Archive | June 2012

24 of 52 – *shudder* Fifty Shades of Grey

I gave in after weeks of seeing this around, hearing both good and bad, and after reading the first couple chapters for free and thinking unequivocally that it’s literary trash. I read Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.

When literature student Anastasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating. Convinced that their meeting went badly, she tries to put him out of her mind Рuntil he turns up at the store where she works part-time, and invites her out.

Unworldly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man. And, when he warns her to keep her distance, it only makes her want him more.

But Grey is tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Grey keeps hidden away from public view .

Yeah.. this is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Possibly THE worst. I expected it too, after reading that first excerpt. And it’s apparently now being made into a movie.

I did want to be wrong about this book because despite how terrible it is, I absolutely LOVE that women are able to read erotic fiction, especially ‘taboo’ erotic fiction, in public! I can’t think of any other erotic book that has been so popular. There are few times that I go onto public transport that I don’t see at least one woman openly reading the book. Because it IS widely known to be erotica, and because I hate the sterilisation of sex within society, this really excites me.

Throughout the beginning I was constantly thinking, ‘This book is like Twilight, but with BDSM instead of vampires’. After doing light research on the book, I found that it is, in fact, a fan fiction of Twilight. It has the same weak characters and characterisation, same horrible inner dialogue, same general themes, and the stories both unfold in the same way. James uses many themes and phrases to the point of cliche and banality (e.g. ‘Oh my…’, ‘Holy __!’, ‘My inner goddess’, lip biting, obscure opera and classical music, etc).

I don’t mind erotica when it’s done correctly, and the sex depicted in this was just horrendous. Although the clitoris is sometimes mentioned, it isn’t the main part of Anastasia’s sexual pleasure. This is so ridiculous and unrealistic, as very few women ever orgasm just from PiV. And then I just find it strange that every single time Anastasia orgasms, Christian orgasms straight afterward. It’s just portraying really unrealistic sex, even it being a work of fiction. The great majority of the sex scenes aren’t even that arousing, and I have read my fair share of X-rated (fan) fiction to know. And I personally wonder how realistic the BDSM aspect of the relationship is, though because I have little working knowledge of the BDSM community, I can’t comment on that.

Despite all of this I did actually want to know what happened. I’m horrible, I know. But it just turned out to be hilarious and horrible and horrendous. Essentially, it’s the Troll 2 of erotica.

23 of 52 – Interview with the Vampire

Years overdue I have finished Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I want to saaay that often I’ll take forever to finish 1 book because I’m working on 2 at a time, and then I finish a few in quick succession because of that.

The story is ostensibly a simple one: having suffered a tremendous personal loss, an 18th-century Louisiana plantation owner named Louis Pointe du Lac descends into an alcoholic stupor. At his emotional nadir, he is confronted by Lestat, a charismatic and powerful vampire who chooses Louis to be his fledgling. The two prey on innocents, give their “dark gift” to a young girl, and seek out others of their kind (notably the ancient vampire Armand) in Paris. But a summary of this story bypasses the central attractions of the novel. First and foremost, the method Rice chose to tell her tale–with Louis’ first-person confession to a skeptical boy–transformed the vampire from a hideous predator into a highly sympathetic, seductive, and all-too-human figure. Second, by entering the experience of an immortal character, one raised with a deep Catholic faith, Rice was able to explore profound philosophical concerns–the nature of evil, the reality of death, and the limits of human perception–in ways not possible from the perspective of a more finite narrator.

I have read The Vampire Lestat before, when I was around 14. Although Interview is the first of the series, it seems a bit like a standalone. I much prefer The Vampire Lestat, it’s beautiful and remains one of my favourite books. This one is good, but so far my least favourite of Rice’s books (admittedly this is only the 4th I’ve read). Louis is at times a sympathetic character, but often he whines insufferably. But, Louis never really wanted to be a vampire, so you can expect someone who is not a killer and does not want it to complain a lot.

Interview with the Vampire is really just a taster of Anne Rice’s world. Probably not the best taster of all, but you can expect a lot of the characters and themes to come back up, and the world to become much more immersive.

I’ve given in and going to read Fifty Shades of Grey, even though I’ve read a 2 chapter preview of it and it was so horribly written. I want to be able to tell people how bad it is. That might be pretentious.