bus. I see them reading it and I blush on their behalf.  

It is great to see liberation of the masses at work, I just hope it doesn’t extend to the guy I sit next to on the bus who watches bad US comedies on his iPhone. Maybe he’ll get it into his head that anything goes now. Then again, if he changes his viewing habits maybe the seat next to him will no longer be free by the time the bus gets to my stop 😉

2 thoughts on “Fifty shades of red”

  1. At the risk of sounding like a book snob, I would have to say that I don’t consider any of the books you’ve listed as being examples of great writing. Don’t get me wrong, I think anything that gets people reading is good, and I’m only a tiny bit jealous of those author’s success, yet it makes it really hard to understand what makes them so popular? Maybe it is the fact they are written to be easily digestible by the masses, though that doesn’t quite explain what has elevated them above any of the other books written in the same way.

  2. I agree with you with your view on those novels (except the early Harry Potter books -I loved those), but that is the really strange thing about the phenomenon books -there is no rhyme or reason behind their success. For every one you could find another book written better and released before it that fades into obscurity, leaving the author to keep toiling in their day job and robbing the world of future, wonderful books. But maybe that’s a topic for another post…

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