Since its initial release in 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey and its two companion books, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, have put the world's knickers in a twist with their erotic passages detailing, um, way-beyond-missionary-position sexual preferences and practices. Gasp! It's also the fastest-selling paperback in history. More gasps!
If you stopped reading at book one, you are probably of the opinion, as is Tim Cole of the Greensboro Public Library in North Carolina, that the book is of "mixed literary merit." Others with far less panache simply call it "mommy porn." Oh my! But the millions of readers who stuck with the trilogy see a complex love story centered around the compromises individuals (in this case, soon-to-be college grad Anastasia Steele and mega-billionaire Christian Grey) make when trying to make relationships work, and the delicate balance of making concessions for your partner, yet finding a way to stay true to yourself. How much of "me" is OK to give up in order to be "us" is a question just about everyone in a new relationship seeks to answer. This is probably the most normal, even-keeled synopsis of the book to be found.
And then there are those calling the book the Lady Chatterley's Lover of 2012. Yet more gasps! But whether you like this stuff or simply like to make fun of it, everyone seems to agree that author E.L. James -- TV executive, wife and mother of two -- needs to buy herself a thesaurus. Here's a dollar, E.L.: Get some new words. More than a few online reviews have pointed out her overuse of certain phrases, and some of the funnier ones even offer word counts:
"Oh My" - 79
"Crap" - 101
"Gasp" - 34
"Gasps" - 11
"Sharp Intake of Breath" - 4
"Murmur" - 68
"Murmurs" - 139
"Whisper" - 96
"Whispers" - 103
You get the idea. Yes, the plot is flimsy. And yes, the writing is appalling. So why is the book so hard to put down? I have no idea. It's not rational. The mind boggles. And so do other places.
As a music fan, though, it might interest you to know that one very intriguing (that's right: I used a thesaurus) aspect of the trilogy is the author's use of music to help develop her characters. Worldly, sophisticated billionaire Christian is often depicted listening to classical music. And not just any classical music. No. He goes in for soft, romantic, slightly dark passages that stand in direct contrast to his hard, dominating veneer. Man, he's complex! Naïve, doe-eyed Ana, on the other hand, leans more in the Brit rock/sensitive singer-songwriter direction. Well, she's a college student after all. "Sex on Fire." "I'm on Fire." "The Lightning Strike." And so on. Get it? She's burning up with desire, folks!
Together, these offerings make a fantastically diverse playlist. We've painstakingly combed the series book by book, page by page, and put together this playlist of songs mentioned in the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. So listen and enjoy. Or listen and make fun. We are OK with either.