Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fifty Shades of Not Happening

Whenever a book craze sweeps the nation, I feel compelled to check it out. Sometimes I am disappointed, as in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Other times, I am reasonably satisfied, as in the Twilight series or The Hunger Games trilogy. And of course, there was that one time that reading an intensely popular novel changed my life and planted me smack in front of the bandwagon, waving the flag of fandom. (I refer, of course, to Harry Potter, which is the most popular series of all time for a REASON.) So when I started hearing all the hoopla about Fifty Shades of Grey, I thought I'd see what the fuss was about. I went to Amazon and, after noting that the first three books in the series are at the top of the fiction bestseller list, checked out the reviews.

I usually take book reviews with a pretty big grain of salt. Yes, I'm aware that's a bit of an odd statement from someone who reviews books, but I've always said that you are all welcome to either take my opinions or leave them, with or without salt. All reviewers have a taste preference and a frame of reference, and one or two overly negative or overly positive reviews rarely sway me in either direction. But the top review on Amazon today for Fifty Shades of Grey was so well-written and mentioned so many of my personal reading pet peeves that I just had to pay attention. Here's what it said:

Fifty Shades Amazon Review

For the first time ever, I was completely convinced not to read a book on the strength of one review. This reviewer was sensible, funny and critical. The flaws he/she described are exactly the flaws I most despise: unbelievable characters, constant repetition, and lack of literary prowess. I almost felt like I'd read the book already and written the review myself.

For those of you who have read the book(s) and had a different take, I'd be interested in your opinion. Or, conversely, if anyone is disappointed that I am shutting the door on these books and wants me to read them, I'll try to suffer through. I'm sure I could find some redeeming quality; I always manage to find something. But I don't see the point in torturing myself with poor writing when there's so much wonderful, less recognized writing out there.

While I'm on that subject, does anyone HAVE any recommendations for well-written books? I've hit another dry spell. I further searched the Amazon Kindle store for something new to read, and found nothing to interest me. I think a browsing trip to Barnes & Noble is in order over this long weekend.

Happy Memorial Day weekend to everyone in the States!


  1. Another well written post! I am planning to read Fifty Shades of Grey as soon as I'm done with my current book. Give me a few days and I will gladly give you my spin. In the meantime, have you read A Discovery of Witches? Sort of like a more grown up Twilight. I'm about halfway through and enjoying it so far!

  2. I read the first book of the trilogy and it left me with such a cliffhanger that I MUST read the rest - even though I can (basically) figure out what's going to happen. Once I finish the trilogy, I'll let you know how I found it. But I do say this: don't read it in a public place, unless it's on a Kindle. The book cover alone causes random ladies to come up to you and comment on what a great book you're reading, and it's always during one of the steamier scenes.