Unless you live in a bubble, you will undoubtedly have heard about the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon that took the publishing/bookseller/library world by storm this year (of course you may even be among one of the millions of people who read the book!). And if you’re a by-the-numbers kind of person, check out this article from Business Insider for the 50 Shades stats – it’s quite mind blowing.
Although the fire has somewhat burned out on this particular piece of erotic fiction, it got me thinking that there is obviously a large market for this type of read – and as librarians, we don’t care what you read, just as long as you’re reading! According to an article in the Daily Mail, erotic fiction has received 4000% more searches than the Man Booker Prize shortlist on UK’s play.com. As a previous women’s studies student, I’m curious as to the appeal of this type of literature. After doing some trolling on the internet I found an article in the Telegraph written by the former editor of The Erotic Review magazine who writes “in a sex-saturated world, where every perversion can be accessed in the click of a computer mouse and many people feel jaded… countless women are taking refuge in a fantasy characterised by romantic purity.” I suppose this makes perfect sense – many people read for escapism from everyday life and books like 50 Shades and other “mommy porn” serve just that purpose for many women (I don’t know how many men have picked up a copy!).
If you got caught up in the Anastasia/Christian Grey love affair, check out this list of other steamy books available at GPL you might be interested in:
And with the mass popularity of anything in our modern world comes the parodies and 50 Shades has not been spared. Check out Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin or Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook by E. L. Fowler. From what I’ve heard, they are entertaining in their own right!