Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The ANTI 50 Shades topic

There is a ridiculously long thread over at one of my favourite places to visit, AAR on this series of books.  Mind you, I think most of the pages are kept going mostly by two particular posters, but that’s neither here nor there.   I think 18 + 18 + 12 (and counting) PAGES of this book is a record. I’ve only made one post during the whole thing and that wasn’t really connected to the topic of the book.  So I think us ANTI 50 Shades need a voice.

Reason #1: I have no intention at this time of reading this book. Nothing in the VAST number of posts there has convinced me otherwise. First off, and I mean this as no judgment, but the conflict of the book; the hero is into BDSM has zero, zip, nada interest to me. Again no judgment but for me personally, this is a lifestyle I have no interest in. I prefer a relationship that is balanced between the protagonists. That’s reason number one why I don’t plan on getting/reading this book.

 Reason #2: From what I gather, this is not unlike a Harlequin Presents line – only hotter and by many accounts, better. I enjoy many a Harlequin line but I never have tried and do not really want to try this particular one. Again, they strike me as slightly unbalanced in power between the uber rich Greek/Italian/etc. Tycoon/Millionaire/Billionaire and the baby mama/secretary/dog walker – whatever.

Reason #3: From some of the posts I gather the hero/heroine don’t talk the way Americans/Canadians would. They talk Brit speak. One particular poster said she just had to think they were actually British and not Americans to get past some of the peculiar phrases and terms. I’ve no desire to play that kind of game in my mind. I have no trouble suspending belief on many a subject in romance, but I don’t want to do it because the author doesn’t get the difference between the ways the two cultures talk. Set the book in England for Pete’s sake and don’t make us pretend we are playing ‘airplane’ in order to swallow things.

Reason #4: One of the big discussion points/controversies on this book is it stated as a work of fan fiction and then took off to the stratosphere. I haven’t read the Twilight books it’s based on and I don’t care to. So I can’t say how much it may resemble them. But I’m not interested in fanfic. I know some authors, such as Meljean Brook started off writing fanfic. But then she developed her own brand new world. I may be wrong but it seems to me like fanfic was her springboard onto other things.  She then went on to completely develop her own entire worlds and characters, which in my opinion makes the two authors totally different cases.  But I do believe the author of 50 Shades is selling her fanfic work. Where once it could be found free, now it’s over $11 a book here in Canada. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, though I tend to think ‘good for her’ but I still don’t want to read this series of books.

Reason #5: I think its first person – someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I have a much harder time getting into first person as a rule. Of course there are exceptions; the Stephanie Plum books, Lisa Kleypas trilogy and the Blair Mallory books by Linda Howard. But those authors I trusted having read many of their previous books – well, not the Evanovich books but they aren’t really romance so for some reason it’s a bit different. In romance, I also want the hero’s POV and you just don't get it in Fifty Shades.  Some books where I know the author, while disappointed, I can accept and even love the book.  But in this case I don't really want to try.

Reason #6: The price. As I mentioned, they are over $11 here for the eBooks and as there are 3 of them, that’s $33. I’m not about to spend that kind of money anymore on an unknown author. There are two of them and only two that I will go over $10 and they are JD Robb (not Nora) and Linda Howard. It drives me crazy not buying authors I love if they are charging over $10 for an eBook so I certainly won’t be paying over that for an unknown to me author.

Reason #7 I’m just perverse. I’m not sure if I can exactly say this to come out the way I want to, but the attention this book is getting is just SO overblown to me. I was on the stationery bike today at lunch (yes, I’m still a beast) and Access – the hour long one – and Billy Bush and Lisa Rinna were on talking about this book and speculating about who should play the roles.  I have been reading romance for all my life in one form or another and romance almost exclusively for the past 20 years or so. For a good deal of those years I wouldn’t tell other people my genre of choice but in the past few years, I’ve not only been telling people, I’ve been proud to tell them. And now this book comes out and all of a sudden it’s ‘cool’ to talk about sex and 50 Shades.

I’ve known all my life what a wonderful thing the romance genre is so I’m not going to go jumping on some particular book bandwagon just because Billy Bush and so many other people are talking about it. It may be the most wonderful book ever, but I’m not a wagon jumper, and I often don’t want to go along with the crowd. So those are my reasons why chances are very good I won’t be reading this book. Unlike what some of the more prolific posters have said on the never ending thread, it’s not about jealousy, it’s not because I’m a fan girl of other sites that have discussed this book; in fact the only place I’ve actually half-assed followed any discussion of this book phenom is at AAR.

In the past couple of days since I started this post, the 50 Shades discussion has started where I work and even still - I've no desire to read it.  

Some on that lengthy post have said us who don't plan/want to read the books really don't have the right to talk about it.  But I say we do!!!  And I'm here to say why this is one romance reader who will be passing these by.


Phyl said...

Nope. I'm just not interested in 50 Shades et al. For some of the same reasons as you. Hey! I hardly read paranormal romance. Nobody asks me to justify that choice, so I don't need to justify this choice either.

Tasha B. said...

You are correct on all your assumption, Kristi, especially the Britspeak. Drove me CRAZY. And I don't think it's a romance; it's more like anti-romance.

Switching the discussion a bit, the buzz this book is getting really boggles my mind. The review that I wrote of it back in December is by far the most popular post on my blog. It was even on the freaking Daily Show and SNL!

Nicole said...

Hey KristiJ, I post at AAR also and was baffled by the size of the thread as well. I read the book, and posted my view of it there. I thought the book was a C read at best. I think some of the posters are more interested in defending their enjoyment of the book than having an honest discussion of the book and it's merits. As such I no longer read the thread.

I think people are smart enough to decide for themselves whether this book is for them or not. I tend to lump myself more into the anti 50 camp because people seem to be a bit more rational about not liking it than the people who get worked up over defending it. Although there are some romance fans that are just as dedicated to hating it as much as the people who are rabid about loving it. My strategy now seems to be to state my opinion, and to wait for the day when the hype blows over.

Brandy said...

What annoys me most is the hype this book is getting. I have no desire to read it, either and for most of the reasons you've listed.

Kristie (J) said...

Brandy, I find it annoying as well. Since I've no plans to read it, I can't say for certain, but I am SURE there are many better written books out there. And it's like many of the people talking about the book(s) have discovered something new and different, meanwhile us romance readers discovered a very long time ago what a wonderful and yes empowering genre romance can be.

Nicole: I really don't understand the length. Some are getting into such minutiae. I can wax poetic at great lengths about a few select books I've loved to death - but not even come close to what is going on there. And again with some, the attitude that how dare we, who haven't read it, offer any kind of opinion. And I could go on - but I'll leave it there *g*. When you start posting pictures of a cake shaped in a tie that is on the cover of a book - well - that is carrying things a wee little bit too far for me.
And since you've read it and it's a C for you, doesn't part of you wish that a 'better' book would garner as much attention as this one? It's kind of like the pet rock craze that people of my generation (heh, heh, heh) remember. I never had one of those either.

Tasha: It boggles my mind too!! It's being discussed EVERYWHERE it seems. I'm just glad I introduced many of my coworkers to JD Robb and Janet Evanovich before they read this one. And a few have now read Lisa Kleypas and Ruth Wind as well at my suggestion.

Phyl: I'm so glad I'm not the only one with no interest in this book. It's not that I'm anti 50 Shades exactly, it's just that I've no interest. At times it seemed I was an island with everyone around me and on TV and message boards and such being the waters that are these books.

Nicole said...

I'm still baffled by how much attention this book gets. It certainly didn't provoke a strong reaction out of me. Yes I would rather the romance book community got attention for better content. However people seem to be finding something they really like in this particular book so I can't begrudge them that. I had no idea they are posting cake pictures because I'm not reading the thread anymore, but that sort of stuff is what cause me to lose interest in the first place. I just don't understand why they care about this book so much.

farmwifetwo said...

What I roll my eyes at is the very childish rants over on goodreads about how bad it is. I know some that have enjoyed it and I have read their comments. Usually it is the more negative that is the more realistic... this time they just simply bash it.

Biggest issues... either those people do not enjoy BDSM books to begin with or the editting.

Which is fine... but why the childish behaviour???

Also, from what I've read the author never dreamed it would become a hit. But, they got some good press - no press is bad press - and now everyone is getting it.

I'm not a BDSM fan. The facts gleaned from the book of a reviewer that enjoyed it and I trust her opinion tell me that it would not be a book I would prefer.

Good enough for me. I'm glad she enjoyed it.

Marg said...

I read the first book in the trilogy a few months ago before the buzz became so overwhelming. I have just been amazed at the way it has taken over the world because I didn't think it was that great a read (I realise that I am in the minority there, even within the bookclub that I read it for), it wasn't particularly well written, and I have no desire to read the next two! So what is it that has made this book such a hit?? Buggered if I know!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I have no interest either. From what I hear, it's not even that well written, the heroine says things like "Holy Crap!" a lot, the hero is this sophisticated 28 or 27 year old billionaire. 28???! Come on! Too young for me, IMHO, for a contemporary hero, it's not like he was born to the manor like a duke in an historical. But, I'm sure he's dreamy to the under 25 Twilight crowd. Look around you, how many sophisticated 28 year old guys do you see? I have a feeling we read much better stuff in the romance world, but Fifty Shades has a big PR machine and that's the crux of it.

azteclady said...

Scuze...if we don't plan on reading them, we can't talk about them?


Like all the people who never touched romance with a forty feet pole, yet felt entitled to tell us romance readers how we waste our minds and money reading 'that trash'?

* * * *

I think most of the buzz is because some of the non-romance genre readers think this is actually representative of romance and are out of their minds with shock. People in romance novels like kinky sex!

I would go all, Bah, humbug! on the whole thing if it weren't for the fact that the stupid "mommy pr0n" bit got trotted out as well. Now I feel compelled to defend the stupid books even though I trust many people who have read them and say they are crap.

It's annoying, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie, it's Linda from AAR. I'm sorry the thread has bothered you to this extent, it's mostly all just those that enjoyed the book having fun. I posted the picture of the cake because I thought it was a riot and it made me smile. :)

You can post an opinion even not having read the book but what is ridiculous is when there are false assumptions made over what people think the book contains and it's obvious they haven't actually read it.

I can't quite figure out why it bothers some so much that many of us have enjoyed it and are enjoying talking about it, sharing little tidbits of information, interviews, pictures, etc. If it bothers you that much why are you still reading the thread? You can always choose not to open it. It will die down eventually. :)

barklesswagmore said...

Did anyone see the Dr. Oz segment that went on and on about how great this book was to help with women's libido? It was so silly to me after reading romance and erotica for years. I felt so bad for all of those couples interviewed (some who had sex 1-2 per month!) before reading this book and being "awakened" once again. It was like they all found some magic pill to revive their sex lives.

I haven't read the books but probably will if I ever make the time but I have a feeling I may find them lame and tame after some of the stuff I've read.

Karenmc said...

I become annoyed when ANYTHING gets too much hype (reality tv personalities, anyone?). It's not easy to ignore, because it pops up all the time, but I just sigh and pass over the link to whatever post or article is sounding off.

I'm not interested in reading Fifty Shades, mostly because contemporaries aren't my cuppa. Also, I tend to stay away from anything that the morning talk shows say "Everyone's talking about..." If Matt Lauer promos that kind of story, I sometimes think, "I hope he doesn't think he's actually a journalist."

Wendy said...

500+ holds on it at work. 500+. Seriously, I'm beginning to hate this book and I haven't read it - but being a librarian can do that sometimes. I'm just now getting over The Da Vinci Code hype.

I do read erotica, and have no interest in reading this book. Mostly because of the BDSM. Chalk it up to wading through too many BDSM books where the author thought "dominant" meant it was "OK" to have the hero be a raging asshole. So these days I only read books featuring BDSM from authors that I "trust" to not tick me off ;)

Coworkers have asked me about the appeal, and I honestly think it's appealing to those folks who had NO CLUE that erotica, as a genre, existed. You mean, there are "naughty" books out there? Like, being published and everything? And I can read them?

Yes. Yes, you can.

Hilcia said...

I honestly think it's appealing to those folks who had NO CLUE that erotica, as a genre, existed. You mean, there are "naughty" books out there? Like, being published and everything? And I can read them?

Yes. Yes, you can.

Wendy said it... this is my take on the hoopla! What other reason could there be for an erotic BDSM fan fic book to garner this much attention?

But frankly the fact that the term "mommy porn" is being used bugs me. I understand that both men and women are reading this book... and the media attention is good for sales, but that term is negative, negative. Next thing you know, it will be the term used to describe all types of romance, just as "bodice ripper" has been used for decades.

Marianne McA said...

I'm with you apart from maybe reason 7 - I do think there's a value in reading something just because it's the latest big thing - just keeps you in the swim, or something.

And for an average person, if something has strongly appealed to a lot of other average people, there's a decent chance it'll appeal to you too. (I had to tie my friend down to a chair to make her watch 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Sherlock' but she loved both. Sometimes the hype is justified.)

And I'm rather in favour of having hoopla over books on first principles. (I queued with the girls for Harry Potter: it was demented hoopla, but also good, clean fun.)

I'm not reading 50 Shades on principle, because I think it's unfair to write in someone else's world & get paid. Howecver, I'm hugely helped by not being tempted by the material - I don't find Edward in the Twilight books at all appealing, and I get bored reading sex. If it was something I really wanted to read, I'm not sure if I could stick to my principles.

nath said...

Really great post, Kristie :)

I didn't realize these books were so popular until Chapters wouldn't stop featuring them in the bookstores and on their websites. Yep, I can live under a rock at times :P

See, that's my issues with books like 50 Shades. People who don't read and suddenly, make one book or one series so popular. Bleh, I hate it when that happens... and that's why I stay away from "mainstream" best-sellers. For us who read so much, they never measure up.

Rose said...

Kristie, I am with you - zero interest in the book, for many (though not all) the reasons you mentioned. My main issue with it, based on the bits and pieces I have read, is that it is poorly written. I can forgive a lot in a book, but I can't force myself to read what I perceive as bad writing.

At this point I suspect the success is fueled mostly by being so talked about; a lot of people are buying the first one, or all three, knowing nothing about it other than that it's popular. Certainly the Amazon reviews seem to support this. Sometimes books are deservedly popular (he Hunger Games, IMO) but sometimes an author is lucky to have the right book at the right time.

Regarding the AAR threads, I agree with you. They started out as an interesting discussion and eventually became groupthink with a dose of fangirl, and unfortunately the two most active AAR posters are leading it. I'm not finding AAR very interesting these days, anyway - but that's a different discussion.

Anonymous said...

I, also, am puzzled by the hula hoops-like hoopla about the book, but then I've never understood the adoration of Heyer either.


Nicola O. said...

The hype reminds me of when Nicholas Sparks first started publishing, and The Bridges of Madison County by James Waller.

Some people will swear it's not romance because "they're not the kind of people who read romance" (punch) and then the debate is over romance or not, blah blah blah. I think the first two combined are more or less a romance. I wasn't interested in reading the third, the plot sounded extremely thin. But the focus on the first two books is the h/h working through their conflicts and finding an HEA.

It's not a typical BDSM plot because she basically is having none of that.

And yeah, I wouldn't call it the best-written thing I've ever read but I didn't hate it. I think people who have read romance and erotica once or twice in their life are mostly going "it was OK? I don't understand the big deal? WTH??"

Kristie (J) said...

Sorry – didn’t mean to take a powder there. I had what my sisters call a “procedure” but what I called scary as hell day surgery and went to the country to recuperate. Not to worry – I’m fine but my sister has limited wifi so I tried to curb my internet while I was there since all three of us were on our IPads quite a bit.

FarmwifeTwo: I’ll confess, I haven’t read anything about this series of books other than that at AAR so I’m kind of out of the loop as far as childish behaviour goes. I hope my post didn’t come across that way. I haven’t gotten into any discussions as I haven’t read the books so don’t feel like I have anything to contribute to the content of the books – just the overall buzz which puzzles me greatly.

Marg: Heh, heh, heh – that has me buggered too – the staggering popularity of it all. We in the romance community have been aware of erotic romance for quite some time so it’s nothing new to us I think.

Julie: That’s what I hear too – that although a compelling storyline, the writing isn’t that great and the editing needs quite a bit of tightening. And I also here you about the young age of the hero – though Mark Zuckerberg is quite young – but that’s another reason the book holds little appeal. With Roarke being the only exception, I don’t go for gazillionaire heroes so the fact that he is one is not a plus 

AL: That’s the opinion that some seem to hold. Being a romance reader for years, I have every right to talk about this book – not specifics, no, seeing as I haven’t read it nor plan to. But I certainly can give my two cents worth on the staggering yet confusing popularity of it – and why it doesn’t appeal to me.
And this kind of book is NOT representative of romance books. A certain genre yes, but they are so much more than rather out there sex aren’t they?

Kristie (J) said...

Linda: Hello – and welcome. Part of the problem of doing this online, is you can’t really see my expression or how I sound when I write so hopefully I don’t mess up. I don’t know if you are a regular follower of my blog or not. Although to be honest, I’ve been such a bad blogger for the last little while I’m surprised that anyone still comes to visit. So I don’t know if you know or not, but I can get EXTREMELY passionate about something in the romance community I have fallen in love with. First there was the “urge” to fellow romance lovers to read Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. That came very soon after my husband died and took away the grief for a while when I was doing it. I was an animal when it came to promoting the book, visiting blogs I’d never been to before and at the slightest opportunity telling said blogger they needed to read this book.
When I finally watched the BBC production of North and South – well that became the Great North and South Crusade and there are still links to the “Crusaders” on the side bar.
When I read Broken Wing by Judith James, I emailed everyone I could think of and Very Strongly Encouraged them to read the book.
And then the last one was The Great Western Drive where Wendy and Sybil and I all heavily promoted Westerns seeing as there are too few of them.
So I know about loving a book. I did debate starting a thread at AAR voicing my thoughts, but I felt that would be rude and rather poor cricket. AAR is not my place and as annoying as I find the endless posts on 50 Shades, I didn’t want to create hard feelings and it’s apparent by it’s length that it does still have legs. I only posted once on the whole very, very, very, very long thread and that wasn’t even about the book – but about the fact I felt there was rather smug self-righteousness going on by one particular poster – and yes, we both know who that was – the same one who no doubt told you about this post.
But this is MY house (and I say that not to be flippant or rude but rather with a twinkle and a bit of a rye grin) and I’m perfectly free to post whatever I want to at my own place. And to be quite honest and again I don’t mean this in a mean way – but the length and minutia of the 50 Shades thread(s) is driving me bonkers. I am taking your advice thought and not reading it – and haven’t for some time now.
It doesn’t bother me that you are enjoying it, but that it just won’t go away! And again, I am chuckling here and I don’t want this to come across as mean, but I let the Dreaming of You, the North and South Crusade, the Broken Wing and the Western Drive go when it was time, though I do come back to them on occasion. But they had there time.

Kristie (J) said...

Barklesswagmore (cute name *g*) I didn’t see the Dr. Oz segment, but I can testify to the fact that on an occasion or two, what I was reading may have led to a smile on my husbands face. But from what I’ve heard and read, I don’t think this book would do the trick. I fear I would find some of it a bit too annoying to concentrate

Karenmc: ‘I tend to stay away from anything that the morning talk shows say “Everyone’s talking about…” ‘
EXACTLY!!!! That is one of the biggest reasons that I’m not interested in reading this book. I don’t want to read a book that just about everyone from Matt Lauer, to Billy Bush to Dr Oz is talking about!! I am happy in my romance community and I just don’t want to play in that big huge pond.

Wendy: LOL – I gather that is a lot of holds on this book. I never read The Davinci Code either – for many of the same reasons. From what I hear, the writing wasn’t all that great and again – if it’s talked about all over, I don’t want to be part of it. And also – not interested in reading a book where the hero is into BDSM, though I do chuckle that so many new people have been made aware that this kind of thing exists in romance.

Hilcia: I absolutely loathe the term “mommy porn”. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I think it’s just another example of mostly male and unenlightened women having to pigeonhole and denigrate a genre written by and for women. I find it a degrading term too.

Marianne: *g* I had to look up what #7 was *g*. Sadly, this is a big one for me. I’m at times, a cut my nose to spite my face, kind of person. I haven’t read the Twilight books, the Harry Potter books, as noted, The Da Vinci Code or any other big phenomana books. That’s cause…I’m perverse 
And I’m with you on writing in someone else’s world and that’s what I feel the author of 50 Shades has done. She took Twilight, twisted it up some, turned it around and then put it out as hers. Not quite right in my book.

Kristie (J) said...

Nath: *laughing* Where HAVE you been? EVERYBODY is talking about them – even me now *g* It’s not unlike when Oprah had her book club and even though many of the books she chose were depressing and would want me to stick my finger in a light socket – because it was Oprah talking about them – they became big hits even if they weren’t that good.

Rose: I hear you! Bad writing can be very painful and if the writing in this book is as bad as some say it is, I would get even more perturbed I think, that it has caught on so when there is so much better out there.
As for the thread at AAR – (sorry Linda – if you come back) but it’s boring. Though I could go on ad nauseum about my passions, North and South etc. I don’t because it becomes boring to other and I don’t want to do that. And yep to the two most active posters – that’s all I’ll say. I love AAR, but at times I do find it frustrating when it’s hijacked by threads that have zero interest for me.
Dick: Oh thank you!! I don’t get the Heyer adoration either. I did read quite a bit of her when I first started reading romance, partly because it was so early in the genre that there wasn’t as much as today and partly because I didn’t know any better. But I can’t read her at all anymore and I’m slightly puzzled that she is so loved. From what I gather, she didn’t have a whole lot of respect for the genre in which she wrote in.

Nicola: If I were to read 50 Shades – and it’s more of a what if than anything because I have zero plans to, I may not find it the worst thing ever written, but I have read some books that are so exquisite, they stay with me years later. I can’t imagine that happening with 50 Shades – then I would be grouchy that the exquisite books don’t garner the same kind of reaction.

azteclady said...

I was wondering--and, I confess, a bit scared--so I'm very, very glad to hear from you *hug*

I hope you are feeling 100% better now.

[And if you visit Karen's, you'll see that even there these books have been mentioned!]

Kristie (J) said...

AL: The worst part was the nurse trying to get the needle in my hand for the anaesthetic(see - if they put you under while pretty much naked it's more than a "procedure"!! They couldn't get the needle in the one hand so had to try for the other. And it HURT. Of course I'm a big baby so it may not have hurt all that much. But other than that I was good to go very shortly after.
I did read Karen's review once you pointed it out. I think we can safely say that she wasn't impressed :-)

nath said...

LOL, Kristie. Well I don't watch a lot of TV and the blogs I follow all seem to be the exception :P Nobody really talked about those books or read them. I know Holly and Zeek both wanted to throw them at the wall, then you wrote this post and later, Wendy. But that's pretty much it. And everyone in romance blogland, these books are referred as "those who shall not be named" LOL.

Anonymous said...

I have not read it for the same reason I was in a abusive realtionship for 9 years anything like that says, your being hit or in bondage is not for me. I like stories like Jo Goodman and other authors I see man like Bill Rancic who has been so supporting of Giuliana Rancic and ask myself why cant i find a man like that. Their lives are not a fantasy they have strugle with infertility and cancer how much more real do we need to get and yet he has really been good to her. Those are the relationship i want to see give be Bill Rancic any time over anyone else or even maybe Ruark Deverall Beauchamp in Shana he put up with a lot for a woman he loved but that was fiction and yet I still remember this character.

Paris Talor said...

50 shades of grey was horrendous. Reading the book was three days of my life I'll never get back.. Glad someone else agrees and shared my pain. Too many writers are just lazy these days.

Liking your blog,keen to see more posts! Just followed. Look at mine if you like..

Paris - http://between-your-legs.blogspot.co.uk

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