Fifty Shades of Grey

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Fifty Shades of Grey

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maj 17, 2012, 3:09 pm

Interested in whether Librarians think it should be banned from Public Libraries.

maj 17, 2012, 3:19 pm

Of course not! Most librarians are not in favor of banning books just because some content may be objectionable to some people. The people who are offended don't have to read it, after all.

maj 17, 2012, 3:43 pm

Um... and, I think that those who frequent the library at a much higher percentage than those who don't. (Women vs. Guys) Most of 'em really don't want it banned.... heh :)

maj 17, 2012, 4:22 pm

Um. No.

maj 17, 2012, 4:26 pm

I think the news that they are being pulled just helped the sales and demand for the book!

maj 17, 2012, 4:49 pm

Right now in our library system there are over 1,000 holds on this book. I know some libraries in the south have pulled it.

maj 17, 2012, 6:17 pm

Thank-you. Was just wondering after hearing that a few had banned it. This is one very lucky author. Whomever first started all the hoopla for this novel deserves some of her profits. I was very surprised when I heard any public libraries banning it.

maj 18, 2012, 10:08 am

>6 kshrum:

Yes, we are above 800 on 70 copies.

maj 18, 2012, 3:25 pm

Yeah, more holds than even the newest Patterson. And usually that's the tops when it comes to holds.

maj 18, 2012, 5:22 pm

Patrons here I think are getting tired of Patterson's books. I think he needs to stop writing for awhile. I haven't read the last 4 books. Our holds have gone way down.

maj 19, 2012, 2:58 pm

We have tons of requests, too, and more every day. A day rarely goes by without someone asking about it. Though if it's someone who is checking out gentle romances, I make sure they know it's an 'erotic novel' before they go on the list. Many seem to hear about it from several places, and assume they'll want to read it without knowing what it actually is.

Just because I find the book extremely offensive (glamorizing an abusive relationship, misrepresenting BDSM, etc) doesn't mean it shouldn't be available in libraries, however. We carry plenty of erotic romances that never get a peep from the media one way or the other.

OT: >10 kshrum: I've noticed the same thing here. The same 50 or so people check them out, and then we have 15 copies that just get weeded. I wonder what the Patterson fans are reading instead? Flynn has really taken off here, and seems to be directed at a similar crowd.
(Btw, I think Patterson *has* stopped writing, essentially. Perhaps giving a few ideas to his 'co-authors' and letting them do all the work.)

maj 19, 2012, 3:05 pm

I saw a Nightline thing awhile ago with him where he said that he 'outlined' the books entirely and then his authors wrote all those pesky connecting words in between (okay, so, that last part was what I heard when he spoke different words, not exactly what he said).

I just read 11th Heaven and it was pretty darn bad... plot and writing wise. I guessed every single one of 'his' 'twists' wayyyy before they even started to happen. Even guessed the do-er of one of the two cases the first time we met the character. So, either I have hit critical mass and read way too many mystery/thrillers, or the books are getting worse.

As for 50 Shades of Grey.... I think that most of the holds on our copies are coming from the people who do all their holds from home, over the internet.

maj 19, 2012, 11:16 pm

Toronto Public: 2112 holds on 250 copies across 98 branches.

Redigeret: maj 20, 2012, 1:40 am

I'm not in favor of censoring books, but I'm somewhat amused by the indignation. I think the distinction between collection development and censorship is rather more obvious to librarians than others. Libraries do not rigidly buy books in proportion to the demand for them. They make quality and suitability choices. They have categories they don't buy in. Books don't make these choices only when they buy a book, but in the regular business of running a library.(1)

On balance, I suspect the Florida librarians are being backseat moralists, but it's not absolutely incredible to me that, having bought it, they'd look at it and decide it to fall outside of what they normally collect. If we're not going to call collection development censorship—and we don't—then I find it hard to get overly angry about a case like this.

1. Hence the Florida ACLU "But once they put it on the shelves, that's it. It's government censorship to then remove it. They had a choice at the beginning to buy it or not buy it…" Does that apply to weeding?

maj 20, 2012, 1:13 am

Well, there is a big difference between deciding not to buy something, and banning it, i.e. making an across-the-board decision that no branch should be *allowed* to buy it.

maj 20, 2012, 1:39 am

>16 timspalding:

It depends where the power to buy normally resides. If collection development decisions are legitimately made at a main library (or consortial) level, that's different.

maj 20, 2012, 1:49 am

11> Misrepresenting BDSM? I find the thought that a book of sexual fantasies should not misrepresent sexual realities strange. In my experience they do little else.

maj 20, 2012, 2:50 pm

>17 SimonW11:

Since when did sexual fantasies cease to be some of the commonest sexual realities?

maj 20, 2012, 8:15 pm

17> since I lost my flexibility.

maj 21, 2012, 12:54 pm

>19 SimonW11: *chortle*

maj 21, 2012, 1:00 pm

I follow several different library blogs in regards to weeding, including the 'awful books' types. You can tell that sometimes people let their personal tastes influence their weeding decisions. I find that to be just as offensive as outright book banning because it's subtle and often unnoticed.

the same also applies when it comes to book purchasing.

maj 21, 2012, 5:00 pm

This is a book that received no reviews in standard reviewing journals, is not well-written (according to most of those who have read it), and delivers a lot less erotica than it promises. However, just as is the case with political drivel from all sides, when there is enough demand, then we purchase a title. My hope is that at least some people who read 50 shade of grey will be reminded that super-hype does not mean that a book is actually good.

maj 21, 2012, 6:47 pm

>19 SimonW11:


I think I wanted to be a masochist until I discovered arthritis and only then found that none of the female consultants dressed in black leather!

Redigeret: maj 21, 2012, 11:07 pm

sometimes people let their personal tastes influence their weeding decisions

I don't know. Why is that bad? Why is "old-timey librarianship," where the librarian bought good novels before bad ones, so bad? That kind of librarianship built libraries to a valued civilizational function. The abandonment of taste as a factor in librarianship happened later. (It hangs on in a certain commitment to educate.) If libraries are there to buy whatever people want, with no professional input, and especially no value judgments, why not replace the whole structure of librarians and libraries with a straight-up book subsidy?

maj 21, 2012, 11:51 pm

24> De gustibus non est disputandum, because there is no objective measure of taste, A librarian who was guided by his own taste would become someone who places his taste above the taste of his patrons. would you like your taste to be so disregarded. consider what sort of librarian these would make if they letheir taste be their guide.

There are plenty of objective measures that can be used, popularity, durability accuracy, relevance all are far easier to justify than personal taste.

Redigeret: maj 22, 2012, 2:02 am

>25 SimonW11:

Objective measures would have libraries throwing out their reference collection, and sinking a big percenage of their budget into porn. Also, the whole book thing? Bullshit. Libraries would give that shit up. Most Americans barely read. So stop forcing your snobby tastes on people. Libraries should rend out all lendable goods, with no snobby "values" clouding their judgment. Books? Find me a book people want more than a good beer bong.

maj 22, 2012, 2:21 am

My you do have a low opinion of library users don't you Tim?

Redigeret: maj 22, 2012, 2:27 am

Why library users? Shouldn't it be all residents of a geographical/tax area? If I made a library only circulate French comedies, the "users" would all like that, right?

Redigeret: maj 22, 2012, 8:04 am

>24 timspalding:........OK Tim, let's put it this way. I work in an academic architecture library. Personally I think the work of Zaha Hadid is crap. Should I let my tastes influence me in NOT purchasing books on her work? Should I weed out Philip Johnson because of he was a Nazi sympathizer?

maj 22, 2012, 9:35 am

I don't think too highly of "Twilight" but would certainly purchase multiple copies of it for any public library because people want to read it. At the same time, if I had enough money to choose one more book out of two for which all else (number of patron requests, similar reviews, etc.) is equal, of course I will choose the one that I personally prefer. That's human. But for the most part, no, my decisions will not be based on my personal taste.

Redigeret: maj 22, 2012, 10:15 am

>29 manatree:

Obviously an architecture library will be different. But there are still hierarchies of taste, not just calculations of demand. For example, I'm guessing you care what the professors want more than what a newly-arrived student wants. There is an end, a goal—becoming a good architect. And the professors know more about how to get to the goal. So you buy for that goal, not blindly according to what you think will circulate the most.

So, what's the goal of a public library? Various ones are proposed—making lifelong readers, creating an informed citizenry, making Democracy work, etc. It seems to me those aren't value-neutral propositions. They're value judgments. A library that thinks an informed citizenry is important will at some point weigh that value more highly than pure demand. They'll spend $25 on an important policy book when three romances would generate more circulations. In doing so they will indeed place something "above the taste of their patrons." It would be better if the librarian admitted it—admitted that they were balancing popularity and value judgements.

Incidentally, the "personal" in "personal taste" is a canard. I'm not in favor of applying an eccentric taste. While there may be no point arguing about taste, there are real, even measurable levels of agreement and consensus about it. We're all aware that Nabokov is more highly regarded than Dan Brown. Someone with taste feels it in their bones when they read their sentences. Someone without can compare New York Times reviews for their novels, or count awards.

maj 22, 2012, 11:20 am

Not all people read just porn just like not all people eat just candy. Besides, the popularity of this book will eventually die but the "important policy book" will remain on the shelf to be accessed when needed for a much longer time.

Redigeret: maj 29, 2012, 4:06 am

28> Indeed they would. That is why there are libraries with such specific specialities. but should such a library lack Moliere because library librarian considers it reactionary twaddle I think not. And similarily a more general librarian does his patron a disservice when he refuses to fill a revolving stand or a shelf with mills and boon..

Still I assume that your point is that that you have a low opinion of the public in general and I do not share it. small libraries buy translations of the classic comedies because there is a demand, and on occasion they use interlibrary loans to obtain them in the original language because there is on occasion demand. and the general public support this because although they may not know a Athenian author from a Roman one. they do know that when their daughter had a part in Lysistrata at the theatre school it made them laugh so much they put in a request for a loan. That when they need to know what sort of effects the waste the new factory would produced they they had somewhere to ask. When they thinking about college getting a few of the books from the reading list saved them making a big mistake, and oh yes of course that computer was essential when they were applying for jobs even if the cranky guy down the street did think the library should only contain improving books. It is and it should be the patrons who decide what would improve their lives. and if that is a diet of cheap novels while they are bed ridden for the month then sobeit. a librarian should be a guide not a gatekeeper.

Redigeret: maj 22, 2012, 11:58 am

The notion that one librarian is going to capriciously do something was addressed before. It's misdirection.

The notion that I'd advocating for "only" doing this or that is also a canard.

It seems to me there are a lot of ways of denying the obvious—libraries balance value judgements and popularity. And whether they do so or don't it's logically inescapable that librarians are in fact gatekeepers—they buy some books and not others. They allocate scarce resources.

What gets me is this. Why isn't it cricket to say these things directly?

Redigeret: maj 22, 2012, 2:39 pm

34> yes you did address capriciousness in a later post I had not read ahead. let me address them here.

31> Obviously an architecture library will be different. But there are still hierarchies of taste, not just calculations of demand. For example, I'm guessing you care what the professors want more than what a newly-arrived student wants. There is an end, a goal—becoming a good architect. And the professors know more about how to get to the goal. So you buy for that goal, not blindly according to what you think will circulate the most.

there may be hierarchies but I think it is a mistake to consider taste the decide factor here for all his love of Georgian neoclassicism the lecturer may desire the library to stock books on Brutalism simply for because of the materials they deal with. here is a hierarchy of demand. Taste is a major factor, the lecturer choses the most readable when ever he can, but it is the lecturers taste not the librarians, the librarian is responding to a demand.

So, what's the goal of a public library? Various ones are proposed—making lifelong readers, creating an informed citizenry, making Democracy work, etc. It seems to me those aren't value-neutral propositions. They're value judgments. A library that thinks an informed citizenry is important will at some point weigh that value more highly than pure demand. They'll spend $25 on an important policy book when three romances would generate more circulations. In doing so they will indeed place something "above the taste of their patrons." It would be better if the librarian admitted it—admitted that they were balancing popularity and value judgements.

A librarys job is to act as a source of knowledge, a Public library may do so with any of the aims you listed. but these are the institutions aims not the librarians they should reflect the values and the taste of the community not the librarian.

Incidentally, the "personal" in "personal taste" is a canard. I'm not in favor of applying an eccentric taste. While there may be no point arguing about taste, there are real, even measurable levels of agreement and consensus about it. We're all aware that Nabokov is more highly regarded than Dan Brown. Someone with taste feels it in their bones when they read their sentences. Someone without can compare New York Times reviews for their novels, or count awards

Yes, librarians should be guided by the taste of those they serve. that is the point that was being made. That there are times when there is no better guide( than he librarians personal taste) is I think obvious to all. That a librarian should use personal taste when there are objectively better ways of determining the taste of patrons is what i disapprove of, Culling say a Geraldine Evans rather than than a Dorothy l. Sayers without looking to see which is most borrowed or comparing their condition.

*edited to add the phrase in brackets.

maj 22, 2012, 2:10 pm

34> I think the word that is causing the problem here is "taste." If I am understanding your use of "taste," you mean that we recognize when something appeals to good taste - or is of good, lasting value. I think many of us first understood "personal taste" to mean personal preferences. We are very aware of the need to be careful not to let our own personal reading preferences override our good judgement. I have a personal preference for science fiction and fantasy. But I am careful when selecting titles to not let that preference imbalance my choices. We all seem to agree that librarians use judgement and balance popularity with quality to meet a wide variety of goals. In other words, we are saying much the same things in different ways.

Redigeret: maj 22, 2012, 2:30 pm

Quite a lofty goal, creating this informed citizenry. Why do we then have to read article upon article about the relevence of the public library in the modern world? This seems to be a very important goal. But perhaps it's a romantic ideal.

Libraries have vastly different expectations from everyone. The people who don't want to buy Fifty Shades of Grey will certainly appreciate reading the library's copy, even if it means they wait a week or two to get it in their hands. They will remember that experience. The knitters and crocheters will appreciate their chance to take out those books. The classicists will appreciate our Landmark editions of Arrian, Xenophon, Thucydides and Herodotus.

There will always be the curmudgeon who will scoff at the purchasing (or weeding) decisions made by a library. I believe every library tries, except in cases like the one in Florida, to walk that line. Of course if we had more money and more space our collections could be much better, but it is a tough battle.

Look at the NYPL research library, it's pertinent to the direction this thread is headed:

Of course, I'm sure there are other ways to cut the budget:

maj 22, 2012, 6:01 pm

All in all, the broo-ha-ha has done wonders for the sales of the book.

maj 24, 2012, 12:57 pm

Maybe it's because he doesn't write all of his own books anymore. Other writers are writing under his name.

maj 24, 2012, 3:03 pm

As a librarian I believe it is perfectly fine to have on our shelves. (Or not on our shelves, beceause hundreds of patrons have it requested lately!)

And for statistical purposes I'm from PA, in our capital's library system.

Redigeret: maj 24, 2012, 4:42 pm

Is fifty even possible? Seems excessive.

maj 25, 2012, 5:21 pm

The funniest thing that I've seen so far in regards to this book is the fact that if you search for 'Fifty Shades of Gray' you get the CD Audiobook, if you search for 'Fifty Shades of Grey' you get everything else...

Personally, I don't plan on reading it, or any of the others in the series, not my cup of tea. Still, patrons seem to like it, and as long as they're takin' stuff out I don't judge. (And who am I to judge, grown up and yet I still take out wayyy too many Trade Paperback Comic book collections and Star Trek Novels).

@ DanMat. Look. My Monitor is correctly calibrated.

maj 28, 2012, 8:10 pm

>6 kshrum:
and >8 DanMat:

How large are your libraries? We've got about 50 holds on 3 copies, but in a town of about 6,000.

maj 28, 2012, 8:32 pm

This thread started with 50 shades of grey, but has developed in really interesting directions! (my take on the book: it seems to be riddled with spelling errors, written in a stilted style, and worst of all for "erotica" super sex negative)

Will just having "good" books on the shelf make people read them? I'm of the opinion that it's good programming and engaged staff that does that.

This issue of what is of value to buy gets so interesting in a consortium. my branch is very small so we can only afford to go after the best sellers and popular school project topics and let people order everything else, but we also work on developing special collections that are maybe not of specific interest to our local patrons but that fill a gap in the larger collection and circ via ILL such as graphic novels.

>33 SimonW11: I agree! There is shit on our shelves that I HATE HATE HATE, but all I can do is make sure we have a balanced collection that for example, gives both sides of a contentious political issue.

maj 28, 2012, 9:39 pm

Our system has about 50 libraries in all.

Redigeret: maj 29, 2012, 12:14 am

>25 SimonW11: "who was guided by his own taste". I don't know how we can ignore taste. Reviewers have their own tastes; if you read a reviewer repeatedly, you get to recognize what they like . But, e. g., just because I buy books on punk and heavy metal music (my taste), doesn't mean I'm putting down my patrons' tastes. I also buy books on everything from opera to folk to Elvis to hymns to Broadway musicals. Our library wouldn't have much on my kinds of music otherwise because I'm the only one on the staff who pays attention to those genres. And the books circulate. I think having as many staff members as possible contribute to collection development is important because our public and their tastes are so varied.

jun 10, 2012, 7:46 pm

>kshrum I think we have over 1,000 holds as well

jun 10, 2012, 10:58 pm

We have 9 libraries, serving a population of ~120k (in a very large geographical area), and there are about 130 holds on nine or so copies of the first one. Fewer holds on the second and third in the series, naturally.

This is very comparable to the current state of the Hunger Games series hold lists, by the way.

jun 11, 2012, 1:20 pm

I serve a rural area with 31,355 residents and 7 branch libraries. We currently have 4 copies of the book and 43 holds.
I'm surprised that no one has complained about this book yet (other than the writing is bad), I was expecting an editorial in the paper at least.

jul 12, 2012, 9:13 pm

Whatever the author paid the library to ban her book was well worth the investment! Nothing like the need to read the forbidden. ;)

Redigeret: jul 20, 2012, 7:32 pm

I'm not a librarian, but I use the library, and i think it should be removed from the shelves. It is misogynist rape-porn. Pure Stockholm Syndrome brainwashing. I've expressed my disgust to my local library- for what it's worth, which is likely not a bit.

Here is a well-written article about how this hackneyed rape manual eroticises male domination and ABUSE. This is not "erotic"- it's a horror story, and it NOT sex.

Redigeret: jul 21, 2012, 9:29 am

Do you believe that Catcher in the Rye should be banned from the shelves? Clockwork Orange? Lolita? Or the Harry Potter series? Or perhaps the books that 50 Shades was based on, Twilight and its series. He's old, she's young in that, it's just that he's a vamp, does that make it better, or creepier?.... How about banning Dan Brown's Da Vinci code series, I mean... what he says about the Catholic church in them right???

Is 50 Shades a book that I would read, or let a child read? Of course not. But, if an adult, 18 or older, wants to read it, should I have the right as a librarian to say no because I don't like it. No right at all. Plus, trust me.... when I look around at the world, none of the kids or adults these days need a.... book.... to see the Erotization of Male Domination or whatever your article was about.

And, to counter your link, here's a link of my own.

jul 21, 2012, 10:33 am

doctressjulia, I would recommend you read this article:

But it's long, and if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, read at least this excerpt:

"Freedom to write, freedom to read, freedom to own material that you believe is worth defending means you're going to have to stand up for stuff you don't believe is worth defending, even stuff you find actively distasteful, because laws are big blunt instruments that do not differentiate between what you like and what you don't, because prosecutors are humans and bear grudges and fight for re-election, because one person's obscenity is another person's art.

Because if you don't stand up for the stuff you don't like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you've already lost."

jul 21, 2012, 11:50 am

>51 doctressjulia:
I would not find it problematic if on a first pass librarians decided not to acquire a self-published book of converted Twilight fan-fiction with atrocious reviews. But once patrons start requesting such a book I would not want librarians saying, "We here at the library have decided it is not in the public interest for you to read this book." That's not a librarian's job. And it's why I couldn't be a librarian. I don't think I could resist telling people not to read crap.

Redigeret: jul 21, 2012, 6:59 pm

>54 eromsted: Sometimes it takes saintly restraint not to tell patrons not to read crap. But... it's my job not to, so.... I keep my opinions to myself... at work at least. :)

>53 kmaziarz: Definitely a good article for anyone to read! Thanks for the link!!

Redigeret: jul 23, 2012, 9:53 pm

^51 doctressjulia

You say: This is not "erotic"- it's a horror story, and it NOT sex.

So is Stephen King and Dean Koontz and other authors' work "horror." Are you saying all those books should also be banned? Personally I don't read horror, but I'm not about to advocate banning others from doing so.

Those of us defending "50 Shades" being on the shelves are not saying it should be on the shelves because it's "erotic". We're saying it should be there because people apparently want to read it, and we believe in freedom of expression in the U.S. We don't ban books just because some people find them abhorrent! If you don't want to read it, don't. That's got nothing to do with other people's right to read it.

Redigeret: jul 23, 2012, 10:20 pm

>56 amysisson:

People want to read straight-up pornography too, but most libraries don't stock it. I mean, libraries don't "lose" their Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues because people want them; they lose them because there aren't any Playboys and Hustlers to steal! Libraries have policies to exclude certain sorts of content. While I favor no special efforts to ban 50 Shades, and taking books off shelves once they've already been acquired smacks of censorship, I am sympathetic to libraries that judge it to lie outside their collection guidelines.

Redigeret: jul 23, 2012, 10:57 pm

^ ...and taking books off shelves once they've already been acquired smacks of censorship....

I don't think it smacks of censorship, it is censorship. Especially if the library takes the books off the shelf due to a few people's objections -- objections that happen to be overwhelmed by the number of library patrons who want to read the book.

Redigeret: jul 23, 2012, 11:04 pm

>58 amysisson:

Well, no, again, there are valid collection development reasons to take books off the shelf. You might have thought "Hustler" was the movie about pool playing when you bought it. You might be weeding. Libraries take things off shelf all the time.

I agree with you about complaints, if they are individual, and contrary to development policy. Public libraries are, however, departments of a democratic state. If the people of X want a library that doesn't carry pornography, or one that does carry pornography, at some point in the long term that sentiment should rule.

jul 24, 2012, 7:10 am

I've read Fifty Shades of Grey and the only difference between it and certain romances or urban/dark fantasy novels is in the names of body parts. If libraries pull it because it's "porn" then they'll need to pull half their romances, all Laurell K. Hamilton and a good portion of urban fantasy.

Redigeret: aug 3, 2012, 3:07 pm

@60 - Precisely this. I read it, and I have to say, most of our "urban romance" books or paranormal romance/urban fantasy books are worse. The hype has it as being super racy, when it really isn't at all.

We didn't get any copies because it wasn't reviewed, and it was originally fan-fiction (two categories that are specifically excluded in our collection guidelines) but when the hype hit, we got ~20 paperback copies of the first one and cataloged them pronto. At the moment, the hold list is holding around 1200, and we purchased an additional 10 copies last week to try and fill that need.

I personally think it's crap, but then I personally think Twilight was crap. If someone asks me what I think of it, I'll tell them it isn't to my taste (edited to add that if they don't ask, I would never comment at all), but if they want to check it out I'll be happy to help them out with that. It's sort of my job to get materials into people's hands.

aug 12, 2012, 6:59 am

I find it fascinating that a book that is so trashy can excite such strong and multitudinous reactions. I'm left wondering whether many of the disapproving commentators are actually nursing otherwise hidden attractions.

aug 12, 2012, 5:03 pm

I think it's the same reaction as when losers with no talent end up reality stars—a mixture of justified aesthetic outrage and jealousy.

I think the answer is basically that it's a network effect. The more people read it, the more people read it. Once it took off, it kept going. Also, once "everyone's" reading it, you have social cover to read something that you wouldn't otherwise admit to reading.

aug 18, 2012, 11:46 am

Actress Molly Ringwald was asked about reading 50 Shades of Grey during her interview on NBC's "Today" show this week. She said she didn't like them.

aug 19, 2012, 2:51 pm

> 64. Ah, did she not like the first one so much that she read 'Darker' and 'Freed' anyway?? :)

aug 19, 2012, 5:57 pm

I think she read just the first I seem to remember she was putting out "this is crap but I like to finish books" tweets

aug 20, 2012, 9:45 am


aug 21, 2012, 5:16 pm

A student just told me that her mom put the book on the mom's Nook and her young nephew found it when going to play his video game. Oops!

sep 30, 2012, 3:43 pm

I'm a librarian and reading it out of interest in what moves so many people to read it.
I can see why. They're not just books about sex.

nov 15, 2012, 12:04 am

I couldn't have said it better.

Redigeret: dec 7, 2012, 12:24 pm

We've been having long talks about 50 Shades at our library, after interest from the students. We've finally erred on the side of not acquiring it -- our collection is for middle and high school students, for one thing, and we almost never purchase romance, etc., for our general fiction shelves (YA is a different matter, but 50 Shades isn't YA). Plus, we're a block from a public library with 20 copies -- it's already so widely available.

It did lead to an interesting discussion about the tension between the curatorial approach to collection building (emphasizing Works of Quality and so on) verus the get-students-to-read-by-any-means-necessary approach, and we'll probably keep talking about it in the future.

(Personally, I can't stand the series, but I also hate Twilight and I just put that in our books-and-movies display. My tastes won't stop me from acquiring a book or highlighting it, though I wouldn't put it on my personal recommendation shelf.)

jan 23, 2013, 3:35 pm

50 Shades of Grey has brought many new patrons into my library. What's not to love?

I have heard other librarians say they will not buy it because it is poorly written. In that case they should never buy anything by Tom Clancy or Patricia Cornwell. :-)

jan 23, 2013, 4:46 pm

With respect, they're better writer than she is…

jan 23, 2013, 4:50 pm

Clancy maybe, but not Cornwell. I couldn't get past the first three chapters of the first Cornwell I tried.

jan 23, 2013, 5:00 pm

Really? No, I haven't read her either. Clancy isn't as bad, for sure. Guys like that have editors helping them avoid dreadful stuff.

jan 23, 2013, 5:37 pm

Clancy is porn for men with diminished libidos...

jan 23, 2013, 6:26 pm

I gather he's written 1,000 books now, but way back in the '80s I read his first book, The Hunt for Red October. I found it fairly exciting, but didn't finish it. The movie was good. My libido continues :)

jan 25, 2013, 7:35 pm

I think every copy of FSG should be flushed down the toilet but alas, that is just based on my having decent taste in reading ;-) (plus it wouldn't be fair to all those septic tanks out there)

jan 29, 2013, 9:24 pm

A couple of weeks ago I saw a musical comedy -- or at least a comedy with a little music -- called "Spank!" It was a three-person parody of FSG (which I haven't read). The show was mostly amusing but not worth the ticket price to me.

apr 23, 2013, 3:59 am

I thought this book was absolute rubbish and actually quite disturbing to be honest. And i am not prudish in any sense. What sort of self respecting woman would allow herself to be treated like a sub like that?
And... i was sick of the character always "growling".