Friday, February 20, 2015

50 Shades of Blech

I never read 50 Shades of Grey.  But friends (thanks, friends!) insisted on reading parts of the book to me over the phone.  Or emailing especially poorly written passages.  Christian Grey using the word “incentivize,” for example.  Not to mention the gruelingly awful (I’m trying to channel E. L. James) sex scenes. 

I have a hard time with badly written novels.  After the first Twilight novel and several references to Edward’s “perfectly muscled chest,” I was done. 

My experience with erotic fiction is limited.  Very limited.  Four books.  But they’re good and I recommend them.  The Story of O (do women still read that in college?).  Anne Rice (writing as A. N. Roquelaure) and her three Sleeping Beauty books are beautifully written.  Hardcore, not for the timid. 

Senta Holland’s Out of the Shadows surprised me because it’s a story about BDSM, but told with grace and real emotion.  It’s not an easy book to read, you have to let yourself fall into it.  

Yes, good erotic fiction exists.  Why settle for swill?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nick Hornby, I Love You

Okay, I know you’re married and not available (yeah, I’m married, too, but I bet if I told my husband I was going to run off with you he might not mind too much – he’s a big fan of High Fidelity).  And we'd have a good time together.  I'd compliment you on your writing, bring you tea, learn to like bangers and mash.  Say "gobsmacked" all the time.  

But I’m not really in love with Nick Hornby.  I do love his books very much (Juliet, Naked - what a delicious read).  When a friend told me in December about Mr. Hornby’s latest novel, Funny Girl, I couldn’t wait to read it. 

Uh-oh.  Big problem.  It wasn’t available yet in the U.S.  Thank goodness for (Plus how cool is it to get a book that costs  £ 8.90?)  My copy of Funny Girl came before Christmas.  Ah, and it's glorious.  Mr. Hornby's prose is deceptively simple and accessible.  His words don’t get in the way, his writing isn’t self-conscious.  And there’s a realness and relatability (is that really a word?) to his characters – you know these people.  You might actually be like these people. 

Funny Girl is about a woman in the ‘60s who dreams of becoming a TV star, like her idol, Lucille Ball.  It’s funny, it’s moving, you will fall in love with Barbara Parker/Sophie Straw and the people around her.  And you'll have a grand time in the '60s.

(By the way, my last blog post was about a neglected TV show, It Takes a Choir - if you haven't checked it out, please do.  I'm not kidding about how good it is.  Available on Amazon.)