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Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey

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Can't get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey? Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from underground e-book sensation to runaway mainstream bestseller—it's the book everyone is talking about. Now, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey extends the conversation women (and men!) are having across the country. The perfect panel of insiders—from the editor who first "discovered" Fifty Shades o/>Fifty Can't get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey? Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from underground e-book sensation to runaway mainstream bestseller—it's the book everyone is talking about. Now, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey extends the conversation women (and men!) are having across the country. The perfect panel of insiders—from the editor who first "discovered" Fifty Shades of Grey, to BDSM experts, to erotic fiction authors, romance authors, and a whole lot more—takes you deeper into the trilogy that has captured the imaginations of so many. From the books' sexual politics and its fanfiction origins to what sets it apart from other erotic fiction and romance (and what doesn’t), everything you ever wanted to know about Fifty Shades of Grey is right here. Whether you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, or just want to know why everyone else does, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey is the book for you! Contributors: Heather Graham Sylvia Day Andrew Shaffer M.J. Rose Sinnamon Love Judith Regan Stacy Agdern Laura Antoniou Jennifer Armintrout Tish Beaty Mala Bhattacharjee Rachel Kramer Bussel M. Christian Suzan Colón Joy Daniels Sherri Donovan Angela Edwards Melissa Febos Lucy Felthouse Ryan Field Selina Fire Megan Frampton Sarah Frantz Louise Fury Lois Gresh Catherine Hiller Marci Hirsch Dr. Hilda Hutcherson Debra Hyde Anne Jamison D.L. King Dr. Logan Levkoff Arielle Loren Sassafras Lowry Rachel Kenley Pamela Madsen ChrisMarks and Lia Leto Midori Master R Dr. Katherine Ramsland Tiffany Reisz Katharine Sands Jennifer Sanzo Rakesh Satyal Marc Shapiro Lyss Stern Cecilia Tan Hope Tarr Susan Wright Editor X


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Can't get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey? Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from underground e-book sensation to runaway mainstream bestseller—it's the book everyone is talking about. Now, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey extends the conversation women (and men!) are having across the country. The perfect panel of insiders—from the editor who first "discovered" Fifty Shades o/>Fifty Can't get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey? Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from underground e-book sensation to runaway mainstream bestseller—it's the book everyone is talking about. Now, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey extends the conversation women (and men!) are having across the country. The perfect panel of insiders—from the editor who first "discovered" Fifty Shades of Grey, to BDSM experts, to erotic fiction authors, romance authors, and a whole lot more—takes you deeper into the trilogy that has captured the imaginations of so many. From the books' sexual politics and its fanfiction origins to what sets it apart from other erotic fiction and romance (and what doesn’t), everything you ever wanted to know about Fifty Shades of Grey is right here. Whether you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, or just want to know why everyone else does, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey is the book for you! Contributors: Heather Graham Sylvia Day Andrew Shaffer M.J. Rose Sinnamon Love Judith Regan Stacy Agdern Laura Antoniou Jennifer Armintrout Tish Beaty Mala Bhattacharjee Rachel Kramer Bussel M. Christian Suzan Colón Joy Daniels Sherri Donovan Angela Edwards Melissa Febos Lucy Felthouse Ryan Field Selina Fire Megan Frampton Sarah Frantz Louise Fury Lois Gresh Catherine Hiller Marci Hirsch Dr. Hilda Hutcherson Debra Hyde Anne Jamison D.L. King Dr. Logan Levkoff Arielle Loren Sassafras Lowry Rachel Kenley Pamela Madsen ChrisMarks and Lia Leto Midori Master R Dr. Katherine Ramsland Tiffany Reisz Katharine Sands Jennifer Sanzo Rakesh Satyal Marc Shapiro Lyss Stern Cecilia Tan Hope Tarr Susan Wright Editor X

30 review for Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stefani

    Can't get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey? No actually I've had way way more than enough! We reached enough when one day every single news and radio program I listened to was talking about it. We reached enough when I saw that there was fan fiction of 50 shades being published...basically a fan fiction of a fan fiction. We reached enough with a cut rate, pathetically positive, author ass kissing biography about the stupid author. We reached enough when I saw someone wearing a tsh Can't get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey? No actually I've had way way more than enough! We reached enough when one day every single news and radio program I listened to was talking about it. We reached enough when I saw that there was fan fiction of 50 shades being published...basically a fan fiction of a fan fiction. We reached enough with a cut rate, pathetically positive, author ass kissing biography about the stupid author. We reached enough when I saw someone wearing a tshirt about how their pregnant belly came from 50 shades. We reached enough when I got a text message from my sister about how great 50 shades is because it's "easy reading, which is good because I'm not much of a reader." We reached enough when we had thousands of reviews glorifying this piece of garbage about domestic violence. We reached enough when we have a book full of people with no brain cells trying to make this legitimate literature!! Ok, I have to take a break, I am gonna have a stroke from the rage here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Juli Rahel

    I decided to request this book from Netgalley because I felt I owed it to all the people who loved 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to inform myself about it more before ripping it to shreds. After letting some time pass, I find I am quite ambivalent about it. On the one hand, I quite liked it in the way you like anything that has something of the forbidden or taboo about it. On the other hand, it was a terrible let down in that it wasn't very well-written and, to be honest, wasn't as forbidden or taboo a I decided to request this book from Netgalley because I felt I owed it to all the people who loved 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to inform myself about it more before ripping it to shreds. After letting some time pass, I find I am quite ambivalent about it. On the one hand, I quite liked it in the way you like anything that has something of the forbidden or taboo about it. On the other hand, it was a terrible let down in that it wasn't very well-written and, to be honest, wasn't as forbidden or taboo as I had expected it to be. So I thought it would be great to hear 50 other opinions on it, to see whether their comments would help me figure out this book and its, surprising, popularity. This might be the first time I have reviewed a collection of "essays" and this review would be too long if I went through all of them, so I decided to pick up on some of the things that stuck with me while reading. For one, I think it is a bit early to say that 50 Shades was the last blow to actual printing. Just because it was an online phenomena doesn't mean that now everyone will only publish e-books. As a current English student I can tell you that although many of u have Kindles, we all love the feeling of a real book in our hands and my generation is, after all, the future and I don't see us allowing printed books to die out. Especially not over this book. Also, I belief that, being a woman, I was always pretty aware of the fact women love to read smutty romances with sex in them. As was the publishing world. Why else would we have all those other smutty romances with strong males and sensuous women in them? Yes, the addition of BDSM might be new (to the public, not the audience), but I don't think it is as much of a game changer as the publishers would like to have us believe. I do agree 'Fifty Shades of Grey' has opened up society to accepting to more erotic literature in public but then again, if you really wanted to find and read it you always could. Perhaps it has now become more mainstream, but is that what you'd want as a genre? To become equal to 'Twilight' and the centre of media attention? Suzan Colon also refers to this when she mentions that the main attractions to Fifty Shades are the naughtiness and secrecy behind reading it. It is almost too in the open for that now. The great thing about reading a book like this is that you can agree or disagree with authors, much like you can like or dislike characters. Next to Suzan Colon, there was D.L. King that I quite liked. She questioned whether the book was actually erotica or rather erotic romance. She argues that erotica is about the sex, rather than the love story, which would make 'Fifty Shades of Grey', in my eyes, erotic romance rather than erotica. The story is about Ana and Christian falling in love, not about them having sex. If you took out their sex scenes you'd still have the same (admittedly boring) plot and the novel'd work. Another interesting point was brought up by Jennifer Sanzo, who talked about whether Christian Grey is a modern Byronic man. I'm not quite sure. On the outside, of course he is. Roguish, broody, dark, strangely sensual and attractive. But would I compare him to the likes of Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff or Rochester? No. And that lies in the way it is written. Below are the three quotes Sanzo used: 'If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime, he couldn't love you as much as I do in a single day.' Heathcliff 'You have bewitched me, body and soul.' Darcy 'You are exquisite, honest, warm, strong, witty, beguilingly innocent; the list is endless. I am in awe of you. I want you, and the thought of anyone else having you is like a knife twisting in my dark soul.' Christian Grey Of course, all three have their romantic qualities, but for me, only the first one is really Byronic, taking into consideration Heathcliff as a character, the second one romantic and the third a slightly melodramatic version of the other two. Heathcliff is the only one out of those three characters that has any kind of real darkness and danger about him. Christian Grey is the perfect romantic hero, willing to overcome his troubles rather than dragging Ana down with him. I tweeted about Jennifer Armintrout while reading because I really enjoyed her chapter. She wrote about how the line between what we fantasize about and what we actually want was blurred by 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. The controlling behaviour that is seen as romantic by many is actually, when analysed, creepy and not desirable at all. Unlike with other books, the discussions have become personal, rather than about the book. I think Heathcliff is an amazing protagonist who says some beautiful things but I wouldn't ever actually wish to be in a relationship with him. Imagine how scary that would be. The public perception is that women have massively identified themselves with Ana to such an extent that nothing negative can be uttered. Criticizing her or the book would be criticizing women and therefor being disregarding towards women. However, I don't really think women have. Readers aren't stupid, they know that the novel is only fiction and they read it out of escapism, like most books. It has made sex an easier topic of discussion perhaps, but it's not like E.L. James invented sex. What I also want to say is, thank you Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, finally someone discusses the sex in the book. It is, to be kind, highly unrealistic, to be rude, bullshit. I think it really gives young women, including me, a wrong image of how sex works and how bodies respond. I mean, if this is how sex is for most people I wonder why they ever do anything else! What I found really interesting here were the thoughts of practicing Dominants and subs. One couple explained how they would set up a scene, a Master analysed Christian as a dominant, a submissive explained the release she found in submitting. It gave so much more insight into the world of BDSM and really made me see that what E.L. James created is nothing more than a fancy framework for characters, instead of making it a part of the story. It was also really interesting to read a history of BDSM (romance) fiction, which, to me, came across as a very open and friendly genre. It explored both male-female and male-male relationships early on. The essays on this also helped me understand why readers of BDSM fiction and people of the lifestyle don't like the novel as much. James wrote it for the average (uninformed) reader, using elements that wouldn't work for the former category. Their backlash is therefore perhaps understandable, especially since the book does link BDSM to childhood trauma and abuse, and I agree with the authors in saying that had 'Fifty Shades' been more to their liking it would maybe not have been such a big success. One of my favourite chapters in this book was the one by Laura Antoniou, who gave her own, hilarious, view on 'Fifty Shades of Grey' by writing what I will call a parody. And thankfully she made a Youtube video of her reading it (below), which I strongly suggest you watch right now. Please don't drink while watching this, I wouldn't want to be responsible for you ruining your laptop. Laura Antoniou is amazing, I have decided! Also very interesting were the couple of essays on the novel's origins as fanfiction. I didn't pay too much attention to that before, but now I actually think it is very interesting. Definitely something I'd like to look into more. I found it very hard to give any kind of rating to this book because of what it is. Can I rate it the same way as a novel? I decided to take into account that it were essays and gave it... 3 UNIVERSES!!! In the end, I don't really like 'Fifty Shades of Grey' any better now than I did before, but I'd definitely recommend this book, 'Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey', to everyone wanting to know more. It analyses everything from the success, to the history of romantic fiction, the characters, the reality behind it and so much more. The essays are short, well written, funny and informative. If you liked talking about 'Fifty Shades', this will provide you with a lot more interesting talking points and in my case, it did.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Booklover, Indianapolis

    (Dec) I am not sure how to shelve this. I'm not sure what I expected this book to be - was it going to be 50 salacious stories in the BDSM/erotic genre? Was it going to be 50 reviews either praising or slamming 50 Shades? I didn't know, but I was curious. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed reading most of the thoughts shared in this book. It is split into 7 sections - about erotic fiction, romance, sex, bdsm, writing, fan fiction, and pop culture, as well as two mini stories - one disturb (Dec) I am not sure how to shelve this. I'm not sure what I expected this book to be - was it going to be 50 salacious stories in the BDSM/erotic genre? Was it going to be 50 reviews either praising or slamming 50 Shades? I didn't know, but I was curious. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed reading most of the thoughts shared in this book. It is split into 7 sections - about erotic fiction, romance, sex, bdsm, writing, fan fiction, and pop culture, as well as two mini stories - one disturbing, one pretty funny. It was interesting to read how differently each author perceived the book. Some wrote about the characters of Ana and Christian (one, by a professional Dom, was a fascinating look at Christian while another pretty much hated him). Some wrote about the history of bdsm in fiction and romance in general. Some authors are professional doms/dommes, while others are writers, doctors (who assured women that most sex is not as consistantly earth shattering as shown in FSoG!), editors, etc. - there was even an article by a lawyer about the contract Christian tries to get Ana to sign. One author said how at least Ana didn't "top from the bottom" while another said how annoyed she was that Ana "topped from the bottom." Seems like no one can really agree about what they read. Some feel that the book did harm to both the bdsm culture and those who read this not as fiction but more as a "how to" guide. Others say that the book is fiction and not meant to be anything more than a slightly kinky love story. Some articles were a bit boring or I didn't relate to them (like most of the Fan Fiction entries - not my thing), but overall they really were quite interesting to read. Love 50 or hate it, everyone pretty much agrees that it brought erotic reading out of the closet for a lot of women, which is a good thing in my (and others') opinion!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathie (katmom)

    Thank you NetGalley and SmartPop for giving me the opportunity to read FIFTY WRITERS ON FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Since these are short articles on the FSoG phenomenon, it's hard to pinpoint what to say about the book. Those authors that kept on topic were interesting. But many of the contributors used this book as a soapbox to spout things that really didn't have anything to do with FSoG. They went off on tangents that had me wondering just what the heck they were writing abou Thank you NetGalley and SmartPop for giving me the opportunity to read FIFTY WRITERS ON FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Since these are short articles on the FSoG phenomenon, it's hard to pinpoint what to say about the book. Those authors that kept on topic were interesting. But many of the contributors used this book as a soapbox to spout things that really didn't have anything to do with FSoG. They went off on tangents that had me wondering just what the heck they were writing about. It was an interesting perspective. Those that did stay on point, Dr. Logan Levkoff, for example, were quite interesting. I liked how many of the contributors appreciated the fact that FSoG allowed women to read something fun, hot, and romantic without shame. I also enjoyed those authors that pointed out that FSoG is a book. It's not rocket science. It's not brain surgery. It's not an IRS audit. It's a book, a book that one reads for fun and to escape the mundane moments of life. All in all, it was interesting to see these differing viewpoints.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    50 essays is about 20 too many, but I liked reading some intelligent analysis by people who had actually read 50 Shades. I was interested in the concept of Christian Grey as the successor to Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Rhett Butler, etc. as the Byronic hero. Also, I really had no idea about the world of erotic publishing, which apparently had fallen on hard times until FSOG came along to rescue it. Who knew that there was a difference between erotica and erotic romance? (FSOG is the latter.)More than 50 essays is about 20 too many, but I liked reading some intelligent analysis by people who had actually read 50 Shades. I was interested in the concept of Christian Grey as the successor to Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Rhett Butler, etc. as the Byronic hero. Also, I really had no idea about the world of erotic publishing, which apparently had fallen on hard times until FSOG came along to rescue it. Who knew that there was a difference between erotica and erotic romance? (FSOG is the latter.)More than I wanted to know about the world of BDSM, but it was amusing that practitioners are so divided about whether FSOG is a good or bad thing for their lifestyle. Probably this book will appeal only to people like me who are 50 Shades fans and naturally analytical. There must be at least 5 of us.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Duchess Nicole

    Copy provided by Smart Pop via Net Galley for an honest review. 3.5 Stars I think at this point we're all pretty much sick of the subject of Fifty Shades. For me, it's the negativity surrounding the trilogy and the gall of people to behave like children when it comes to this subject. I was so very tired of politely ignoring all of the people out there who used Fifty as their first foray into erotica/BDSM/or even romance and proceeded to belittle and shame anyone remotely connected to it/>3.5 Copy provided by Smart Pop via Net Galley for an honest review. 3.5 Stars I think at this point we're all pretty much sick of the subject of Fifty Shades. For me, it's the negativity surrounding the trilogy and the gall of people to behave like children when it comes to this subject. I was so very tired of politely ignoring all of the people out there who used Fifty as their first foray into erotica/BDSM/or even romance and proceeded to belittle and shame anyone remotely connected to it. So when I saw this, I decided that I wasn't quite sick enough of the subject, especially when it was authors of erotica/BDSM/romance, and the like and also just a few really intelligent people. I wanted to know what their thoughts were, how they felt when they saw the series take off like it did. And I was really interested to hear some objective opinions that didn't stray into the 'evil EL James' territory. Honestly, some of this was really great and insightful stuff...not just in regards to the EL James trilogy, but to the publishing industry for erotic books. Some of these authors, while not necessarily praising James, at least give a nod to what her books did for writers of erotic literature as well as smut. I think it would be hard to argue the fact that a bit of the taboo has been lifted due to the popularity of Fifty. And I love how this shows a few professionals that show some respect for an amateur author who not only sparked a huge controversy, but opened up the reading world to public scrutiny in this manner. While there were a lot of positive comments and short kudos, there are also a few in here that aren't afraid to speak negatively. Some are very objective, they state their case in a very 'writer-ish' manner, keeping it fairly PC so as not to lose readership. While others...made me laugh my ass off, because their sarcastic little stories simply screamed of jealousy and resentment. Tasteless, not so well hidden insults to James age, appearance, and sex life...hmmm, reminds me of a few tasteless, class-less authors I've heard about lately. Oh, wait! It's the same people! I applaud the fact that there are some people who can state their reaction to this series and author without bashing the opinions of thousands upon thousands of readers...be their opinions positive or negative, in regards to the author's talent, the saleability of her books, or her intentions. I think this is a great collection for lovers or haters of this trilogy. It's more an insight into the mind of the individuals that write our guilty pleasures, written in an intelligent and enlightening manner, for the most part. If you still can't get enough Fifty, or haven't read it and wonder what the fuss is about, this could alleviate some of your curiosity...or spark some more!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula Phillips

    When I first saw this book, I knew right then and there that it was one that I wanted to read . A book that would have me engrossed from the very first page and I was absolutely correct, though some essays were a tad disturbing and some a bit too educational for my liking , the majority of the essays were OUTSTANDING And AMAZING. If you love psychology and delving in the unknowns of a book , analysing the book in it's pages. Then SmartPop Books who are producing Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades , i When I first saw this book, I knew right then and there that it was one that I wanted to read . A book that would have me engrossed from the very first page and I was absolutely correct, though some essays were a tad disturbing and some a bit too educational for my liking , the majority of the essays were OUTSTANDING And AMAZING. If you love psychology and delving in the unknowns of a book , analysing the book in it's pages. Then SmartPop Books who are producing Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades , is the place for you as I adore all their books. Reading Fifty Writers , will be one of those books that will want you to start re-reading the Fifty Shades trilogy all over again and looking at the story with a new pair of eyes and a deeper understanding. From realising that Christian Grey is the new Byronic Hero, just like his original inspiration Edward Cullen to the comments that Ana makes scattered throughout the book referencing her favourite classic novel characters like Elizabeth Bennett , Tess , Heathcliff which of course is derived from her character being an English Lit Major. When I was trying to decide how I was going to write this review, I thought Hmmmm... How to write about Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades to give the readers a glimpse of the action inside and what will make them want to read the book. It got me thinking about the Facebook page set up for this book https://www.facebook.com/FiftyWriters... and how on that site , they have been quoting excerpts from the book. So readers, I have decided to pick a couple of excerpts for your enjoyment. “Here are a few thoughts on why Fifty Shades really hits the G-spot . . .Girl with spirit and pluck meets man of property is ever a panty peeling premise in the Victorian novel. Literature is riddled with submission/dominance themes. The very tales of literary heroines that our literary heroine, virginal Anastasia Steele, has been steeped in. "An expert on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women’s novels, Susan Greenfield calls this hot title recycled literature. Indeed, Fifty Shades revels in the classic romanticism of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, and the plot specifically references Thomas Hardy.” —Katharine Sands, "Grey Is the New Black" “[T]he covers being used on erotic trades are now uniformly subtle, with flowers, scarves, feathers, pearls, belts, and stilettos, but the latest brown paper bag is an immediately recognizable one, which means it’s not really there at all. We know something sexy is gong to be found between those innocent-looking covers and we don’t care who sees us with them." —Sylvia Day, "The Brown Paper Bag" "The traditional publishing industry has had to acknowledge that there is a strong market for erotic fiction written, edited, and purchased by women. These aren’t the bodice rippers of old. These aren’t the books you hide in your bedside table or inside a copy of ULYSSES. Romance is a multibillion-dollar business and erotic content is a huge part of that market." —Louise Fury - Literary Agent, "Fifty Shades of Change"

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beckey

    This is an interesting collection of differing views about the “Fifty Shades” series from the ideas about erotica in fictional literature to the romance of erotica, from psychological aspect of BDSM and more. It’s one of those books where I found myself agreeing and wowed from differing views. I liked the concept and how well this was put together. This is a book for both women (and men), for those who hated or loved the series.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Donna Brown

    I have no desire to read Fifty Shades of Grey but it’s in the media and social media so much at the moment that you can’t escape it. I am really interested to see what people think of Fifty Shades of Grey and that’s the reason I decided to read this book. Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey does exactly what it says on the tin. Fifty authors share their thoughts about the book. Some love it, some hate it, some are indifferent, but many people acknowledge that it’s done a lot to bring sex into I have no desire to read Fifty Shades of Grey but it’s in the media and social media so much at the moment that you can’t escape it. I am really interested to see what people think of Fifty Shades of Grey and that’s the reason I decided to read this book. Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey does exactly what it says on the tin. Fifty authors share their thoughts about the book. Some love it, some hate it, some are indifferent, but many people acknowledge that it’s done a lot to bring sex into the public forum. A debate on whether or not it’s done good things in bringing BDSM into the public forum is a different matter. One thing that I really enjoyed about the book was that it really did showcase different opinions across a wide spectrum of people. Authors, counsellors, a lawyer, publishing insiders, sex industry insiders. This was a very comprehensive look at what has become the title on everyone’s lips. There are a couple of things that come up as clear concerns when reading this volume. One is that James has brought sex into the public forum. Not that we didn’t talk about sex but it is now apparently acceptable to talk about being tied up while having your manicure. However, this book has also brought BDSM into that same forum and James comes under some considerable criticism for 1. Getting some technical details wrong that could actually make techniques dangerous if copied by beginners to BDSM 2. Inferring that the only reason Christian Grey is really interested in BDSM is because of a troubled past making him a damaged man, thereby making this seem unhealthy (great press for it!) 3. Equally inferring that if Ana is able to fix him his desire for BDSM will abate I’m not here to do a critique of Fifty Shades of Grey. That would be unfair about a book I have not read. However, the fact that these criticisms came up more than once during the volume is concerning. Another concern which appears more than once is that somehow Christian Grey’s stalkerish behaviour during the course of the novel is portrayed as sexy. Yes, we can argue that it is fictional and fantasy but there are concerns. Given how many copies of the book have now been sold, some people may come to think that this is acceptable behaviour, that this is a sign of love and not something more sinister and controlling. However, another point repeatedly made is that without this book it may not have become so acceptable to buy erotic fiction, read erotic fiction, talk about erotic fiction and talk about sex. In that respect many people acknowledge that James has done a great thing with this genre, even if they don’t all accept that the book is good or good writing, they accept that it has got people talking, buying and reading erotic fiction. So has reading Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey made me inclined to read it myself? No. But it certainly was fascinating. Perhaps it would be fair to read Fifty Shades of Grey and then I could base my opinion on the book rather than this book but the words of fifty authors and countless others have yet to convince me. This volume, however, is an excellent read. Copy received from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Review originally published on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marleen

    I received this book from Smart Pop Books through NetGalley Divided into six sections, this book analyses the Fifty Shades of Grey books and phenomena from every conceivable angle. The literary merits and quality of the writing are discussed; the book is compared to and given its place in a long history of romantic and erotic literature; publishers comment on the randomness of the success this book achieved. Lawyers evaluate the content and the value of the contract Christian Grey wan I received this book from Smart Pop Books through NetGalley Divided into six sections, this book analyses the Fifty Shades of Grey books and phenomena from every conceivable angle. The literary merits and quality of the writing are discussed; the book is compared to and given its place in a long history of romantic and erotic literature; publishers comment on the randomness of the success this book achieved. Lawyers evaluate the content and the value of the contract Christian Grey wants Ana to sign and people who live the lifestyle comment on the way their BDSM relationship is described and Christian’s mastery. Feminists tell us why these books are bad for the cause while other women tell us how and why these books empower us. I know I’m forgetting angles here, but I’m fairly sure that this book didn’t leave a single one out. To be honest, I was more interested in the factual analysis of the book than I was in the literary one. As far as the pro’s and cons of the story, the way it is told, originality and literary merit are concerned, the authors in this book didn’t say a lot, if anything, that I haven’t said, thought or written myself (although it is of course always gratifying to see “professionals” agreeing with what you thought was an “amateur’s” point of view). I was far more fascinated with the things I learned about contracts, the thoughts and opinions of those involved in the BDSM life-style and discovering how fanfiction actually works. Did I find a lot of new opinions in this book? Well no, I didn’t. I found all the pro and con arguments I have read many times before again in these pages. But, it was nice to have them all together if only because it felt like taking part in a balanced debate. Because every single contributor gets to have their say without anybody trying to shout them down it is easier to try and see all sides of the argument. I find myself wondering if all this attention on what is, at its core, nothing more than a love story (tale) as old as time, isn’t out of all proportion. And I can’t help feeling that someone looking back on this year of "Fifty Shades of Grey" isn’t going to smile, if not laugh, at how exercised we became at this phenomena. On the other hand, I’m delighted that at last people feel safe reading, thinking and talking about sex. For a very long time now I have been amazed that while most adults, educators and parents are perfectly happy about their kids watching all sorts of horrific violence, they tend to panic as soon as a long kiss or, worse even, a naked body appears on a screen. How did we end up living in a society where brutal violence is acceptable but love scenes aren’t? I’ll stop this argument here since this is supposed to be a review of a book with views on FSoG, and just as I didn’t find many new or original opinions in this book I doubt that mine will shine any new light on the subject. Reading this book all in more or less one sitting is probably not a great idea. I did so because I got my copy for review and wanted to get my thoughts on “paper” as close to the publishing date as possible. In an ideal world though I’d be dipping in and out of this book; reading submissions from various sections as the mood strikes me before putting the book down again and getting back to it hours, days or even weeks later. I will probably end up doing that in the future anyway, especially the section at the end of the book where there a long list of titles mentioned can be found. As in the general media and in private conversations between friends, this book too has a lot of, at times very diverse, opinions on Fifty Shades of Grey, the story and the merits and or downfalls of it. This book does not give the reader the ultimate answer as to how to feel about Christian and Ana’s story. And let’s be grateful for that. I firmly believe that books while written by the author are told by the writer and reader in equal measure. Every reader brings their own background, believes, morals and emotions to a story. And as a result, every reader will take something different from that story. This is a good thing, a thing that should be applauded and embraced. I think it is safe to say that this book and I agree on at least one point: There is no right or wrong opinion about Fifty Shades of Grey, only every individual's personal one. My favourite quote (and I’ve got about ten pages of them) comes from Dr. Logan Levkoff and goes like this: “Do you know what is really demeaning to women? Telling us who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to turn on to.” And for me that can be the final word on this subject.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trader (RedHotBlueReads)

    Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey Synopsis: In Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, 50 writers—from romance and erotica authors, to real-world BDSM practitioners, to adult entertainment industry professionals—continue the conversation regarding the impact of the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey series from E.L. James. I have not read the Fifty Shades of Grey, and I doubt I will. I have been listening to the conversations regarding “mommy porn” and “pull to publish.” When I lo Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey Synopsis: In Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, 50 writers—from romance and erotica authors, to real-world BDSM practitioners, to adult entertainment industry professionals—continue the conversation regarding the impact of the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey series from E.L. James. I have not read the Fifty Shades of Grey, and I doubt I will. I have been listening to the conversations regarding “mommy porn” and “pull to publish.” When I looked at the list of contributors, I saw quite a few names I recognized and thought it might be interesting to see what they had to say about Fifty Shades of Grey. What would this group of writers have to say? Was it worth an entire book dedicated to talking more about this series and what it spawned? The essays in Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey offer insight into the popularity of the series by E.L. James and also talks about the issues of sexuality that have bubbled to the surface as a result. The best essays were those written by those writers having first-hand knowledge of the BDSM lifestyle. I also found the essays discussing what this series exposed regarding our acceptance of sexuality interesting. Most of the essays had some content of interest, and my favorite was from Susan Wright, titled Fifty Shades of Sexual Freedom. She struck a chord with me regarding sexual repression. She starts out by saying “There is a way to get the amazing sex you want, and it actually involves talking about it.” and wraps up with this. “Anything that gets people talking about sex-- not just sensationalizing it or making fun of it - is a good thing for Americans.” The essays are short, quick reads and perfect for reading a few at a time. This is not a book you pick up and read from start to finish, at least I didn’t. I could easily see this as a textbook in a sexuality or writing course. There was a nice selection of topics and opinions, although none of the contributors had anything controversial to say. And there was humor too. So overall, if you find the topics surrounding the Fifty Shades of Grey popularity interesting (BDSM, erotic romance, sexuality, fanfiction) and would like to read some well-reasoned, well-written essays on the matter, this book is a great start. It held my interest through all fifty essays. Thank you NetGalley and SmartPop for giving me the opportunity to read FIFTY WRITERS ON FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt Williams

    Read enough of this book to confirm what I originally thought. . .lame, shite and annoying. A book about a woman falling in love with a twisted creep (because he's business man in a suit that makes it alright then? Patrick Bateman. . . ) Full of meant to shock sex scenes, which are just lame btw. And full of bondage, sadomasochism, and general strange and weird shit. Sounds like it wouldn't be too bad, right? Yeah, well. . .it is. Now . . .I don't see anything wrong with people engaging in whate Read enough of this book to confirm what I originally thought. . .lame, shite and annoying. A book about a woman falling in love with a twisted creep (because he's business man in a suit that makes it alright then? Patrick Bateman. . . ) Full of meant to shock sex scenes, which are just lame btw. And full of bondage, sadomasochism, and general strange and weird shit. Sounds like it wouldn't be too bad, right? Yeah, well. . .it is. Now . . .I don't see anything wrong with people engaging in whatever types of sexual acts they like, but is this book not riddled with seedy manipulation? Therefore the underbelly of the sex itself is full of nothing but abused power? Grey's a dirt-bag, right? Yet the whole world seems to be obsessed with what quite frankly is just nothing more than a tame version of Patrick Bateman. If this book were about a college graduate and a drunk guy who lived in a trailer park, would there still be the appeal? Or would it be considered filth? And does this mean that if I ever become rich and successful, I can be a womanizing, manipulative, deviant sadist? Because that is the only message I am getting from this whole fad. Hate this book. HATE HATE HATE!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Betty Karl

    Disclaimer: This was the first book I won from Goodreads. Also, I had already read 50 Shades trilogy months ago - and I liked it. This book is a collection of essays by writers, most of whom are in the erotica writing/publishing community, analyzing the 50 Shades trilogy. I found most of the essays interesting, some went off on different directions and discussed BDSM more than the they did the story of Ana and Christian. One essay was a spoof of the trilogy, which I really thought was Disclaimer: This was the first book I won from Goodreads. Also, I had already read 50 Shades trilogy months ago - and I liked it. This book is a collection of essays by writers, most of whom are in the erotica writing/publishing community, analyzing the 50 Shades trilogy. I found most of the essays interesting, some went off on different directions and discussed BDSM more than the they did the story of Ana and Christian. One essay was a spoof of the trilogy, which I really thought was clever. One essay, written by a lawyer, analyzed the contract and what Ana should have asked for, and how Christian should have presented it. In all, this book was very readable (with just a few editing mistakes, but this is an advance copy), and I think if you liked any/all of the 50 Shades books, you'll enjoy this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Conrad

    I enjoyed this writers take on the Fifty Shades phenomena. No matter what your take on the "original" book is, this commentary was quite interesting. The opinions found in here are as varied as the ones on the net and other public venues. Some are are derogatory, and others sing high praises, others still, engage in true literary criticism. I'd not thought of Mr. Grey as a Byronic hero--but that idea certainly has merit. I was not able to finish the complete Fifty series, my incredibl I enjoyed this writers take on the Fifty Shades phenomena. No matter what your take on the "original" book is, this commentary was quite interesting. The opinions found in here are as varied as the ones on the net and other public venues. Some are are derogatory, and others sing high praises, others still, engage in true literary criticism. I'd not thought of Mr. Grey as a Byronic hero--but that idea certainly has merit. I was not able to finish the complete Fifty series, my incrediblity factor finally came into play, but I would reccommend this book to those who want to know about the cultural interplays that created the monster.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frieda

    I loved this book. I enjoyed read what everyones take was. Very interesting and informative.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    I came across a mention of this book in something else I was reading and decided to try it. I did try reading Fifty Shades of Grey when it was first becoming popular and didn't find it held my attention but I've wondered since whether I gave it a real chance. So I decided to read this book to see if I could understand why the book and in fact the trilogy has capture the public imagination in across the world. This collection of fifty people writing about why they think the Fifty Shade I came across a mention of this book in something else I was reading and decided to try it. I did try reading Fifty Shades of Grey when it was first becoming popular and didn't find it held my attention but I've wondered since whether I gave it a real chance. So I decided to read this book to see if I could understand why the book and in fact the trilogy has capture the public imagination in across the world. This collection of fifty people writing about why they think the Fifty Shades phenomenon is a good or a bad thing makes fascinating reading for anyone who likes reading books about books. There are thoughts from fellow erotica authors, romance authors, editors, literary agents and psychologists. All seem to agree that the fact the books have brought discussion of sex and relationships out into the open is a good thing. Many mention the aspects of the books which disturbed me - the way Christian attempts to control Ana outside the bedroom. I have always thought this was setting a bad example to young women. However it seems I may have misjudged the books in this respect. It is clear from reading this book that it doesn't advocate domestic violence and oppression of women but it is all too easy to see why this might have been people's first impression from reading about the books rather than reading the books themselves. I admit I may have fallen into the same trap and judged them on the basis of what I have read about the books rather than what I have read in them. I have come to the conclusion that maybe I didn't give the Fifty Shades trilogy a chance. My own inner goddess has decided to try reading the first one again.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Just received this in the mail today after winning it in the Goodreads contest- Haven't read very much of it yet. One of the first things I did was check out the Table of Contents. At the end is has "Appendix: At Least Fifty Books You Should Read". I immediately went to that section to see what was recommended and if I had already read some of them. Imagine my surprise when there were NO books listed. I sure hope they get that fixed before the final version goes on sale. Off Just received this in the mail today after winning it in the Goodreads contest- Haven't read very much of it yet. One of the first things I did was check out the Table of Contents. At the end is has "Appendix: At Least Fifty Books You Should Read". I immediately went to that section to see what was recommended and if I had already read some of them. Imagine my surprise when there were NO books listed. I sure hope they get that fixed before the final version goes on sale. Off to go read some more.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda L

    Sick of hearing about a badly written book that has no 'flow' and is boring to the max? Me too! Even reading at least one book every two days when I tried to keep up with the different genres while working as a Librarian (30 years), I have never been so bored with a novel. Let's hope that the hype is over!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kern Hough

    Ok I may be only one of a few men to read this book. I enjoyed the book but felt the actual writing could have been better. The ending left me feeling the author was leaving it open to do another book Or continue the story. Then again I've always been a sucker for a happy ending

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookworms

    *ARC received from Netgalley on October 7th 2012*

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Mccormick

    Oh my goodness! grey is demonic.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ynaz Dot

    Meehn. Ur one of kinda huh.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    This really is a must-read for the intellectually curious (yes, I just linked intellectual with Fifty Shades of Grey) who have read, and loved, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. When I first read Fifty Shades of Grey, it was the second book I had read in several, several years. Historically, I've been a read-for-eductional-purposes reader, or the very rare everyone-is-reading-it-so-I'm-now-curious-too book occasion. I had joined Audible to get an audio book for a vacation (I'm a big fan of liste This really is a must-read for the intellectually curious (yes, I just linked intellectual with Fifty Shades of Grey) who have read, and loved, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. When I first read Fifty Shades of Grey, it was the second book I had read in several, several years. Historically, I've been a read-for-eductional-purposes reader, or the very rare everyone-is-reading-it-so-I'm-now-curious-too book occasion. I had joined Audible to get an audio book for a vacation (I'm a big fan of listening to audiobooks while on a cruise...you can "read" and still take in all he sights), and had two credits left upon my return. I had listened to Gone Girl (one of those "everyone-is-reading-it" books, hence my selection of it...and it was AWESOME BTW) on the cruise, but was at a loss as to what to get next to use up my credits. A friend of mine had stumbled on Fifty Shades of Grey (it was still early in its release, so it hadn't hit the collective zeitgeist yet) and was intrigued with the contract aspect of the book (abstractly so...thinking it was a way should could maybe negotiate more chore work out of her husband), so I decided to use a credit on it. After my eyes nearly being stuck in a rolled-back position from rolling them so many times in the first third of the book, I almost returned it for credit...and then it took a turn for the engaging...and I was hooked. I subsequently bought the text version of the book (the audiobook narrator was AWEFUL) and have, to date, read the trilogy in full about 3-4 times. And, as a result, of both Gone Girl, and the new-to-me genre of Fifty Shades of Grey, I read about 175 books in the past year (that's audiobooks, e-books, and physical books, combined). I have kept my Audible membership active and have Kindle and the local library apps on my iphone; and have 2-3 books going at once. How could my interest in books have changed so radically? Honestly...my thought is this. Fifty Shades of Grey, or perhaps it is E. L. James, has done for readers/publishers what I think Martha Stewart did for Home Depot back in the 90s. It opened the customer up to the possibilities and introduced them to a world that was otherwise unknown to them. So, when I saw Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, I added it to my To Read list on Goodreads. I'd heard all that the media and internet had to say about why this book entered, and rooted itself, into the collective consciousness...but I still wanted more. Now that I've read many more books in the same erotic-romance genre, there were a ton of books, and good, fun reads too, that were every bit as good as Fifty, if not better...so why didn't they take off? Why didn't they shine the light on the breadth of other offerings out there as Fifty did? This book, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, addresses that, and so much more. It is educational reading though...so this really is for only the intellectually curious. And, not all essays are particularly engaging. And, some are annoying (one critical assessment in particular where it was clear the writer didn't read the trilogy very closely as there were a LOT of inaccuracies sited as reasons for their rationale). But, net-sum, this is a very engaging and enlightening read. At the end of the day, the short answer is, as with a lot of the unexplained...E.L. James and her trilogy just happened to be at the right place at the right time. But, there are a lot of little reasons, grounded in fact and cultural reality, that helped it take root. So, if you just can't seem to get this book out of your head. Or, if it's prompted you, much like me and some of my friends, to go on a book-reading odyssey for more emotionally-driven smut, you might want to take a break from the fantasy and fiction and see what some really smart folks have to say about this phenomenon.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    from the library every time I get this, I read a few more chapters/essays and I like it even better. Contents: Introduction: Fifty ways to look at fifty shades / by Lori Perkins -- Between the covers / by M.J. Rose -- This is the story / by Tiffany Reisz -- The game changer / by M. Christian -- Fifty shades of change / by Louise Fury -- The brown paper bag / by Sylvia Day -- Labels, schmabels, Ill take the publicity! / by Lucy Felthouse -- Porn writer on the PTA / by Rachel Kenl from the library every time I get this, I read a few more chapters/essays and I like it even better. Contents: Introduction: Fifty ways to look at fifty shades / by Lori Perkins -- Between the covers / by M.J. Rose -- This is the story / by Tiffany Reisz -- The game changer / by M. Christian -- Fifty shades of change / by Louise Fury -- The brown paper bag / by Sylvia Day -- Labels, schmabels, Ill take the publicity! / by Lucy Felthouse -- Porn writer on the PTA / by Rachel Kenley -- Is Fifty shades erotica? / by D.L. King -- It's all in the eyes / by Marci Hirsch -- The Byronic hero archetype and Christian Grey / by Jennifer Sanzo -- Grey is the new black / by Katharine Sands -- Because love hurts / by Hope Tarr -- Every breath you take / by Jennifer Armintrout -- Fifty shades of play / by Judith Regan -- Forbidden fruit is the sweetest / by Suzan Colón -- Fifty ways of looking at sex in Fifty shades / by Hilda Hutcherson -- The McDonald's of lust / by Lois Gresh -- Crass is in session / by Rakesh Satyal -- Sexual empowerment at the water cooler / by Selina Fire -- Fifty shades of women / by Heather Graham -- Fifty shades of snark / by Midori -- Kink and condescension / by Rachel Kramer Bussel -- A queer leather reluctant support of Fifty shades / by Sassafras Lowrey -- The history of BDSM fiction and romance / by Sarah S.G. Frantz -- The legal bonding of Anastasia and Christian / by Sherri Donovan -- Wanted : fifty shades of sexual wholeness / by Debra Hyde -- A requested evaluation of the mastery of Christian Grey / by Master R -- The collar of blue stones / by Pamela Madsen -- Being stretched / by Katherine Ramsland -- Whose shades of Grey? / by Sinnamon Love -- A BDSM couple's view / by ChrisMarks and Lia Leto -- Fifty shades of sexual freedom / by Susan Wright -- The delicate balance / by Ryan Field -- Was it good for you? / by Catherine Hiller -- The story is in the sex / by Joy Daniels -- Sexually positive / by Stacey Agdern -- My inner goddess / by Megan Frampton -- Fifty shades of holy crap! / by Laura Antoniou -- Fifty shades of stories / by Cecilia Tan -- Editing fifty / by Tish Beaty -- Throwing shade / by Mala Bhattacharjee -- When fifty was fic / by Anne Jamison -- Fifty shades is where you find it / by Marc Shapiro -- How I lost Christian Grey at auction / by Editor X -- Making fifty shades into cinema / by Angela Edwards -- Fifty shades of Grace Metaliou / by Andrew Shaffer -- Fifty shades of diva frenzy! / by Lyss Stern -- Imagining a black fifty shades / by Arielle Loren -- The professional poster child / by Logan Levkoff -- Raising the shades / by Melissa Febos.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    Read other book reviews at Book Junkie Joint. This book is a collection of thoughts from fifty erotica writers, and their take on E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy. Though the way they told their stories were different from each other, all fifty erotic romance writers share the same trail of thoughts: E.L. James’ hugely popular Fifty Shades trilogy widened the avenue for erotic romance novels to seek out audiences. This book is informative and insightful. It narrated the s Read other book reviews at Book Junkie Joint. This book is a collection of thoughts from fifty erotica writers, and their take on E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy. Though the way they told their stories were different from each other, all fifty erotic romance writers share the same trail of thoughts: E.L. James’ hugely popular Fifty Shades trilogy widened the avenue for erotic romance novels to seek out audiences. This book is informative and insightful. It narrated the story of fifty erotica writers way before E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy became such a hit. This book presented their struggles and their initial brush with erotic romances which ultimately spurred their love for the genre. They also openly shared their experiences on meeting people who were a little too uncomfortable about erotic novels, and how the Fifty Shades trilogy became a game-changer. Some of the writers also discussed Christian Grey, the world’s most favorite sadist, and why he is adored by millions. They also provided their input on why characters like him were a huge hit with the readers world-wide. Aside from bringing spotlight to a largely frowned upon erotica genre, the Fifty Shades trilogy also revolutionized the publishing industry through its effective use of e-publishing and social media. And through this book, fifty writers explained just how much of an innovation was caused by one “mommy porn” book which was frowned upon and sneered at first, but ultimately sold millions of copies world-wide. Also, some writers in this book – mostly women – attributed the success of the Fifty Shades trilogy due to the sexual awakening of women around the world. It’s a repercussion of many women’s unexpressed opinions, views and fantasies about sex and sensuality. Perhaps, it could be because many women are more open to the discussion of sex today as compared before. If you’re expecting to read a collection of fifty erotic short stories, then you’d be hugely disappointed. This book is not it. I guess, the thing is, although this book was banking on the popularity of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, this book is vastly different. It is an expression of the story and struggles of fifty erotica writers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Goldberg Wilks

    I received an Advance Review Copy of Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, edited by Lori Perkins. I found a fair number of errors remaining in the book - a distracting stumbling block for an OCD comma (and other grammar) perfectionist like me. Although the Table of Contents suggested thought out, orderly presentation of the materials, for the most part, there did not appear to be much organization or flow in the presentation of the different essays. In addition, a number I received an Advance Review Copy of Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, edited by Lori Perkins. I found a fair number of errors remaining in the book - a distracting stumbling block for an OCD comma (and other grammar) perfectionist like me. Although the Table of Contents suggested thought out, orderly presentation of the materials, for the most part, there did not appear to be much organization or flow in the presentation of the different essays. In addition, a number of the included entries left me wondering why those particular essays had been included and what those essays were supposed to add to this collection. Nonetheless, a few of the essays were informative and even enjoyable. These "pearls" built upon the little knowledge I had attained from reading the Fifty Shades trilogy. The Fifty Shades trilogy basically was my introduction to BDSM. Perkins's collection helped me learn how realistic parts of Fifty Shades were or were not; the collection went further and taught me more about the who and how and why associated with the BDSM lifestyle. Perkins's collection also introduced me to the wide world of fanfic. As a newbie to fanfic, I learned a great deal about this world that has, unbeknownst to me, been evolving all around me, including, inter alia, the relationships between the Fifty Shades trilogy,its fan fiction version, "Master of the Universe", and the original fiction from which that derived, namely the "Twilight" series. Questions about literature versus pop-culture, fanfic as its own genre, and whether fanfic can even be considered literature were particularly thought provoking. I enjoyed Anne Jamison's consideration of these issues: "If genre fiction is something like literature's ugly cousin (from literature's point of view), and romance is sci-fi, fantasy, and detective fiction's annoying girl cousin, a tag-a-long picked last for the team, then fan fiction has long been the ugly cousins' stepfamily's misshapen mixed-breed dog, the one everyone is too ashamed to let out in public but unable to quite put down or even neuter." (ARC p. 235) Even I had to laugh at this! There are a handful of quality, helpful, and thought provoking essays in Perkins's compilation; the question is whether it is worth slogging through the remainder of the essays to find these pearls.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Xenomantid

    N.B. In this case, the "someone else's porn" shelf refers to the text around which the anthology revolves. One otherwise ordinary day at the library, I approached this book as Pandora did that mysterious box all those millennia ago. Imagining but not truly knowing what lay inside, I plucked this book from its shelf, took it home...and opened the pages. Unlike Pandora, I didn't unleash a plague of evils upon the world. (At least, I don't think I did.) I did, however, come fa N.B. In this case, the "someone else's porn" shelf refers to the text around which the anthology revolves. One otherwise ordinary day at the library, I approached this book as Pandora did that mysterious box all those millennia ago. Imagining but not truly knowing what lay inside, I plucked this book from its shelf, took it home...and opened the pages. Unlike Pandora, I didn't unleash a plague of evils upon the world. (At least, I don't think I did.) I did, however, come face-to-face with some terrible pieces of writing. To be fair, this book, like most anthologies, is a mixed bag rather than a casserole of rage, contempt, and despair. The book's cover copy seems to imply that the essays within are advertisements for E.L. James's inexplicably successful trilogy of pornographic, misogynistic fan fiction, but that's not exactly the case. A few contributions made me want to smack the nearest organism in the face (the third piece in particular would have had me reaching for a second vodka cooler if I didn't have a code against drinking booze twice in one day), but several of the pieces actually had merit. One chronicled the development of sadomasochistic literature, including Justine (naturally) and the less infamous but frequently shunned Gor novels. Another explained fan fiction for the innocent forty- and fifty-somethings who wanted to learn about the origins of their current guilty pleasure. My favorite piece was not an essay, but a parody of the books themselves. In this short story, a woman who resembles a living Barbie doll but is insecure in her appearance attracts a predatory businessman who is forever unsatisfied with his sexual relationships. I pictured this guy as John Norman (who looks as you would expect him to), which added to the hilarity quotient. Your reactions may differ, of course. Mine differed all throughout the book. This recommendation is quantum. In other words, some pieces you'll probably hate, but others will be worth your time. Yes, you can say that of most anthologies, but here the scale tends toward the extremes of both ends. (Seriously, the third piece could make a person of less impulse control pop a blood vessel.)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

    E. L. James created a firestorm with her online story “Master of the Universe”, a fanfic she freely admitted was based on the popular “Twilight” couple, Bella and Edward. When she decided to package it for sale as “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the amount of attention garnered was no less staggering. “Fifty Shades of Grey” was instantly appealing. Now the trilogy is no longer merely books. It is a cultural and social phenomenon that has united people across the globe in furious discussion, debate, onli E. L. James created a firestorm with her online story “Master of the Universe”, a fanfic she freely admitted was based on the popular “Twilight” couple, Bella and Edward. When she decided to package it for sale as “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the amount of attention garnered was no less staggering. “Fifty Shades of Grey” was instantly appealing. Now the trilogy is no longer merely books. It is a cultural and social phenomenon that has united people across the globe in furious discussion, debate, online and real live fantasizing. The fifty writers in this anthology share what James’s books have done for them. They write in intelligent and piercing detail about what they think the trilogy has to convey, its likely impact on society and its decided impact on them. Is Christian Grey a dangerous stalker or the ultimate romantic hero? Is Anastasia Steele an improbable naïf or a cunning submissive who tops from the bottom? Are all these books liberating for females or do they convey a perilous message about abuse from males being acceptable in relationships? Have these books opened healthy interest in BDSM or do they show an erroneous, warped view of an alternative lifestyle? Arguments are made for and against these books and, if you haven’t read them, these cogent, in-depth essays are the next best thing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Thanks to the publisher and goodreads for a free copy! So, let's get this out of the way first: I think 50 Shades of Grey has exactly zero redeeming qualities. But there are also a lot of issues surrounding 50 Shades that are so important to talk about (such as abusive relationship dynamics) or fascinating (like the legal implications of publishing fanfic). And I bring this up because much as I'd like to be totally neutral and write my review of 50 Writers... in a bubble, t Thanks to the publisher and goodreads for a free copy! So, let's get this out of the way first: I think 50 Shades of Grey has exactly zero redeeming qualities. But there are also a lot of issues surrounding 50 Shades that are so important to talk about (such as abusive relationship dynamics) or fascinating (like the legal implications of publishing fanfic). And I bring this up because much as I'd like to be totally neutral and write my review of 50 Writers... in a bubble, that's not going to happen. 50 Writers... is pretty much what it says on the tin: a bunch of essays by a variety of people about 50 Shades of Grey. Some of them I was fascinated with, some of them I skimmed, some of them I thought were insulting. Total mixed bag. And here's where my bias creeps in: I didn't like the essays about why people love the series, or why it's so awesome and liberating for women. For all I know, these could be phenomenal essays, but my reaction is a firm no. I don't want to hear about it. The stuff about the publishing? About fanfic? About misrepresentations of bdsm? Those were so interesting to read. So, basically, this was a good collection of essays. I didn't like all of them, but that's what I've come to expect from an anthology. And I'm biased here: I would have liked this book a lot more were I a 50 Shades fan.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carole-Ann

    Fifty writers and fifty clearly different viewpoints! A series of essays about 50SoG with contributors varying from authors to editors, from sex therapists to lawyers, from literary agents to Fanfic contributors/leaders. The whole gamut of a rainbow of opinion - and I loved it!! Yes, there were one or two slightly boring essays, but this was only in comparison with the others in the book; but the majority were interesting without being repetitive, and whether loving or hating 50SoG, t Fifty writers and fifty clearly different viewpoints! A series of essays about 50SoG with contributors varying from authors to editors, from sex therapists to lawyers, from literary agents to Fanfic contributors/leaders. The whole gamut of a rainbow of opinion - and I loved it!! Yes, there were one or two slightly boring essays, but this was only in comparison with the others in the book; but the majority were interesting without being repetitive, and whether loving or hating 50SoG, the information/viewpoints conveyed were totally engrossing. I laughed out loud at Laura Antoniou's parody; I wanted to fall to my knees while reading Master R; and I wanted to applaud Sarah Frantz's impeccable research. Andrew Shaffer brought back to mind something from 50 (yes! 50) years ago; Jennifer Sanzo's 'Byronic' archetype made me squirm (a little); Cecelia Tan couldn't be bettered; and I could go on all day.....but I won't. Just saying: different opinions, well thought out and put down; some excellent imagery; and some really beautiful writing! Many thanks to Lori Perkins for bringing this all together!

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