E L James’s novel has got fans’ knickers in a twist – but it’s not as though it’s the first racy read.
By Lucy Mangan
The success of E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy – an erotic tale of two lovers that originated online as Twilight-based fan fiction before being repurposed as a series of full-length books first on e-readers and now, after a seven-figure deal with mainstream publisher Arrow, as actual paper-and-ink tomes – continues to build. Doubtless panting with excitement, it has thrust, thrust and thrust itself again into the bestseller lists (in the US, it has knocked The Hunger Games off its 16-week-long perch on USA Today) and has – yes, yes, yes! – sold more than 3m copies in various formats.
It is thought that its e-beginnings, which allowed people to read without fear of discovery or embarrassment (Kindles have no covers), has vitally contributed to its success. How the internet has spoiled today’s stimulation seekers. A click of a button and off you go, clicking your own button on the way.
You would think, from all the furore – the book has been dubbed “mommy porn” because of its popularity among older women, and been banned from libraries in Georgia and Wisconsin (Florida has just lifted its ban) – that this was the first time we had ever got our hot little hands on a mucky book, in whatever format. This is nonsense, of course. Remember these?
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