50 Shades of Scarlet

Let me preface today's column by stating the following: I absolutely cannot believe that I'm about to write a newsletter about erotica.

Right, now that I've gotten that out of the way, I'm sure most of you must know that the title of this month's book club refers to the recently released and much hyped-about 50 Shades of Grey.

For those of you who don't know, here's a quick gist of why this book has caused so much of a stir.

1. The book initially started out as Twilight fan fiction.  An adult version of it, but Twilight nonetheless.

2. The book is raunchy and very explicit (It's been labeled as Mommy porn, if that gives you an indication of just what you can expect) and,

3. It delves into the much maligned and controversial world of BDSM.

Number 3 caught your attention didn't it? It certainly got mine.

As someone who doesn't read books of this nature, reading 50 Shades of Grey was, an interesting experience, to say the least. I've read romance books containing loads of steamy action before, but I think 50 Shades takes it to a whole new level (you can read an in-depth review on the site).

Whether or not it's a good thing is certainly up for debate, but judging from the amount of book sales, it would seem that EL James has managed to establish a fan base that rivals Twilight's.

One quarter of the book is dedicated to giving readers a brief introduction to the characters, and the rest of the book is filled with sex. Lots and lots of it. And not just of the vanilla variety.

I wouldn't consider myself a prude, but I don't think I've ever blushed my way through a book, like I've done with this one.  Not that it stopped me from reading it, mind you. Quite the opposite, if you really must drag the truth out of me.

 Of course, it got me thinking about bodice rippers, romance reads and erotica and how we perceive them.

I've often found that romantic fiction tends to be a lot tamer with the love scenes as opposed to erotic fiction (where the quality of the writing is sometimes sacrificed for the salaciousness), which is probably why I think many women would be more willing to admit to reading the former instead of the latter.

Personally, I think it's because erotica speaks to much baser and darker instincts that many women are afraid to admit to liking.

These books are not about the happily ever after. It’s about the sweaty, dirty sex that comes before.

Am I a fan of this kind of fiction?  I'm not entirely sure. I think there's a certain amount of erotica I'd be willing to read (even love), but I think it all boils down to the specific type of content the book explores. 

But that's just me. Here's what I'd love to hear from you though:

Do you read erotic fiction? And if so, what's the raunchiest book you've ever read? Also, do you have a limit on the type of content you'd read about? And finally, what books would you recommend to those who've never read any erotic fiction before?

Please share your thoughts with me. I'd be very interested to hear what you have to say on this genre, especially considering that 50 Shades is, one of the few erotic books that I've read. (I've just started the second one and should have a review up of that soon too).

This article originally appeared as a newsletter. You can sign up for our monthly book club newsletter here.

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