Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James It took me two days to read this. Normally it would take me a little more than a hour to read something like this but I insisted on reading large portions of it to my wife. She did not take to this favorably. Any pleasure from listening to me read god-awful prose and explicit sexual phrases wore off quickly (although I'm sure I did a much better job than Gilbert Gottlieb did). At first, she would try to ignore me. Then she made threats to hit me if I continue, although the irony of this quickly became obvious. Then legal action was suggested, something about irreconcilable literary differences. By this point, I was finished so we have agreed to forget and not tell anyone about it...except for the legions of readers inhabiting Goodreads.

The one thing we agreed on was Fifty Shades of Grey is not very erotic nor is it very good. It is certainly poor fiction. Most of the tension of this story comes not from the sex but from the conflict of feelings and values between Anna and Grey. That may sound promising but unfortunately they are very boring people, both irreparably caught up in their own selfishness. The plot shifts back and forth from cardboard soap opera to self-adsorbed loathing. Some reviewers have likened this to Story of O, but I don't see it. "O" is more of an intense journey by one woman into her psyche...,an psychological horror story if you wish. Fifty Shades quickly descends into silly.

Yes, I know about this book's origin as Twilight fan fiction. I disliked Twilight for many of the same if more family oriented reasons. Both Cullen's and Grey's "Don't love me. I'll only hurt you." becomes ridiculous quickly. But maybe this is part of their allure. They are bad boys but they need fixing. The fantasy of kissing a toad who becomes a prince remains alive within these pages.

So I will not continue with this series. Yet it has occurred to me that I might read some of A.N. Roquelaure's Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty aloud to my wife. That should be fun!