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Unavoidable Read

I’m fairly liberal about what I read; I can explore a range of literary topics. Though historical nonfiction and Middle Earth-type fantasy remain my favorite genres, I would never say no to a taut thriller, an insightful biography, or a brain-poking mystery. Even if a book is not particularly enjoyable, I still learn from it, as a reader and as a writer. I never really knew about the gargantuan popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray, however, until Winter Break.

Let me explain: a male friend of mine received the book as a joke present for Christmas. Despite the fact that the gift’s intentions were sarcastic and comical, he assured me that the setting and the writing is very well done, and that he couldn’t put down the book. Maybe I should have slapped him at that point, in a vain attempt to break him out of his trance, but instead I thought, “Fair enough.” Maybe Fifty Shades was in fact a good book, a new fad done right. Lacking information on the romance novel, I nonchalantly checked the summary on Wikipedia.

Now, that’s just gross.

Why are we obsessed with this new book, I thought, shocked. Why is its popularity only increasing? Why is one of my closest friends telling me how great it is, and so eager to get back to it?  Does this book represent the end of society? Were the Mayans only a little bit off with their end-world date? Sure, they and their neighbors ripped out hearts for sacrifices, but even that seems culturally harmless compared to Fifty Shades.

And the sad part, the really sad part, is that now, I believe I’ll have no choice but to pick up the book and read it. I can read everything, because I’m interested in everything. It’s unavoidable. Heck, a movie trilogy is already in the works. Like all things, the series will fade away, but not without a big bang first.

Thus, I have a feeling that I will soon be reading this Fifty Shades book. This was not an easy choice, but it’s a scenario I know will come along. If nothing else, perhaps the book can offer some interesting historical research, some insight into a dark and twisted mind, much like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

This might seem a bit dire, but I am nothing if not prepared. Maybe I’ll wear safety gloves as I read it, and have an emergency pile of Crichton and Rowling books to jump into in case the nausea overtakes me. From what I’ve heard, one can never be too careful.

Fifty Shades of Grey is being met with mixed reception: some like it, some dislike it, some want to burn it in a fire. I can’t give an honest review, because I haven’t read the book yet, but I know that the time will come soon. And I will be ready.

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