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01 July 2012

'Fifty Shades of Grey' 'Fifty Shades Darker' by E L James

The perfect Summer read; light, easy on the brain and so naughty

I could write about 'The Secret Garden', one of my favorite Summer books, which I just finished rereading.  I could write about 'Mistress of the House: Great Ladies and Grand Houses 1670-1830', which is empowering as well as instructive and entertaining; I've also been reading it this week.  But, truth be told, what I must admit to reading, because they're so often on my mind, are the first two books of the trilogy by E L James.

They are indeed the perfect Summer read; light, easy on the brain and so naughty.  And if your curiosity and stamina leans that way, also very instructive.  I have gifted this trilogy twice this Summer.  I have not managed to read the third book myself because someone close to me ( I won't mention names in order to protect the not so innocent) got to it first.  But what followed the reading of these books were some interesting conversations, questions and dare I say it, ... flirting requests.  My own thoughts and comments I will not elaborate further because in truth you should read the books yourself and have some thoughts of your own; with luck also some action.  In fact give it to your significant other and promise a prize if he or she completes it.  And yes, there will be a test.

The thing about erotic (for lack of a better word) literature, at least for women, is that they are not instruction manuals but a source of inspiration.  Pornography, by definition, is so explicit it takes away all kinds of imagination.  I consider this book erotic, some may consider this book more.  How do I draw the line? I use a rule I read in 'Afrodita' by Isabel Allende...

"Erotic is when you use a feather, pornography is when you use a chicken."  Or something like that.

What this book, in spite of its clich├ęd premise, does so well is to entertain both sexes.  There is enough description of the lady in suggestive or explicit positions to satisfy most men.  For the ladies, on the other hand, there are descriptions that excite our other senses.  The protagonist is constantly describing the wonderful smell of her lover or the way his skin feels.  I can personally relate.  I cut off relationships when young because my nose simply said no.  As for what skin feels like, or the rough chin of an unshaved man, well, you see where I am headed.

In short, I was interested and kept interested by my own senses.  The book made me curious about how to explore my own relationship further.  Then, earlier this week, I picked up an old issue of 'Time' magazine in my gynecologist's waiting room.  It had an article about these three books and their legion of fans.  It seems I am not the only long married woman who wished to 'proactively' explore her sex life after reading these books.  The article said that the author herself refuses to discuss her own sex life (good for her, why should she?) and is rather shocked at how explicit women who come to book signings can be.  Ok, so I get to meet my literary hero and I start gushing about all my new found joy... my issue is, do I want to have all the strangers waiting in line behind me listening in and perhaps nodding vigorously as I speak?  Worse yet, making some suggestions?  Em... no.  Not really.  It struck me as funny as I was at the gyno's office anyway.

Not to change the topic too much but I've been thinking of something else.  The writer is British and she lives somewhere around London, or so we are told on the jacket.  So, isn't it strange that she set her book in America?  The land of the free? Presumably? or freer than the British?  It puts me in mind of the film 'Love, Actually'.  In the extras of the dvd the writer/director talks about one of  the characters who has been silently in love with a co-worker for three years.  This, (British) writer decided that no sane woman could stick to unrequited love with an Englishman for three years.  So they got a gorgeous foreigner to be the object of love and desire.  The director told this story and laughed.  Now I wonder if E L James thought of Richard Branson, even for just an unconscious moment, and promptly moved her rich hunk to America.

Anyway, go read the book, enjoy yourself and do go shopping to some of those tasteful, discreet shops that have popped up on the internet.

E L James
ISBN: 9780099579939


  1. Anonymous10:16

    hi miriam,
    as a man, i guess i wonder if i am qualified to comment this time. but hopefully at my age i have learned a little about the differences in men and women, and erotic literature and pronography. i guess i prefer a little more "detail" in erotic literature. i also think erotic literature has positive aspect similar to real life. the best erotic times of your life are with someone to whom you are emotionally connected.

  2. Why aren't you qualified to comment. Presumably men have sex too... and often with women. But I agree with the emotional connection. The fun of erotic literature is that you can still fantasize about the sexy stranger but put your ideas to work with someone you trust.

  3. Anonymous09:10

    is any man really qualified to discuss women or women's erotica? i still have a lot to learn. but i do believe a 50 shades or semi stranger experience can change your life.