Saturday, February 8, 2014

In the name of research, I have done the unthinkable!

For a long, long, long time I have thumbed my nose at a certain series of books. Not because I'm a book snob, but because I've heard toooooooooooo many bad things about it! What series am I talking about?


I'm not a prude. I have no problem reading erotica....provided the story is more than just sex. Tiffany Reisz's Original Sinners series is great. I read the first two books in that series, The Siren and  The Angel. There is a lot of sex in those books, but I didn't find them to be gratuitous. There is a lot of substance in addition to the sex in the Original Sinners series. I fear that the sex scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James are gratuitous. Why? Bad reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. And the top reason for me not reading this series.............


A year and a half ago, actresses Kathleen Turner, left, and Jennifer Tilly were guests on Watch What What Happens Live (Watch Watch What Happens Live Season 6 | Autobiography or Autoerotically?). If you watch that show regularly, you know that host Andy Cohen has his guests play wacky games. The game on this particular episode had Turner and Tilly reading allegedly "erotic" passages and they had to guess where they came from. This whole episode is hilarious, if you have time do a Google search and you can probably find the whole episode. But the point of this little tale is that Jennifer Tilly and Kathleen Turner both trashed this book upon learning where the passage came from. Their lack of endorsement was enough for me to continue thumbing my nose at Fifty Shades of Grey!!

So why am I changing my mind now? I'm two semesters away (knock wood!) from getting my Masters degree in book publishing. One of the classes I'm currently in is all about romance novels. If I'm going to succeed in book publishing, I need to have an understanding of different genres and markets. I do read some romance books. I'm a big fan of Kristan Higgins, Robyn Carr, and Susan Mallery. But those authors are just a small piece of a rather big pie. Nora Roberts is one of the queens of the romance market and I'm just now starting to read her books.

No class on romance is complete without discussing E L James. While browsing the bookstore, I have read a few sentences of the first book and all I could think was.....


I don't have hope for the book as a whole. To understand why publishers are snapping up books like Fifty Shades of Grey, you have to read the book. To understand why a book series resulted in all Random House (now Penguin Random House) employees getting a $5,000 bonus, you have to read it. To understand why a book series has sold 40 million copies and counting, you have to read it. But I REFUSE to be caught in public with a physical copy of ANY of the books! I have finally realized that because of books like Fifty Shades of Grey, e-readers are a GIFT from God! I'm not going to read the book right away, but I will once I get over the SHOCK of paying actual money for it!

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