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Our Crack Snapper

fifty-shades-of-grey.jpg Snapper “Rather than the loneliness of the long distance tweeter, Fifty Shades of Grey seems to prove we want to break out of our digital cells and talk about books”
 

I’m not sure what this tells us about readers in general, or Fifty Shades of Grey readers in particular but it seemed to suggest that our much shattered society (thank you Margaret Thatcher) still craves communal experience. Thousands and thousands of years ago ‘we’ would crouch around a roaring fire and tell each other stories, in 2012 it seems ‘we’ read Fifty Shades of Grey and then talk about it on public transport, by hotel swimming pools or over water-coolers. Much derided in these digital days the communality provided by a real book is refreshing and very much against trend. Rather than the loneliness of the long distance tweeter, Fifty Shades of Grey seems to prove we want to break out of our digital cells and talk about books. And unlike other books it’s not hidden in a bag, it is out and proud, a book to be seen with and, hey, if Kristen Stewart is seen with it, you want to be seen with it, right? I can’t remember the last time this happened. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time come to mind but nowhere on the same scale as this. Those books never surfed the zeitgeist or ruffled the sheets in quite the same way. Possibly because neither were about, ahem, sex. In a Facebook straw poll conducted with various women friends the initial comment among those who’d read it was that it was ‘mummy porn’ or that the sexy bits were “hot”. That said, the cold bits were generally considered terrible. No one seemed to dispute that Fifty Shades of Grey was terribly written, but that didn’t seem to put anyone off. However my poll also revealed there was also a strong feeling against the book too. Some of my friends made it plain they would never read it. Not through reasons of prudery, but because it just seemed over hyped and hopelessly trashy. Which brings me back to the hype. The way it has wheedled its way into every supermarket and book stand, which, with the subtlety only the advertising industry can arrange, seems to ask of every consumer that moves within its orbit: why aren’t you picking me up and taking me home tonight? So much for the phenomena: what do I think of Fifty Shades of Grey? Sorry, fellow readers, I’m too busy reading Emily Maguire, Joanna Briscoe, and Diane Di Prima to bother with Erica James. If that makes me a literary porn snob then so be it.