The Next Eat, Pray, Love Is an Erotic BDSM Novel

Have you heard about Fifty Shades of Grey? It's the hot new thing on the literary scene. The New York Times reports that bookstores cannot keep up with demands for the smash hit novel, which was published by an independent press in Australia. Perhaps that's why Fifty Shades of Grey is number one on the e-book fiction bestsellers list, and number three on Amazon.com's bestseller list. The people have spoken, and they demand more porn.

Vintage Books just bought the rights to the novel (and the other two books that complete the trilogy) for a "seven-figure sum." Which is especially surprising when you realize Fifty Shades of Grey is about on par with every other bodice-ripping romance that you've guiltily devoured.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" and the two other titles in the series were written by a British author named E L James, a former television executive who began the trilogy by posting fan fiction online. The books, which were released in the last year, center on the lives (and affection for whips, chains and handcuffs) of Christian Grey, a rich, handsome tycoon, and Anastasia Steele, an innocent college student, who enter into a dominant-submissive relationship.

The novel has been described with the term "Mommy porn," a distressing new addition to the lexicon. But publishers say it has shocked and delighted readers who are not accustomed to such explicit erotica. On the plus side, Fifty Shades of Grey seems to be removing some of the taboo from openly discussing porn. It has also given its readers new ideas in the bedroom.

"It's relighting a fire under a lot of marriages," said Lyss Stern, the founder of DivaMoms.com and one of the early fans of the series. "I think it makes you feel sexy again, reading the books."

And while publishers say the "word-of-mouth excitement" recalls The Da Vinci Code and Eat, Pray, Love, the series already has its critics. Fifty Shades of Grey has been called "Twilight for grown-ups," in part because the male romantic lead is such a domineering tool. To be fair, he's a BDSM top, but even outside of the bedroom, he's also got that aggressive, controlling quality that makes Edward Cullen such a catch.

Also the book sucks, apparently, but readers clearly aren't checking it out for its nuanced prose. I got my hands on a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and tried to make it through all 356 pages to no avail. For an erotic BDSM novel, there's an awful lot of talking. But here's a snippet from page 84 that should give you a feel for what "Mommy porn" looks like.

Suddenly, he sits up and tugs my panties off and throws them on the floor. Pulling off his boxer briefs, his erection springs free. Holy cow... He reaches over to his bedside table and grabs a foil packet, and then he moves between my legs, spreading them further apart. He kneels up and pulls a condom on to his considerable length. Oh no...Will it? How?

Spoiler alert: it fits.

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