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E.L. James: Fifty Shades of Grey

Discussion in 'Romance Books' started by Anamnesis, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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  2. canuck

    canuck Active Member

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    Hi Peder: Do you think these books will be remembered 10 years from now?
     
  3. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    I really haven't the faintest idea. I could make a guess which would be tremendously pleasing to all the people bashing it, but I won't. I think it still deserves a decent (meaning fair and informative) review which I haven't yet seen. Lacking that, I don't wish to contribute a single small pebble to the stoning that his book and its author are getting.
     
  4. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    With respect specifically to 10 years, Canuck. Do you remember any of these?

    Lady Chatterly's Lover (1928)
    Tropic of Cancer (1934)
    Studs Lonigan (1935)
    Tropic of Capricorn (1938)
    Forever Amber (1944)
    Peyton Place (1956)
    Last Exit to Brooklyn (1965)
    Valley of Dolls (1966)
    Delta of Venus (1978)
    Story of O (1981)

    Will 50 Shades of Grey (2012) be remembered in 10 years?

    I would say, "Easily."
     
  5. canuck

    canuck Active Member

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    Hello again Peder: I remember Lady C's Lover, and I think I read Forever Amber although for the life of me I can't remember anything about it except its title, also I think Tropic of Capricorn, again can't remember anything about the book. Lady C's tryst with the gardener and the daisy chains is about all I remember of that one. So I don't know what that tells you - maybe I just have a poor memory or maybe the books weren't all that memorable? Wasn't Peyton Place a television series that people looked forward to and had a delicious giggle about - all very naughty! Anyway, hardly matters what I remember as the books I mentioned were books of my youth anyway and I don't read romance novels unless the romance inadvertently creeps into a thriller I'm reading. So I may well remember the 50 Shades titles but will not know anything else about the books not having read them. So no stone throwing from me - not entitled to unless having read them although I must say I didn't find anything in the way of "hate" in any of the reviews either in the newspaper or in this thread.
     
  6. canuck

    canuck Active Member

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    Just a little postscript Peder: If 50 Shades is remembered 10, 20, 30 years from now do you think it will be remembered for literary excellence, its salacious content or the great readership it appears to have generated?
     
  7. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Hi Canuck. Googling for "hate" has been very educational, and looking at the wikipedia entry for "hatred" equally so. The possible definitions are numerous, depending upon the philosopher speaking (including "undefinable") but I find my use to be within the realm of acceptable usage for many of the posts and opinions I have seen. Quoting Wikipedia, Rene Descartes, for example, viewed hatred
    "as an awareness that something is bad combined with an urge to withdraw from it."​

    I think that fairly summarizes the pejorative nature of many posts I have seen which also refuse to have anything to do with reading the book.

    If you would like some other word, I would be glad to hear your suggestion(s).

    Cheers
    Peder
     
  8. canuck

    canuck Active Member

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    Thanks Peder - no further suggestions.
     
  9. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry to hear you've changed your mind about the review I posted. What can I add to it to make it more fair and informative, assuming "fair and informative" doesn't simply mean "positive"?

    I'm surprised, though; googling "Fifty shades of grey review" gets me 74 300 000 hits. You'd think one or two would be up to snuff. Sad state of affairs, really.
     
  10. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Well, Beer Good, first of all, no, "fair" does not mean positive.

    Second, you read the book before I did and I thought it was a good documentation of your negative reactions to it. Since your review, I have read the book and come away with rather different impressions of it than your review had led me to believe. To mention a few, which I would call positive aspects of James' writing:

    a. The story does have a plot and does develop dramatic tension during its telling. I've already commented on that.

    b. There are two characters, differently delineated with different personalities and different wishes.

    c. Since almost everyone remarks on poor, boring and repetitious writing, I will observe that the author seems to have created two different vocabularies for her two main characters. For two simple examples, "Holy cow" is what Ana says (frequently), "f--k" is more like Christian's choice of expletive.

    So I think the author has put more care into creating her story and differentiating her characters than immediately meets the eye.

    The short form is that your review conveyed a much more negative view of the book than I found when I finally read it.

    Two people reading the same book and reacting differently?

    --

    AIE: Re 74 million hits. Do you really expect that I have looked at each of them and not found a single one up to snuff? I hope we can agree that your posts and mine are only made in the context of our own experiences and what we have seen, read and experrienced.
     
  11. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    Of course I don't expect you to have read all 74 million hits. But since you're the one who's spent a significant portion of this thread lamenting the lack of reviews that meet your criteria, I was just curious which ones you'd looked at; it seems to me that with that many to choose from, you'd be able to find at least one.

    I agree with the annoyingly repetitive overuse of both "Holy cow" and "****", though.
     
  12. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    I don't record my wanderings through the realm. I frequent the New York Times, Washington Post and, nowadays, The Guardian; plus Barnes and Noble (two locations), Bay Books in Bay St Louis MS, Page and Palette in Fairhope AL; the local library sale and occasionally a few other forums and newsletters. I have only seen one tolerant review, amid a number of otherwise negative reviews, plus an amazing number of people commenting negatively on the book and refusing to read it based on hearsay from others, who themselves may or may not have read the book. It is fair to say that, on this usual circuit of mine I have never heard such sneering tumult about a single book. Not even Harry Potter or DaVinci Code. When I went looking on the NYT for their review (doing my homework), I found that they seem to have elected not to review it. Instead one of their regular op-ed writers (Dowd) wrote a nearly vacuous piece which they labeled Opinion. Would "snubbed it" be the right words?

    If I lament, as you say, then I truly do lament the nature of the response to this book. If it were organized it would amount to a smear campaign designed to suppress both the book and its author. But, unorganized, it still mounts up to an uproar unprecedented in my experience. I would suppose you are familiar with Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. If so, call it a mania if you will; I think it has the earmarks -- among both critics and buyers, I might add. They don't seem to influence one another it seems.

    You comment on the number of posts of mine on this thread. Is there something wrong with that? Shall I not? Why not? It seems to me it is a continuing discussion which mirrors the general interest in this book, and I don't think I have been repetitious.

    Finally, perhaps you have come across positive reviews that I have missed, pro that you are. I'd be interested in seeing them. Surely you know how to provide a link, or links. And you must be more in touch with the buzz on the street than I am.
     
  13. Fantasy Moon

    Fantasy Moon kickbox

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    Someone posted a snapshot of one of the pages of this book and it's been making the rounds at Tumblr. I honestly can't stop laughing when I read this excerpt.

    Since this book started life out as a Twilight fanfiction, do you think people are going to assume that all fanfiction is like this?
     
  14. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anything about Twilight or fanfiction. Where would you position it? :confused:
     
  15. Fantasy Moon

    Fantasy Moon kickbox

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    I read fanfiction and even write it so I would be disappointed (but probably not surprised) if everyone assumed it was all like this. But this is going on the bit that I read from the novel, which isn't the entire picture I know. Still...
     
  16. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    It seems to have broken through into a new level of erotica (judging from all the excitement) so I would expect there to be more look-alikes and wannabes coming along. Already another one (Bared for You) can be seen on the same bookracks as Fifty Shades -- the new revolution in literature. I don't know whether :sick: or not. The world will survive. :eek: Even this
    . . . . . . . I think.
     
  17. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    Peder,

    1. Of course I don't mean to tell you how often you may or may not comment on a book. I was simply wondering, since you kept asking if there were any "fair and informative" - or for that matter "positive", as per your last question above - reviews, I was curious about where you'd already looked, since it seems to me that a book that's talked about this extensively must have any number of reviews available. So thank you for answering that question. For the record, I have seen a few positive reviews; if you want, I'll see if I can find them again, though personally I didn't find them any more convincing than I did the positive reviews of the source material (ie Twilight).

    2. I do agree that there's a limit to how much you can say about a book without having read it, or at least read quotes from it, which is one of the reasons I did read it. That said, I also think there's a limit to how much you can read into people's motivations for doing something without knowing them personally, and personally I wouldn't dismiss people's motives as "hate", "mania" and "organized smear campaigns" when they just think they're having a laugh at the expense of a very poorly written novel. When you put something into the public - ie "publish" it - you invite people's opinions on it. And as you say, people's opinions will differ.

    3. As for no other book in the history of literature having been mocked like this, I can only say that our experiences differ on that point; then again, it's fairly rare for a book of such poor quality to become a phenomenon on this level. It's in the nature of the Internet that you find what you look for, and I'm sure if you look through the thread for, say, The Da [sic]* Vinci Code on this forum alone, you'd find far more mocking and "hate" for it, as indeed you would for any number of other pop culture phenomena ranging from Oprah Winfrey to the band Creed, and writing acerbic reviews of works you found lacking is hardly a new pastime.

    *[sic] directed at Dan Brown, not you.

    4. You've asked me in the past not to respond to your posts, and for the most part I haven't since I've no interest in a personal feud. That said, I do find the 50 Shades Of Grey phenomenon interesting on several levels - in terms of how bad a novel it is, yes, but also for what its success says about the situation of (self-)publishing at the moment, and shall continue to post in this thread. I do prefer to play the ball rather than the player, though, so if I step out of line, please forgive me.

    I hope we can agree to disagree on those terms.
     
  18. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I would characterize my request to you exactly as you do, but no matter. I hope that we can continue to talk on a friendly level, and I think you put the phrase better than I could possibly have. I too prefer to play the ball and not the player and am prepared to follow a discussion along on those terms. I get irritated when an on-topic remark of mine is met with personal insult in return, as maybe you do too. So maybe if we each try to keep our eye on the ball we can coexist peacefully for a long time to come on this forum. That at least would be my hope.

    Now, with regard to your post itself.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond in such an informative fashion. And thank you for mentioning that you had seen positive reviews. Truly, that is news to me. Please don't feel an obligation to spend an inordinate amount of time finding them for me; the mere knowledge that any such exist will provide motivation for me to keep my eyes wider open. But thank you for your offer.

    PS I think we can find terms on which we both agree, without having to agree to disagree, but perhaps it is best to try to leave this discussion now as it is, on this hopefully conciliatory note.

    Please have a good day
    Sincerely
    Peder
     
  19. Landslide

    Landslide Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, for sure
  20. sparkchaser

    sparkchaser Administrator and Stuntman Staff Member

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    Dr. Ruth? She's got to be like 95 years old by now. Scratch that, I just checked; she's 84-ish.

    :lol:

    I can motorboat. That has to count for something, right?
     

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