I will admit it, I recently finished the entire 50 Shades Trilogy. Come on, tell me you haven't read them all too!?!
To be honest, I think the hype is absurd. This is not porn for heaven sakes! It's actually a love story, although a complete fantasy one for sure.
I think the appeal for most women is not the kinky sex scenes (which become more 'vanilla' in the later books), but the romance between Christian and Ana. Many women will admit to, at least at some point in their life, having that desire to tame a 'bad boy'. Why? Because many of us believe that this is the ultimate measure of our worth. Awful, but true. Luckily, I grew out of this, and I hope most other women do too.
In any case, the other piece of it is simply the desire that we all have, men and women, to be desired, coveted and worshipped. Oh, and a hot looking billionnaire with seemingly endless power and influence is a key part of the equation too! Heck, the guy buys her fancy cars, the most expensive jewellery and clothes, and a company to run (!). And don't forget the private jet, helicopter, house in Aspen and team of employees to cater to their every need. Um, frankly, all that's probably a lot more exciting than any S&M!
These books are not fine literature, but they are entertaining and easy to read. My favorite parts were the email exchanges between Christian and Ana, which often had some very witty repartee.
What is so laughable about it all though, is that he is 27 and she is 22! No wonder they are having such crazy sex, they're practically teenagers!! I'd like to read a sequel of what happens in 15 years once their hormones settle down and they are dealing with the trials and tribulations of parenthood. Of course, even then it will be fantasy because they will still have a whole team of employees catering to their every whim.
Oh funny story: After reading the first book, I decided to pick up the other 2 on a recent trip to Costco. When we were waiting in line at the check-out, Little A grabbed one out of the cart and started flipping through it. A woman in the next line, with 2 small kids in tow, looked at me sternly and said, "Good thing those aren't picture books." I laughed, but then found she wasn't smiling at me. "Is she judging me?" I asked Adam. He shrugged. Sheesh! She's 3, it's not like she can read, and no, they don't have any illustrations! Anyways...
A few more high-brow books I've enjoyed recently are the following:
The Paris Wife, about Ernest Hemmingway's first wife. I loved this book, it is absolutely wonderful! It had me Wikipedia-ing as much info as I could find about the folks in this novel. I highly recommend it.
Foursome is not another kinky sex book. It is actually very PG. The focus is on relationships. I enjoyed this novel a lot, partially because the protagonist is so flawed, but ultimately likeable. The one thing that bothered me is how one of the other character's eating disorder - a serious mental illness - was trivialized as if it is just a personality quirk. But that's the therapist in me, I guess.
I am now reading New York, which I am loving. Just like Rutherford's book, London, which I loved, it weaves historical facts and real figures into a provocative novel. If you enjoy reading history and have patience (both these books are loooooooooooong reads), you will enjoy these.