February and March have been slow months for me in terms of reading as work has been extremely busy, and I have been getting over flu. But I am pleased to say I am back in a reading mood and the arrival of spring is an added bonus. Some highlights for me since the last Book Bag Bundles are:
Do you have a little black book?
To mark the 80th anniversary of Penguin Books they have released 80 little black classics for 80p each. These are all classic short stories like The Great Winglebury Duel by Charles Dickens, The Great Fire of London by Samuel Pepys and The Tinder Box by Hans Christian Anderson and some poems like Three Tang Dynasty Poets. I would definitely say there is something for everyone. I think this was a great idea from Penguin as it promotes the books they publish but introduces people to different writers, classics and even poetry. And Penguin went one further in putting quotes from books all around the London Underground stations which drew me in even more. Their little book picker with quotes from the books on their website is also cool. There is so much choice that I found it hard to choose just a couple of books, so I settled on a range to broaden my reading horizons:
Speaking to the cashier in my bookshop they said their colleague bought all 80 books and I am sure others have as they are a lovely set of books. But I think if you just try one different book then it is worthwhile doing.
What books have you got from this collection?
Fifty Shades of Grey
I can’t go anywhere at the moment without seeing this book or people talking about it. On Valentine’s Day this film was released and the female and media world went mad. Controversial, these books are like Marmite – you love them or dislike them and I am in the dislike camp for Marmite and these books! My friends raved about them and everyone on my commute to work, were reading them so I did give the first book a try. 3 chapters in and a few flicks of pages forward and I gave up. For me Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James was the worst written book I have read – poor grammar, a lack of atmosphere and character development and just a weak storyline.
But for me the book has a chilling physiological undertone which everyone seems to be overlooking and missing. It is quite disturbing how popular these books are and also how popular the film is, but I don’t think that the entire female population is lacking some erotic excitement in their life and so find the first book of this genre enjoyable. I do think these books have been marketed cleverly and so most people think this story is about a guy and his inner turmoil, who falls in love with a girl and we follow their journey in the erotic world. But if you take away the clever marketing of a gorgeous rich guy, a mousey boring girl and the girl meets boy love aspect, this story is essentially about male dominance, punishment, pain and control.
The guy likes to be in control and he exerts his control on the girl. She must follow his rule list, do what he says, dress how he likes etc.. and if she strays she is punished in a red room. Red for danger, red for pain and red for fear. So fear, and control are the central elements of this story and if this story was properly written it would be truly scary physiological story. Think Rose Madder by Stephen King or American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Whilst domestic violence is more obvious in these types of books, Fifty Shades of Grey is more subtle. This book sets female equality and independence back in time and it isn’t erotic when you look at the bare bones of it. Dominance is one thing but not to this chilling, terrifying extent. There are so many good erotic tales out there that people can read that it surprises me that people market us women as needing this book. I do think that if the female was dominating the man this book would not have been as popular.
I will be gitving the film a miss but I have to say the title song from the film Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding is actually the best thing to come from these books!
Finally I have got my hands on a paperback version of The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. I loved The Rosie Project last year and it was one of the top 5 books I read in 2014 so I can’t wait to read this book. (a review will follow in the next few months) And as a bonus I have got my ticket to hear Graeme talk at Waterstones, Piccadilly on 17 March. I can’t wait!
That’s it from this edition but please share any of your highlights?