questionswhat is the deal with 50 shades of gray?

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Wiki is a good place to get the background on this book. Yes, it started as Twilight fan fiction, which is probably why I haven't been particularly moved to read it.

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It's laughably bad "porn," especially if read aloud. It's like some horrible mash up of "Letters to Penthouse Forum" and a kinky Creative Writing 101 "compose a bodice-ripper/hysterical romance novel" assignment. Borrow a copy if you want to read it, but for goodness sake, don't encourage bad writing like this by actually paying for it. It's like tits on a boar hog-- it's pretty worthless when you come down to it.

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First of all, I did not pay to read this book. I would be SO pissed if I had. This book was all over the fanfic websites as a Twilight mashup and is readily available on the internet if you know where to look. I am proud to say that I'm one of the 1,751 people (and counting) to give this horribly written book 1 star on Amazon.

It's not mommy porn. That would be the domain of publishers such as Siren and Ellora's Cave. This book is not even erotica. It's the story of a tortured man who has rules against being touched due to a traumatic childhood and being the victim of a pedophile as a teenager..so he uses BDSM (handcuffs, ropes etc ) to make sure the women don't touch him. Also? The women all have to resemble his dead mother. Ugh. If you still want to read it after reading what I just wrote, more power to you.

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The idea is that millions of Americans correctly assume that it is in their best interest to read a book on occasion, but incorrectly assume that all books are created equal in this regard, and as a result we have over the past decade and a half moved from people reading Oprah's Book Club books, to mediocre genre fiction, to young adult fiction, to increasingly worse young adult fiction, to our current state of affairs, bland and derivative erotic fan-fiction. The dreams of thousands of my contemporaries from 1997, furiously writing the latest installment of their Spock/Han Solo/George Costanza slash fiction have been simultaneously validated and utterly destroyed in one fell swoop, and we are all now free falling down The Abyss of Unculture.

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this book would never have had the number of readers were it not for electronic reading devices. They can be sitting out in public, and no one knows what they are reading. How many of those same women would read this book if it had the name in 2-inch bold letters across the back where everyone could see what they were reading.

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Read a sample of it after hearing how "sexy" it was. Thought the writing was very childish and could not understand all the hoopla.

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I heard the writing was terrible and downloaded a sample at the encouragement of a friend. If the sample is supposed to make you want to buy the whole thing, then it didn't work for me. The writing is on par with Twilight, maybe a little worse, and the premise is about equally plausible.

kamikazeken is right, there's no way the book would be so popular without e-readers.

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@lavikinga: And the kink itself is seriously unrealistic, which I guess is in keeping with the level of writing. Overall, I'd give it a D+, at very best.

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@kamikazeken: I have a lovely (albeit old) ultrasuede book jacket I sewed just for that very purpose; I'm not interested in giving anyone with eyes an insight into what I'm reading, if for no other reason than I want to read it, not talk about it with strangers.

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It was originally released as an e-book, which allowed soccer moms who would normally be too embarrassed to read such a book to conceal what they were reading. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/10/business/media/an-erotic-novel-50-shades-of-grey-goes-viral-with-women.html?pagewanted=all

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@magic cave: The cover is a great idea! I periodically re-read some of the old books I grew up with as a girl. I know I shouldn't be embarrassed with a copy of "Little Women" or some other childhood classic, but people can be such Judgy McJudgersons. Sometimes I just need a bit of innocent nostalgia in my world.

Hmmm, I wonder where I've stashed my Nancy Drew & Judy Bolton books?