Patch Book Club: 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Discussed this week: The first of the trilogy by E.L. James which became a reading phenomenon over the summer.

We're big readers here at Patch, and in that light, we thought it would be a good idea to get a discussion going on what books we editors and our readers are reading lately. 

But the discussion only begins with us. If you've read this week's highlighted book, let us know what you thought of it, and suggest other books for future discussion.

This week, we take a look at a book that has caused quite a stir this summer, both in the U.S. and worldwide - "Fifty Shades of Grey" by British author E.L. James.

First, a little information on the publishing phenomenon that is "Fifty Shades":  The erotic novels of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy currently occupy the top three spots on The New York Times' list of best-selling print and e-book fiction, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. The series has been cited by major book stores as the reason for revenue increases in the last quarter, burned in protest by womens groups and lamented by famous authors. Fans, however, remain enthusiastic, and gained a new outlet for their obsession when in July, Universal Pictures announced a film version is in the works.

Now, if the word "erotic" makes you uncomfortable, hold on to your hat. Or simply skip to the next item on your reading list.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is the story of Anastasia Steele, a slightly awkward and naive young woman who as the story begins is a literature student at a college in Washington. Steele is hijacked by her best friend and roommate to help with an interview for the school newspaper - an interview of Christian Grey, the unbelievably handsome, unbelievably rich and unbelievably young CEO of Grey Enterprises. They meet, the sparks fly and Grey begins to pursue her. It's what young girls everywhere dream of, right?

Wrong. The complication is that Grey's only "relationships" are dominant and submissive - a world of BDSM (sexual preferences that include bondage, discipline, dominant, submissive, sadistic, or masochistic acts) that the inexperienced Steele knows absolutely nothing about.

The book follows their romance, as Steele attempts to balance her love of Grey with caution against his lifestyle, and Grey struggles to give her the relationship she really wants. And, as the genre "erotic novel" suggests, along the way there are some rather descriptive bedroom scenes - descriptive enough that in the author's native U.K. the books have earned the title "Mummy porn."

Have you read this book, or any of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy? What were your thoughts?

Let us know what other books you'd like to discuss for a chance to be involved in next week's Book Club discussion.


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