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December 13, 2012

At Random House, Employees Will Enjoy 5,000 Shades of Green


Random House had its corporate Christmas party on Wednesday night in New York, and word is that Santa likes bondage. A lot.

Markus Dohle, the chief executive of Random House, promised employees — from top editors to warehouse workers — a $5,000 bonus to celebrate a profitable year. The cheering went on for minutes, according to people in attendance.

Call it 5,000 shades of green.

This year, Random House had the good fortune to publish E. L. James’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” about an inexperienced college student who falls in love with an older man with a taste for trying her up and whipping her, among other delights. The book has topped the New York Times paperback best-seller list for 37 weeks and counting. The sequels “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed” have been in the top five for a similar amount of time.

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December 1, 2012

Review : Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:17 pm

ShadesBy Katrina Passick Lumsden

What in the hell just happened? Did I really read that? Oh, my god, I did. I did read that.

Meet Anastasia Steele:

Ana is just a giant mess of a human being. She’s insecure to the point of it being laughable, ‘klutzy’ (even though she only trips twice in the entire book), and a complete ditz. She’s a virgin (of course) who’s never taken any sexual interest in anyone before. Right. I’m fairly certain there hasn’t been a woman this naive since ’round about 1954. At one point, she thinks putting her hair in pigtails will keep her safe from Christian’s lusty advances.

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November 14, 2012

50 Shades of Divorce: Wife ‘inspired’ by erotic book says husband failed to meet her expectations

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 8:02 am

  • Wife claims husband’s attitude is evidence of ‘unreasonable behaviour’
  • Husband did not respond when she bought some sexy underwear and blamed her behaviour on ‘that bloody book’
  • Husband admits ‘unreasonable behaviour’ so divorce can be granted quickly
  • Solicitor claims case is evidence of social change where women are more adventurous in the bedroom

By Keith Gladdis

It’s had a major impact on the publishing world – and in quite a few bedrooms.

But now Fifty Shades Of Grey is at the centre of an unusual court case.

A man is being divorced by his wife after he refused to spice up their love life by reliving scenes from the erotic bestseller.

The wife, a 41-year-old banker earning more than £400,000 a year, claims her husband’s ‘boring  attitude’ to sex is evidence of ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

In her grounds for divorce, filed at the High Court, she refers to the novel, which tells of the sadomasochistic affair between billionaire Christian Grey and naive student Anastasia Steele. The woman in the court case bought the raunchy book almost as soon as it was published last year and hoped it would encourage her husband to be more adventurous in bed.

She bought some sexy underwear but her husband failed to respond to her advances and he even blamed her behaviour on ‘that bloody book’.

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Fifty Shades of Grey nominated for National Book award

EL James’s bestselling erotic novel to go up against Kate Mosse’s Citadel for popular fiction book of the year gong.

By Alison Flood

She has broken record after record, racked up sales of over 4m copies and almost single-handedly helped drag the book business out of the doldrums. And now EL James’s erotic fiction hit Fifty Shades of Grey has been nominated for a book award.

The novel, about the increasingly dark relationship between a naive young girl and a sadistic businessman, is competing for the popular fiction book of the year gong at the National Book awards, it was announced this morning. Chosen by a panel of 50 book experts, including booksellers and journalists, the prize is intended to reward an adult novel “which has made a massive impact [and] that may have exceeded expectations”.

James’s novel looks set to be the frontrunner on a shortlist that pits Fifty Shades of Grey against Kate Mosse’s novel Citadel, Victoria Hislop’s The Thread, Bernard Cornwell’s 1356, Dorothy Koomson’s The Rose Petal Beach and JoJo Moyes’s Me Before You. The winner will be chosen by votes from the 750-strong National Book awards academy, with the trophy itself to be presented by Lorraine Kelly at a ceremony on 4 December.

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October 19, 2012

Is Reading Sexy?

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:16 am

“Nothing about sex is cerebral…at least, none of the good parts are.”–Chuck Klosterman

By John Jarzemsky

People have a tendency to predict the demise of art forms, in some cases not long after their inception. Reading and literature have certainly been no exception, and those who would consider themselves gatekeepers of culture have tried multiple paths towards preservation, often presented in the form of “reading awareness.” Awareness campaigns have a long and controversial track record, with many being maligned as redundant and a needless waste of money, but for better or for worse, they’ve been with us for a long time, and probably always will be.

And what better way to make someone aware of something than by tying it to sex?

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October 17, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey struggles to excite in France, the home of Sade

French critics dub EL James’s erotic phenomenon boring, cliched and without literary merit, despite huge print run.

By Kim Willsher

History has shown that when it comes to French-British rivalry and cross-Channel spats, few subjects are off limits. The euro, agricultural policy, European subsidies, Margaret Thatcher, football, the Olympics – all have the ability to spark a war of words between the two nations, whose love-hate relationship has smouldered for centuries.

So as French bookshops prepare to take stock of the British bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey – or as it is called in French, Cinquante Nuances de Grey – on Wednesday morning, our Gallic cousins would like us to know that they have nothing to learn from us Anglo-Saxons in matters of sadomasochism.

In fact our neighbours are deeply unimpressed with the so-called “mummy porn”, or, as the French have translated the term, porn de ménagère (housewife) trilogy by the British writer EL James.

It is perhaps not surprising that the country that spawned what one magazine called “the heavyweights of erotic literature” – the Marquis de Sade and the Story of O, coincidentally republished this week – should be sniffy about a mere bestseller of 40m copies in 46 countries.

But the critical mauling the British book has received is brutal.

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October 11, 2012

Sir Salman Rushdie: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey makes Twilight look like War and Peace’

Sir Salman Rushdie

Sir Salman Rushdie has admitted that one of his least favourite books is ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, saying that it makes the Twilight series look “look like ‘War and Peace’.”

By Chris Irvine

The author of ‘The Satanic Verses’ and ‘Midnight’s Children’ said that he had read a page or two of the book on Amazon, but quipped: “I’ve never read anything so badly written that got published. It made ‘Twilight’ look like ‘War and Peace.'”

Fifty Shades of Grey has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, despite critical reception of the novel being at best mixed.

The Twilight saga is a series of vampire-themed teen romance novels by US author Stephanie Meyer that has been turned into a hugely successful film series starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

Sir Salman was speaking over the weekend at the New York Festival, in New York, and was discussing ‘Joseph Anton’, his new memoir about the fatwa declared on him in 1989 by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

He also talked about the cathartic experience of finally writing his story.

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September 14, 2012

The Weird Side Of Literary Tourism: Five Bizarre Book-Inspired Experiences

Hobbit-Themed Flight and Hotel

By Kimberly Turner

Literary tourism isn’t new. The Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Mark Twain’s boyhood home, the Hemingway Museum, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, Thoreau’s cabin, and hundreds of other bookish excursions let you visit the childhood home where your favorite author wrote, follow in the footsteps of a beloved novel’s protagonist, or explore a museum showcasing important periods in literary history. Trips like these let us connect with books on a deeper level and inspire us as writers. But what if you want to live the story? To take part in it? Here are five unusual destinations that let you do just that…

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September 11, 2012

Howard Jacobson: ‘I write fiction. The others write crap’

The Booker winner on his new, ‘funniest-ever’ book, his scorn for genre fiction and why he’ll never wear a T-shirt.

By Elizabeth Day

Your new novel, Zoo Time, features a publisher who has committed suicide, an agent in hiding and a novelist harangued by book groups. Is publishing doomed?

It’s not my experience that my publisher shot himself or my agent is always hiding from me but I wouldn’t have written it if I didn’t think there was something worrying about, not so much publishing, but the state of the book… some of the things that I play with, some of the jokes I make, attack things that need to be attacked.

You write acerbically about genre fiction…

I’m contemptuous of genre things… You go into a good bookshop like Foyles and see a kind of “vampire room”. I was sitting in the American Embassy a while back, trying to get a visa, and every woman in the room was reading the vampire series – you know, the one with the black cover and the bit of blood. Now people are reading soft porn! What happened to the fun of reading a good book? There are people who, when they say they prefer Henry James to Fifty Shades of Grey, they do actually mean that.

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September 8, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey author: I’m not such a pervert

Filed under: Interviews — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:37 am

  Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James on sex, sequels and the time her husband bought her a tin opener as a romantic Christmas present.

By Anita Singh

EL James gave a rare interview to launch Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album, which features music that inspired her while writing the trilogy.

She spoke to Mark Ellen about the books, the forthcoming film and choosing “music to f— to”.

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