Oh, oh, oh, I almost forgot! How could I forget?
I read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy over the summer. For those of you who have not heard of this phenomenon, Fifty Shades of Grey is the first book in a trilogy that has singled-handedly made the "BDSM erotic" subgenre the latest hot, hot, hot publishing category. The author of the books, E.L. James, is a British woman who is now quite wealthy (and good on her, I say).
These books started life as Twilight fan fiction, but James reworked the story, making her set of lovers slightly older than the Twilight protagonists and by taking out the vampire stuff. So what you're left with is a woman in her early twenties, Anastasia Steele, and the slightly older, mysterious, and handsome millionaire Christian Grey, who, it turns out, has some serious issues stemming from his hard-knock childhood (being raised by his crack-whore mother--his phrase, not mine--and her pimp). When not making millions and looking hot, Christian busies himself looking for "submissives"--partners who will indulge him in his BDSM (BDSM stands for bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and masochism) lifestyle and needs.
A complete plot synopsis can be had elsewhere, but of course I couldn't read these books and not comment on them. I'll say this: there's naughty bits about every two pages, so you don't have to bother with a lot of plot, if that's what you like in your erotica. The other hilarious thing about these books is how they are COMPLETE fantasy, and I emphatically don't mean the naughty bits. Throughout the three books, Ana and Christian do very little besides make out, worry about if they've upset the other person (mainly Ana worrying about upsetting Christian, which does get a little old), drive, fly, and otherwise travel around; buy and wear expensive clothes to a variety of fabulous functions; and oh yeah, every now and then meet up with friends for wine (again, this is Ana). Periodically Ana goes to her job at a publishing house (and I do mean periodically--it takes time to be the girlfriend of a millionaire who wants you to be submissive, after all), where she starts out as some sort of assistant to an editor and (SPOILER ALERT) eventually ends up running the company.**
Christian also takes care of making sure Ana eats (she tends not to when she's stressed), buys her closets full of clothes, and has a doctor that makes house calls for her to get her birth control shots (oh, and he also has a lovely housekeeper/cook who waits on her as well). Like I said: complete and utter fantasy. I know at least partly why women are loving these books, and it's not all the sexy bits. Who doesn't fantasize about having all the demands of real life (work, housework, family bullshit, doctor visits, etc.) effortlessly met? All WHILE having a lot of mind-blowing sex?
I really, really, REALLY enjoyed the books. But, I'll admit, more for the good laugh than for the titillation. And if you want to continue your good time, ask every woman you know if they've read these books. I spent all summer asking this question...and every woman I met had! It's unbelievable. And all a lot of fun. (For the best time of all, watch the 3 Grannies review on YouTube. It is emphatically not suitable for work, but it is hilarious, and one of the grannies refers to women in their 30s as "young women," which made me very happy.)
*And this is a line from The Simpsons, when an old lady who employs Bart for housework tells him not to interrupt her while she's "watching her stories." As she settles in to watch her soaps in her rocking chair, she says, "Filthy...but genuinely arousing!"
**Now that's the kind of job I need! Show up a few hours a week, and then be put in charge.