Unless you live under a rock -- a huge, crushing, sexless rock -- you've probably read ad nauseam about Fifty Shades of Grey.
You know you want to read it. It's human nature. And you're probably destined to give into to the mix of sex, peer pressure, and voyeuristic curiosity eventually. We admit, it's not the next piece of classic literature, but it is the fastest selling paperback of all time (take that Harry Potter series) and has already sold 31 million copies worldwide.
If you're going to read a kinda-shitty novel at the beach this year, it may as well be the most popular one of all time. Of course, you'll want to indulge without actually having to suffer any judgment.
Let us help with that.
Fifty Shades has come a long way from it roots as Twilight fan fiction. And even though people still insist it's nothing more than "Mommy porn," one British hotelier is so convinced that people need their Fifty-Shades-fix, he's swapped it out for the Gideon Bible usually found in hotel nightstands.
Author E L James asked people to stop calling the book "mommy porn," saying, "I think it is disparaging. It's actually quite misogynistic. Women like sex. If it's done well, it's really quite good fun."
So if you're game for some 370 pages, buckle up and be sure consider the options below:
We'll point out the obvious fact that if you read the book on your favorite electronic device, no one else can tell. With Kindles and Nooks and iBooks, you can literally enjoy your Fifty Shades on just about anything with a screen. The guy six inches away from you on the light rail won't know a thing. It will also save you and the cashier and Barnes and Noble from a potentially awkward interaction.
Same as above. Just please, for God's sake, make sure you download the real audiobook narrated by Becca Battoe. There are a lot of seriously messed up spoofs (okay, some are kind of funny) floating around out there, and we can guarantee hearing Gilbert Gottfried talk about climaxes and thrusting ... probably isn't going to cut it.
3. Join a club
If you must, you can always take the book in a more intellectual direction. Slate Magazine's Slate Book Review offers an audio book club that addresses the characters' power dynamics, discusses the book's themes, and even attempts to point out some of the humor hidden within the pages. It's a great discussion of a book that has received a bad rap for being nothing more than porn. If you're still convinced it's just a crappy romance novel (well, okay, you may be partially right), at least this will give you some sense of dignity to hang on to.
2. Do it with a friend
Read the book, we mean. In fact, that's half the fun of reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Women and porn ... is a complex relationship. So if reading this book will give you the chance to relatively openly talk about a plethora of taboo subjects with other females, then hey, that's a wonderful thing.
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1. Book jacket
If all else fails, just slap a book cover on that baby. We even made a printable one for you.
Don't forget, there are two more books in the trilogy. We're 99 percent sure that if you make it through one, you'll be too committed to not go reach for the others. Fifty Shades may be the most messed up love story, like, ever. But at the end of the day, it is a love story. And every girl likes a good
porn love story.