The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy has already spanked the competition by whipping up 125 million copies sold. The movie version brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, collaring an ever-growing legion of fans and curiosity-seekers. E.L. James could retire, but she’s coming back for more with a fourth book that’s expected to have a climax that will, well, bring you to climax. The new edition will tell the side of Christian Grey, moving the book’s perspective away from the young and beautiful Anastasia Steele.
The news surprised people in that the book was announced with just two weeks advance notice. Some publishers have a long coronation for a big title, spending six months or a year building up suspense. No advance review copies were shared with book review trades or bloggers. Does this mean the book’s a dog or the publisher, Vintage Books, just wants to cash in on the book’s fame before word-of-mouth discourages people? Maybe, or perhaps it’s the element of surprise that makes people realize why they enjoy being voyeurs to an amazing portrayal of sexual liberation, experimentation, and power. Or was it degradation, violence, and insanity? I guess it depends on your perspective.
Now, we’ll hear what the spoiled rich-boy stud has to say about why he can only get off when someone suffers unbearable pain. Like all stories, there are two sides. He said, she said will be a good approach to the controversial series that has unleashed new bedroom antics for Americans. We won’t have to wait long, as the novels release is timed to hit the same week as another long-waited sequel debuts – To Kill A Watchman.
Erotica has been an overheated genre since the works of James surfaced in 2011. The thing that surprised me about the books was that they were (a) written by a woman and (b) enjoyed by both men and women – each for different reasons.
Sure they aren’t master works of writing but they do serve a purpose. They do grip us in a way that touches our minds and body. The animalistic part of us can enjoy something sexual and arousing, and the moralistic side of us can judge and question whether the actions taken seem appropriate. The books cross many lines. For the man, his actions would otherwise border on criminal if it weren’t for her consent. For the woman, she gives into curiosity, desire, and even love, to allow someone to do both something so pleasurable and so cruel to her.
Perhaps the only book of this genre to rival James’ series in the last 50-60 years is The Story of O. Both have to do with coming of age stories for sexually exploring women, and both imply there is a reward associated with pain and abuse. These books test our limits on a number of levels. No one could have imagined 50 Shades would normalize a behavior that our country would embrace; it's become more mainstream than oddity. Perhaps the book serves less to introduce and more to coronate the ideas it presents. Really nothing is new in her books that people didn’t already practice or know about. But these books made it okay to talk about, to even encourage, and to publicly accept behavior that for years was privately embraced by growing legions of people.
I look forward to reading the fourth book. It would be great if everyone reads it and continues to chip way at all the things that are seen as weird, taboo, or different. The 1960s of free love and experimentation may be over, but the best thing we can do is encourage people to express and live out whatever fate their sexuality holds for them. There should not be any expected roles or limitations, provided people use common sense, safety, gain consent, and treat each other with compassion. Sex and love come in many forms – and erotic books do as well.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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