I recently read the bestselling erotic fiction novel 50 Shades of Grey, a move that prompted the following responses from friends and strangers:
- Why are you reading that crap?
- I don’t understand all the hype over that book.
- Mommy porn, huh?
- Are you horny?
For the record, that last one wasn’t my gentleman friend (he’s quite aware the answer is a three-letter word that starts with a D and ends with an –uh.)
But for the others, my response has been pretty simple: Have you read it?
Nine out of ten people shake their heads and tell me no.
Am I the only person who finds this upsetting?
Look, I get it if you’re morally opposed to books that reference blowjobs and sexy spanking. No one’s going to handcuff you to the bed and force to read it. Not even if you beg.
But for those not waving the white flag of vanilla sex, what’s the motive for passing judgment on a book you’ve never read?
I’ll confess right now that I hesitated to read The Hunger Games. I’m not a huge fan of young adult or dystopian novels, and by the time the buzz reached fever pitch, I felt the urge to dig my heels in like a petulant toddler refuse to read it.
What a silly, juvenile mistake that would have been. As it turned out, The Hunger Games is one of my favorite books of all-time. Ditto that for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, another book I read grudgingly and ended up adoring to smithereens.
And yes, there have been plenty of books I’ve felt bullied into reading and ended up wishing I’d spent those six hours drilling holes in my eyeballs with a corkscrew before soaking my face in battery acid.
But at least the act of reading those books gave me the experience to offer up my own judgment – for better or worse.
As an author, I bristle at how acceptable it’s become for readers to make snarky comments about books they haven’t read. They somehow know without cracking the spine that the book is overrated. That it’s too trendy. That it’s trashy.
And that attitude makes me want to grab all the book snobs by the scruff of the neck, bend them over my knee, and spank them one at a time until my palm tingles pleasantly and my breasts heave from panting and sweat trickles from the tip of my collarbone down to my—
How do you feel about the trend of judging books by the hype, as opposed what’s between “it was a dark and stormy night” and “the end?” Please share!
And just to balance out my soapbox rant with a dose of humor, check out this hysterical Saturday Night Live skit featuring 50 Shades of Grey: