Have you read it yet?
You know what I mean, don't you? Everyone is reading it.
Hiding it in their purses or their vehicles, like the girlie magazines we used to keep in our underwear drawer.
A waitress overheard us talking the other night and without even mentioning the title, she knew.
Saturday Night Live did a marvelous skit about it - the family finding mom in different rooms reading, mom screaming at them to give her some privacy.
It's titillating, it's soft porn, it's just a notch above the Harlequin Romance, with its heaving bosoms and tumescent body parts.
It's 50 Shades of Grey and it's the fastest selling paperback of all time, beating Harry Potter, probably because Harry isn't doing it with whatzername on the Quidditch field after dark.
They call "Shades" Mommy Porn because its favourite demographic is women in their 30's- who have no doubt been married for awhile and are looking for a bit of a buzz.
Also popular with teens and college women, 50SofG is about Ana, a 20-something woman who does a friend a favour by interviewing Christian Grey (the only Christian you'll find in this book), a successful young industrialist who just happens to be into BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism. Hey Chris, get a hobby!). She is at once aroused and intimidated ("a quivering mass of raging female hormones").
She sees him again in a hardware store, where she works, when he comes in to buy cable and ropes. They go out for coffee and the rest is very explicit erotic history. I won't bore you with the details (not in a family newspaper), nor will I get into the critical response (mixed) and analyses vis a vis feminism and erotica and submissiveness. My daughter told me she'd heard it was badly written but highly popular, much like the acting in a lot of your porn films.
So there you go, that's what 40 million people are reading on the beaches these days, and by the time you read this it'll be 60 million, sales apparently owing a lot to word of mouth. Sex sells.
This isn't news, of course, just further proof. There have been loads of novels written with sexually explicit material in them, some of them literary classics including the sex book of my youth, Lady Chatterley's Lover, but none quite as popular as this trilogy. Yes, there are three in the series, and they will all be made into R-rated movies, guaranteed to come to a theatre near you.
I have read about 150 pages - an easy read, I might add, something for the gym - although I wouldn't be caught dead with it anymore than I would be caught wearing a thong on the treadmill. The book might have better been called 50 Shades of Red, because this woman is always blushing or flushing and turning red or crimson or scarlet with little shocks of electricity passing through her body whenever the successful sexpot is around. And there are heart palpitations that would fell a horse.
I knew these romantic novels were big sellers, but this phenomenon has me thinking maybe I could write one of these porno potboilers. I'm working on a plot line right now: newspaper columnist does his editor a favour by interviewing a well-known political figure, an attractive former talk show host, Christiana Park, premier of B.C., whose popularity is dropping rapidly and is desperate to remake her image before the next election. She invites him to her home where, it turns out, she practices HST, PST and S&M (secrecy and mendacity). She lulls him into submission by reading portions of her party's budget and then has her way with him (again, unprintable here).
I am calling it, tentatively, Love on the Wet (a popular word in this genre) Coast - 50 Days of Rain.