“Fifty Shades of Grey,” a book about steamy, transgressive sex, has Hollywood turning 50 shades of hot.
It seems like forever since Hollywood has gotten this sweaty over a title. For women. About sex.
A bidding war has broken out over the e-book by British television writer E.L. James, which has raced up The New York Times best-seller list. It tells the story of a college student, Anastasia Steele, who finds herself in a sexual relationship with a 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey that involves submission, sadomasochism and a lot of hot hoochy-koochy.
“My heartbeat quickens, and my face flushes again,” the protagonist confesses after meeting billionaire Grey in a Vancouver office. “Why does he have such an unnerving effect on me? His overwhelming good looks maybe? The way his eyes blaze at me? The way he strokes his index finger against his lower lip? I wish he’d stop doing that.”
Think “9 ½ Weeks” meets “The Social Network.”
Sony’s co-chairman Amy Pascal herself pitched the studio’s bid for rights to make a movie from the book this week. And almost every other major studio has gone after the rights too, including Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers and Fox 2000.
Everyone is using what leverage they have to convince the author that they are right for the material. At Paramount, executives reportedly put together a video with female executives extolling the virtues of the book. At Universal, production chief Donna Langley led the charge.
Why? “There’s something going on with this book that we haven’t seen in a long time,” said a veteran producer, who hopes to make the film. “It seems to be the demographic that hasn’t responded to a book like this in a long time. It’s the first of its kind, about s&m, bondage, power. It could be a big title.” ...
Before even hosting its first members-only get-together, a rumored swingers club has been evicted for failure to pay rent, a landlord says.
Minglers Social Club raised eyebrows at the Government Center in Viera with its proposal to renovate the old Riverside Bank building off State Road 520 and host weekend soirées.
Described in zoning applications as a “banquet hall,” the site plan depicted a dance floor, bar, stage, DJ booth, five carpeted offices and a private conference room featuring twin 7-by-7-foot platforms — but no kitchen facilities.
Interior remodeling began. But Minglers officials failed to pay rent this month, said Ralph Perrone, the building owner. He served an eviction notice on March 5, and the tenant turned in the keys Wednesday.
“They ran out of money. They pulled a building permit and they did some construction inside the building. They even bought a limo before they had the doors open,” Perrone said.
Thursday afternoon, the Merritt Island Redevelopment Agency was scheduled to discuss the alleged swingers club. Rather, no debate occurred.
“I just didn’t think that was an appropriate place,” said Greg Lugar, the redevelopment agency’s executive director. “It’s not just the family restaurants, but there’s a dance studio for kids next to it. There’s a lot of traffic in that area.”
Lugar said he was unsure whether swingers clubs are even legal on the Space Coast. ...
Publishing has a new unlikely heroine: an unknown author named E L James who recently scored a seven-figure book deal with Vintage Books to publish her erotica trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey.
Brimming with purple prose and racy imagery, the series had already sold more than 250,000 eBook and paperback copies through Australia's Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing. The New York Times ran a photograph of the book on a shelf at Watchung Booksellers, where a tag tantalized readers: "Yes, this is THE book everybody is talking about."
The buzz has catapulted the book to No. 1 on the New York Times paperback best-seller list, but there's one thing no one is talking about — the origins of this kinky best-seller and its implications for the industry.
The book emerged from the steamy land of fan fiction, an online community of readers who write unauthorized extensions of their favorite stories. On FanFiction.net, readers have produced a mind-boggling mountain of work: 583,000 free Harry Potter stories, 197,000 free Twilight stories and 46,000 free Lord of the Rings stories. ...
50 Shades of Grey may not revolutionize porn, romance, chick-lit, or literature. But this one-click wonder is the future of how we’ll read.
The Daily Beast
Just days ago, an agent, editor, book critic, and literary blogger sat around a table at a private downtown club, discussing the book no one had heard of. “And I told my cousin, there is no bestselling book I don’t know,” said the agent, laughing, who is celebrated for getting her stable of literary authors big advances with all the best imprints. “But I was wrong.”
Every so often a manuscript, like an impudent toddler, rises on unsteady feet and toddles onto the bestseller list without so much as a by-your-leave to that ignorant publishing foursome. Such a work is E.L. James’s 50 Shades of Grey, which, out of a teeny e-publishing community in Australia, managed the neat trick of vaulting to the top of the New York Times e-book and print bestseller lists, garnering a seven-figure deal from Vintage, and leaving readers clamoring for the as-yet-unpublished rest of the trilogy, all without ever being in print in the United States at all.
From Twilight to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to The Lost Carolina Finger Club (I made that last one up), we’ve come to expect our bestsellers to rise from obscure circumstances. Only The New Yorker’s nonfiction scribes are allowed to churn out blockbusters from a known address. But readers who found the popularity of those Swedish sext-hack-repeat sagas somewhat mystifying may have an even harder time with Shades of Grey. ...
As far as anybody can tell, the women of Long Island found it first, around Thanksgiving.
During their Christmas vacations, they carried it by Kindle to Boca and possibly Aruba, and from there, it ripped its way through Jersey and then the nation's e-readers before landing last week at the very top of the New York Times best-seller list for combined print and e-book sales.
It's Fifty Shades of Grey, the sexual-bondage romance novel from first-time author E.L. James, a married British TV executive and mother of two, that's been steaming up e-book readers since its digital publication in May and is about to be released as a trilogy in paperback form, with a first run of 750,000 copies.
As Anastasia Steele, the young, innocent college-student heroine of the megahit might say - and does say when pondering the imminent loss of her virginity early on in the story: "Holy Cow!"
So, holy cow. What's the big deal if women dig a highly charged and breathlessly trashy read? Haven't romance-novel enthusiasts debated the merits of the BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadomasochism) subgenre since time immemorial? Has no man (or woman) ever blushed at passages of Sabbath's Theater, or any other Philip Roth book? Or Mary Gaitskill's bondage tale "Secretary"? Does no one remember The Story of O? Madame Bovary? The biblical Song of Songs?
Maybe it's the book's origin as a fan-fiction riff on Bella and Edward of the Twilight series. Maybe it's the commercial success of a novel (more than 250,000 copies sold so far, most in e-book form) that Vintage, a Random House division, spent a seven-figure sum to acquire from a small Australian publishing house. Or maybe it's just a good, lusty read. ...
The story is about a virgin college student, Anastasia Steele, who meets the handsome and wealthy Christian Grey. The two engage in a complicated relationship that involves some pretty graphic carnal knowledge (think bondage, dominance, etc.).
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Romance genre experts are somewhat bemused to see "Fifty Shades of Grey" cause such a stir, as this type of story -- BDSM moments included -- has been done before.
Audrey Goodson, an associate editor at RT Book Reviews, read and reviewed the first book in James' trilogy. She said she "really enjoyed" it and gave it a thumbs-up.
That being said, she described the book as "pretty standard" for its type and pointed out that the plot (ie, young virgin meets really hot and rich dude) isn't exactly exclusive to the story, as readers can find variations of that same plot in many a romance novel.
"In a lot of ways it's a standard romance story with a lot of erotic elements," Goodson said. "It's kind of funny that it's caught on to the degree it has." ...
Ok, I didn’t read the entire book, but I did do a hopscotch through the sex scenes and, on the basis of the naughty parts alone, I can understand why folks are getting hot and bothered.
The book I’m referring to, of course, is “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the first in an erotic trilogy by E.L. James that melds kinky sex with romance. The novel has been selling like hot cakes and is causing quite a stir due to the explicit scenes of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM).
“Fifty Shades of Grey” has put the words "bondage erotica” into the mainstream, according to Rachel Kramer Bussel, a writer and editor of more than 40 anthologies of erotica, including “Best Bondage Erotica 2012.”
“It has shown that you don’t have to be a certain type of person to enjoy erotic fiction, and you certainly don’t have to be a BDSM practitioner to enjoy reading about it,” she says.
“That’s the biggest misconception about erotica in general. Some people may read a book of spanking erotica and be intrigued and want to try it. Or maybe they’re curious and seek out erotica as a way to test the waters. But there’s nothing wrong with enjoying and appreciating fantasy as fantasy.”
Some readers and cultural critics have opined that BDSM themes may be particularly relevant to today’s women, many of whom may have power in the workplace but would like to potentially relinquish some in the bedroom. Conversely the book could also appeal to stay-at-home moms who are so busy taking care of the kids – and everything else for that matter – that they long for more TLC for themselves (even of the not-so tender kind).
But does the success of “Fifty Shades” lie in its contemporary relevance, or its timeless universality? In 1958, “Story of O” caused a firestorm of controversy with similar erotic themes, and in 1994, Anne Rice published a trilogy based on “Sleeping Beauty,” which also explored BDSM themes. ...