terça-feira, 20 de novembro de 2012

The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks

I love Nicholas Sparks, yet of all his books that I read I must say that this was the one that least moved or impressed me. It is a good book, well written, good plot and well put together - but for some reason it didn't have the same effect on me that so many other Nicholas Sparks books have had on me. The reason for this might be because it was a bit too predictable. I pretty much knew what was going to happen next and how the story would end, but nonetheless it is still a nice book for a quick and easy read.

The story begins with Logan who crosses the country by foot with his faithful German shepherd, Zeus, to find the woman of his life. He has never spoken, seen or heard about this woman - the only thing he has of her is a picture he found on the dirt in Iraq which he believes is what brings him good luck and kept him alive for so many years in war. And so with that in mind he goes off to find "the girl in the picture" so he can pay her back the favor.  

Book Review:

Over the past few years I have have come to realize that I am a hopeless romantic. I love reading stories about two people having a chance meeting and just knowing from that moment that they were meant to be together, no matter how much their relationship gets tested. That is why this week's selection happens to be from the man that I like to call the King of Romance Novels, Nicholas Sparks.
"The Lucky One" tells the story of Logan Thibault, a U.S. Marine who finds a lost picture while in Iraq. When nobody claims the picture he decides to keep it, providing him with good luck in every situation he is put into. After coming home he decides to find the woman in the picture even though he knows nothing about her. When he meets Beth Clayton there is an instant attraction and a passionate love affair begins, but Logan has a secret that may tear them apart for good.
I liked this book. I have read two previous Nicholas Sparks novels -"A Walk To Remember" and "Dear John," and enjoyed them, even though they both had sad endings. The ending to this novel is also sad but happy at the same time.
The book drags in certain spots because there is a lot of back story about each character that needs to be told, but there are also moments of action. Now, keep in mind because this is a romance novel the action scenes are few and far between, but the few that do exist leave an impact on the reader, especially the ending.
Sparks writes from the perspective of the main love triangle - Logan, Beth, and Beth's ex-husband, Keith. As I've mentioned before, I am not the biggest fan of multiple points of view, but this method helps push the plot along. It also shows the readers how the characters are connected. This book is great for anyone, especially those who love a great love story every now and then. I enjoyed reading it and I hope you do too. Maybe someday we will have that chance meeting where we meet the right person.

quarta-feira, 14 de novembro de 2012

I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak

Ed. Only Ed. The nobody, the skinny scrawny guy that is no good in bed, has only four friends and a crappy job as a taxi driver. 
And yet one day it all changes. Out of the blue Ed receives an envelope in his mailbox. An envelope with three addresses. Nothing more, nothing less. 
As time goes by Ed discovers that he needs to help these people - the people in the card - be it giving a mother a very much deserved ice-cream, taking a woman abuser to the bushes with a gun and a warning in his head, surprise Christmas lights or even by receiving a beating. 
The cards continue coming. The good deeds as well. At first only with strangers and totally unknown people. Before he knows it he is face to face with his mother, then his best friends and Audrey - the woman he loves and who doesn't give him a chance.
This is a beautiful, beautiful story. A story that made me want to see the little things, the little people and notice the importance of the ity-bitty hugs, compliments, smiles, and love gestures - that's what makes the world go round. And not only the small things...the big things as well. The ones that take up that extra dose of courage, time, guts and sacrifice. Yes, personal sacrifice. Those things are the ones that make us go on. 
Reading this story I totally related to Ed. Only Ed. Nobody Ed. But that in the end became more than any Big Ben, Great Josh, Huge Joe, Cool Carl and all those "oh-so-big-guys". If only we had more Only Ed's, Nobody Nancy's, Little Laura's, Happy Helen's and Unknown Ana's...

Book Review:

The Messenger is a 2002 novel by Markus Zusak, and winner of the 2003 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award. The Messenger was released in the United States under the name I Am the Messenger. The entire story is written through the eyes of the main character, Ed Kennedy, who describes and comments on the story throughout the book.

Plot summary

The story begins with an introduction to the character of Ed Kennedy, a down-and-out underage taxi driver who is hopelessly in love with his best friend Audrey, who, to his dismay, feels that she cares about him too much to date him. Ed is standing in a bank queue when a robbery takes place. He accidentally foils the robbers' escape, and is proclaimed a hero. Shortly after, he receives an Ace of Diamonds in the mail. The ace is from an unknown source. On the ace is written a list of addresses and times. These represent a series of tasks that Ed must complete.
His tasks are as follows:
  1. He must save a woman who is raped by her husband almost every night.
  2. He must comfort a lonely old lady.
  3. He must show a teenage girl how to take control of her life and become more confident.
Throughout the book, Ed receives different playing cards in the mail. Each card is a different ace, and each ace contains a series of tasks, often in the form of cryptic clues. On the second to last card, he receives a list with movie titles on it and deciphers the names of his three best friends. From these cards he learns the greatest message of all: That he isn't the messenger, but instead the message.
The last card is a Joker and has his own address written on it. But as it is made clear in the last lines of the novel it's all about the realisation of chances and potential because as Ed finally says:"I'm not the messenger at all. I'm the message."

sexta-feira, 9 de novembro de 2012

Amor em Minúscula - Franscesc Miralles

The student that lent me this book described it the following way: "A book that makes you feel secure, cozy and warm inside. Do you know what I mean?"
Yes, I do. Reading this book now makes me feel pretty much the same way - protected and tingly all over. But it's also a book that makes you question and think. Quite thought provoking.
This was how I described it to a friend when I first started reading it:
"I started a book that is called "Amor em Minuscula" written by this Spanish writer Francesc Miralles... i think it has something to do with a cat and a lonely old man from what i read till now..."
That then progreessed to:
'The book has gotten better now... the cat led the boring man to an old old man (the boring old mans neighbor  and the old old man sent him to get him a new train piece which made him bump into his first and only long lost love...but the boring man is such a jerk he doesn't even talk to her or anything...just crosses the road and that is it. well, all that to say it has gotten a bit more interesting :D"
And that is pretty much where I stopped. But if I would finish describing the rest of the book to this friend, this would be the ending:
"The boring old man has now gotten very interesting. He found out where his long lost love works. But she doesn't remember him. At least that means he got to talk to her, no? He met another man that is somewhat crazy and studies the moon. His old old neighbor is in the hospital so he is doing a favor by doing the job for the old old man...writing his book. Won't tell you the rest so that way you will force yourself to buy the book. Believe me, it is good!"
Last few words to say about what I learnt from this book: The contrary is convenient. Always act contrary to how you feel and you will receive unexpected results. It's all about doing the contrary from what your body is asking you to do. That is what this book was all about. You expect something from it but the book goes totally contrary to what you are expecting, catches you by surprise reading it in less than two days and leaves you with a good warm feeling at the end. Very convenient, wouldn't you say?!   

Book Review:

"Na última noite do ano, Samuel, um professor, tem a certeza de que os 365 dias seguintes não serão muito diferentes daqueles que passaram - milhares de provas a corrigir e aulas a preparar. Em sua rotina, a atividade mais emocionante é a ida ao supermercado. No entanto, para não romper com a tradição, Samuel não se opõe às usuais 12 uvas e à taça de champanhe para celebrar o ano-novo. Na manhã do novo ano, ao se levantar bem cedo, o professor está convencido de que nada de insólito irá lhe acontecer. No entanto, um estranho ruído o leva até a entrada do apartamento. Ali, à soleira da porta, encontra-se um pequeno visitante. Com menos de um palmo de altura e dono de pêlos tigrados, um gato saúda com um miado musical o novo amigo. Porém, o que Samuel não imaginava era que aquela visita seria o começo de uma incrível transformação em sua vida. Disposto a não abandonar o novo dono, Mishima (nome recebido em homenagem a um velho escritor japonês) leva Samuel a conhecer Titus, vizinho com quem jamais trocara palavra, e o enigmático Valdemar. Desses dois encontros nasce uma curiosa e terna amizade que, como num passe de mágica, é responsável pelo reencontro do solitário professor com a misteriosa Gabriela... depois de trinta anos. Pela primeira vez em sua vida, Samuel tem a oportunidade de viver intensamente os pequenos acontecimentos cotidianos. Escrito pelo espanhol Francesc Miralles, Amor em minúscula é uma delicada e terna história de amor e amizade, que vai comover o leitor e revelar os pequenos segredos de uma vida plena. "

quinta-feira, 8 de novembro de 2012

The Hite Report - Shere Hite

The "Hite Report" was named after its author Shere Hite - an American sex educator and feminist. She became one of the most well known sex researchers of all times. 

Coming across this book my curiosity was suddenly sparked. I had heard of this book before but never imagined I would be able to get a copy to my hands - much less an English one!
Nonetheless there were many questions in my head concerning what the "Hite Reports" were all about and how they turned into such a famous and world-wide known book. 
Much to my surprise I discovered that they were nothing more than surveys that women from all over the USA (and a few other parts of the world as well) filled out answering the questions concerning their own sexuality and sex life. 
Shere Hite does seem to cover pretty much every single question in the book so the answers that were received shed light on all aspects of women's sexual life. 
One reason that the book is so different from most sexology books in the market is because it is very honest. Other than these women's answers there isn't much more put in by the author. It was basically just organized in different sections and categories and you aren't reading what the author has to say but yes to what thousands of girls of all ages go through when it comes to sex. Women just like me and you. 
More than just genitals this book clearly enters a woman's mind and all that is involved when you are talking about one of the most secret thoughts and feelings a woman would have. It's hundreds of women opening themselves up, baring their traumas, taboos, fetishes and fantasies. So I am pretty sure I can say that any woman that does get to read this book will definitely relate to it - not all of it of course - but to the whole general picture, that's for sure!!!

Wikipedia on Shere Hite:

Shere Hite (born November 2, 1942) is an American-born German[1] sex educator and feminist. Her sexological work has focused primarily on female sexuality. Hite builds upon biological studies of sex by Masters and Johnson and by Alfred Kinsey. She also references theoretical, political and psychological works associated with the feminist movement of the 1970s, such as Anne Koedt's The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm. She renounced her United States citizenship in 1995 to become German.[2]

Early life, education, and career

Hite was born Shirley Diana Gregory in Saint Joseph, Missouri to Paul and Shirley Hurt Gregory. She later took the surname of her stepfather, Raymond Hite.[3] She graduated from Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Florida. She received a masters degree in history from the University of Florida in 1967. She then moved to New York City and enrolled at Columbia University to work toward her Ph.D. in social history. Hite says that the reason for her not completing this degree was the conservative nature of Columbia at that time.[citation needed] In the 1970s, she did part of her research while at the National Organization for Women. She appeared nude in Playboy while studying at Columbia University and also posed provocatively in a typewriter ad to earn money for her college fees, but when she read the ad’s strapline, “The typewriter is so smart she doesn’t have to be”, she joined a feminist protest against the ad she had appeared in.[4]
Hite teaches at Nihon University (Tokyo, Japan), Chongqing University in China, and Maimonides University, North Miami Beach, Florida, USA.[1]

[edit]Research focus

Hite has focused on understanding how individuals regard sexual experience and the meaning it holds for them. Hite's work showed that 70% of women do not have orgasms through in-out,thrusting intercourse but are able to achieve orgasm easily by masturbation or other direct clitoral stimulation.[5][6][7] She, as well as Elisabeth Lloyd, have criticized Masters and Johnson for uncritically incorporating cultural attitudes on sexual behavior into their research; for example, the argument that enough clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm should be provided by thrusting during intercourse, and the inference that the failure of this is a sign of female "sexual dysfunction."[7] Whilst not denying that both Kinsey and Masters and Johnson have been a crucial step in sex research, Hite believes that society must understand the cultural and personal construction of sexual experience to make the research relevant to sexual behavior outside the laboratory. She offered that limiting test subjects to "normal" women who report orgasming during coitus was basing research on the faulty assumption that having an orgasm during coitus was typical, something that her own research strongly refuted.[5]


Hite uses an individualistic research method. Thousands of responses from anonymous questionnaires were used as a framework to develop a discourse on human responses to gender and sexuality. Her conclusions derived from these questionnaire data have met with methodological criticism.[8] The fact that her data are not probability samples raises concerns about whether the sample data can be generalised to relevant populations. As is common with surveys concerning sensitive subjects, such as sexual behaviour, the proportion of nonresponse is typically large. Thus the conclusions derived from the data may not represent the views of the population under study because of bias due to nonresponse.[9] Hite supporters defend her methodology by saying that it is more likely to get to the truth of women's sexuality than studying women engaged in prostitution as if they were exemplary of women in general, or to study in laboratory conditions women who claim to orgasm during coitus.
Hite has been praised for her theoretical fruitfulness in sociological research.[10] The suggestion of bias in some of Hite's studies is frequently used as a talking point in university courses wheresampling methods are discussed, along with the Literary Digest poll of 1936. One discussion of sampling bias is by Philip Zimbardo,[11] who explained that women in Hite's study were given a survey about marriage satisfaction, where 98% reported dissatisfaction, and 75% reported having had extra-marital affairs, but where only 4% of women given the survey responded. Zimbardo argued that the women who had dissatisfaction may have been more motivated to respond than women who were satisfied and that her research may just have been "science-coded journalism." On the other hand, social science methodological differences when questions are on publicly consequential subjects, e.g., immediacy vs. time for thoughtfulness when answering, can result in differences in honesty and promises of confidentiality are not all equally believed by prospective respondents, affecting respondents' openness and honesty. Some or all of her published surveys[12][13] depended on wide multi-channel questionnaire distribution, opportunity for many long answers on a respondent's own schedule, enforced respondent anonymity, and response by mail rather than polling by telephone.

[edit]Personal life

Hite has no children.[14] In 1985 she married German concert pianist Friedrich Horicke, who is 19 years her junior.[15] The couple divorced in 1999.[16]

[edit]Notable works

  • Sexual Honesty, by Women, For Women (1974)
  • The Hite Report on Female Sexuality (1976, 1981, republished in 2004)
  • The Hite Report on Men and Male Sexuality (1981)
  • Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress (The Hite Report on Love, Passion, and Emotional Violence) (1987)
  • Fliegen mit Jupiter (English: Flying with Jupiter) (1993)
  • The Hite Report on the Family: Growing Up Under Patriarchy (1994)
  • The Hite Report on Shere Hite: Voice of a Daughter in Exile (2000) (autobiography)
  • The Shere Hite Reader: New and Selected Writings on Sex, Globalization and Private Life (2006)

Marina - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I liked the story what I didn't like was the story inside the story. 
If I had to give my opinion concerning this book the phrase above would be more than enough to explain what I meant. 
"Marina" was the first book ever written by the famous Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafon (the same author of "The Shadow of the Wind") though only recently has it become well known. 
His writing is spectacular but to be honest I think he overdid it when he enters his own world of fantasy and surrealism making everything be out of this world and coated with magic, creatures of the underworld and wild imagination. 
I guess it could be rated as an amazing book for many but personally speaking I do prefer something on more realistic and with a bit more down to earth. But despite so he still was able to give me quite a few scares and shivers down my spine and I read Oscar's and Marina's wild adventures. 
Another thing which I believe the author tries to pass on is the parallel of how Oscar was willing to go as far as the horrid creature he had seen only a short while ago to save the one he loved so much: Marina.
Many times human beings go as far as to do something absurd and wrong to save the ones they care and love. Like a mother hiding her child from the law despite them knowing they are guilty for a crime, parents not handing over their son or daughter to the police as a way of protecting them from suffering, husbands and wives having to lie to save face for one another, friends giving and loosing all they have as a way give that person they care so much for one last chance. And so was Oscar willing to do the same for Marina - become a monster - and turn her into one as well - so that she could continue living and being with him. 
So despite the unrealistic tone to this story it is still a beautiful and well written one. 

Book Review:

In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Oscar Drei suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts. It all began the previous autumn when, while exploring the dilapidated grounds of what seemed to be an abandoned house filled with portraits, he inadvertently stole a gold pocket watch. Thus begins Oscar's friendship with Marina and her father Herman Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to the gardens of the nearby cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m., a coach drives up to the cemetery and a woman with her face shrouded, wearing gloves, and holding a single rose is helped down from the coach and walks over to a nameless gravestone, where she sets down the flower, pauses for a moment, and then returns to the coach. The gravestone bears no marking but the outline of a strange-looking butterfly with open wings. On one of their subsequent walks Oscar and Marina spot the same woman and determine to follow her. Thereupon begins their journey into the woman's past, and that of the object of her devotion. It is a journey that takes them to the heights of a forgotten, postwar-Barcelona society, of now aged or departed aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons; and into the depths of the city's mysterious underground of labyrinthine sewers, corrupt policemen, beggars' hovels, and criminal depravity. 

terça-feira, 23 de outubro de 2012

Papillon - Henri Charriere

This book just entered into my "TOP 10 Favorites!" list. 
The book is based on the true story of the French convict Henri Charriere who was accused of manslaughter (though he says otherwise) and given a life sentence of hard labor in the French Guiana.
His story begins by him being unjustly accused (as he claims to be innocent) and from there on his voyage to the God-forbidden island where he is destined to spend the rest of his life as a prisoner. But if there is one thing that he cant take his mind off is the idea of escaping and freedom. 
And so begins Papillon's (Henri's nickname...Papillon means butterfly in French and he was given that nickname due to a butterfly tattoo he had on his chest) many adventures, escapes, years of sadness in solitary confinement, hard life as a convict which all culminate in his fight for freedom. 
One thing which greatly impressed me was his will to live and how much he life meant to him. He did all in his power to maintain his sanity, health and resources for when the time was come that he could escape and live as a free man once again - and in spite of it all he was successful!!! 
It is a very thrilling and blood-thumping story with great descriptions of the landscapes, characters, cultures, rules and life in the island. It is like having a big peak at how things really were done and administrated, how prisoners were treated and the way the French would deal with their criminals by sending them to this island.
At the end of the book it is very touching and beautiful - you feel so happy for Papillion finally succeeding in his quest for freedom and a chance to renew himself and restart his life on a clean slate. And it once again goes to show the power of forgiveness and how such a little decision to let go of the hate that is inside you can be exactly what you need to start life anew.
All in all after reading this book in less than a week the only thing I could think about was having his next book in my hands - and so that is just what I did: ran to the bookstore and bought his second book!!! YES!

Wikipedia on "Papillion":

Papillon [papijɔ̃] is a memoir by convicted felon and fugitive Henri Charrière, first published in France in 1969, describing his escape from a penal colony in French Guiana. It became an instant bestseller. It was translated into English from the original French by June P. Wilson and Walter B. Michaels for a 1970 edition, and by author Patrick O'Brian. Soon afterward the book was adapted for a Hollywood film of the same name.
Charrière stated that all events in the book are truthful and accurate, allowing for minor lapses in memory. Since its publication there has been controversy over its accuracy. Some consider that it is not actually true, and that not all the events and jails which he describes correspond to the time frame of the events in the book. In the view of some, it is best regarded as a narrative novel, depicting the adventures of several of Charrière's fellow inmates, among them Charles Brunier.[1][2]
Charrière supposedly had a reputation as a great fantasizer and storyteller. Thus, Papillon can be said to be more about a fictional character than the author himself. Charrière himself always maintained that his account was accurate and true, and that the story was dictated by him to a professional writer who put it in writing. However, in an interview before he died, the publisher, Robert Laffont, admitted that the book was originally submitted to him as a novel. Laffont specialised in real-life adventures, and persuaded Charrière to release it as if it were an autobiography. The book's title was based on Charrière's nickname, derived from a butterfly tattoo on his chest, papillon being the French word for 'butterfly'.
Charrière followed the book with a sequel (Banco) in 1973.


The book is an account of a 14-year period in Papillon's life (October 26, 1931 to October 18, 1945) starting from when he was wrongly convicted of murder in France and sentenced to a life of hard labor at the Devil's Island penal colony. He escaped from Devil's Island, to ultimately settle inVenezuela, where he lived and prospered, free from French justice.
Papillon endured a brief stay at a prison in Caen. As soon as he boarded a vessel bound for South America, he learned about the brutal life that prisoners had to endure at the prison colony. Murders were not uncommon among convicts, and men were cut with makeshift knives for their charger(a hollow metal cylinder containing money, lodged in the rectum; it has also been called a plan). Papillon befriended a former banker convicted ofcounterfeiting named Louis Dega. He agreed to protect Dega from those seeking to murder him for his charger.
Upon arriving at the penal colony, Papillon claimed to be ill and was sent to the infirmary. There he collaborated with two men named Clousiot andAndré Maturette to escape from the prison using a sailboat which they acquired with the assistance of the penal settlement's leper colony at Pigeon Island. They let the current of the Maroni River take them to the Atlantic Ocean, where they began to sail to the northwest.
In Trinidad the trio were joined by three other escapees and were helped on their journey by a British family, the Dutch bishop of Curaçao and several others. Nearing the Colombian coastline, the escapees were sighted; they were unable to escape for lack of wind and were captured and imprisoned.
In Colombian prison, Papillon joined with another prisoner to escape. Some distance from the prison, the two went their separate ways. Papillon entered the Guajira peninsula, a region dominated by Native Americans. He was assimilated into a coastal village whose specialty was pearl diving, married two teenage sisters and made them pregnant. After spending several months in relative paradise, Papillon became motivated to seek vengeance against those who had wronged him.
Soon after leaving the village, Papillon was imprisoned at Santa Marta, then transferred to Barranquilla. There, he was reunited with Clousiot and Maturette. Papillon made numerous escape attempts from this prison, all of which failed. He was eventually extradited back to French Guiana.
As punishment, Papillon was sentenced to two years of solitary confinement on Île Saint-Joseph (an island in the Îles du Salut group, 11 kilometers from the French Guiana coast). Clousiot and Maturette were given the same sentence. Upon his release, Papillon was transferred to Royal Island (also an island in the Îles du Salut group). An escape attempt there was foiled by an informant (whom Papillon stabbed to death) and Papillon was again sent to solitary confinement, this time for nineteen months. The original sentence of eight years was reduced after Papillon risked his life to save the life of a girl caught in shark-infested waters.
After French Guiana officials decided to support the pro-Nazi Vichy Regime, the penalty for any escape attempt became capital punishment. Realizing this, Papillon decided to feign insanity and be sent to the insane asylum on Royal Island. His reasoning was that insane prisoners could not be sentenced to death for any reason and the asylum was not as heavily guarded. He collaborated with another prisoner on an escape attempt but this attempt failed: while they were attempting to sail away, their boat was dashed against the rocks and destroyed, the other prisonerdrowning and Papillon himself nearly dashed against the rocks.
Papillon returned to the regular prisoner population on Royal Island after being "cured" of his mental illness. He requested that he be transferred to Devil's Island, the smallest and most "inescapable" island in the Îles de Salut group. Studying the waters around the island, Papillon discovered a rocky inlet surrounded by a high cliff. He noticed that every seventh wave was large enough to carry a floating object far enough out into the sea that it would drift towards the mainland. He experimented by throwing sacks of coconuts into the inlet.
He found another prisoner to accompany him on this escape attempt, a pirate named Sylvain who had previously sailed along southeast Asia, and who was infamous for raiding ships in the Far East, killing everyone aboard. They threw themselves into the inlet using sacks of coconuts for flotation. The seventh wave duly carried them out into the ocean. After days of drifting under the relentless sun, surviving only on coconut pulp, they made landfall at the mainland, but Sylvain abandoned his coconut sack prematurely and was devoured by quicksand.
Papillon navigated the mainland to find a Chinese man named Cuic Cuic, the brother of Chang. Cuic Cuic protected himself by making a hut on an "island" of solid ground surrounded by quicksand, using a pig that was adept at finding a navigable route over the quicksand. The men and the pig made their way to Georgetown, British Guiana, by boat. Though he could have lived there as a free man, Papillon decided to continue to the northwest in the company of five other escapees. Reaching Venezuela, the men were captured and imprisoned at mobile detention camps in the vicinity of El Dorado, a small mining town near the Gran Sabana region. Surviving horrible conditions there, and even finding diamonds, Papillon was eventually released, obtaining Venezuelan citizenship and celebrity status a few years later.

quinta-feira, 11 de outubro de 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James

The book is as good as they say it to be. 
Is it pornographic? yes it is. But it is in not a distasteful, crude or vulgar way. Like my adoptive mother said "it's girly porn" haahhaha
The story all starts out when Anastasia Steele interviews Mr. Grey for her college newsletter. And from there on the story goes unraveling inch by inch and we are left hanging to the very last thread.
Since it is a three book sequel and I have only read the first book I know there is still a LOT to come in the way of BDSM as the first book it is just touched on only but lightly, so there goes more learning on my part on all these deep dark sex secrets! 
I guess what gripped me in this book is that there is more to it than just being an erotic novel. There is a whole plot, story and feelings that go along with the story and this is what made me want to read the second and third book as well. A lot of erotic novels are very repetitive, just going through the same sex moves and positions over and over again to the point that it gets boring and unexciting. The difference in "Fifty Shades of Grey" though is that not only is there a new twist to the sex (the BDSM fact) but also that you get to know the whole story going on in all sides of these very interesting characters.
So I now to "Fifty Shades Darker" and soon after "Fifty Shades Free" - yippeeeeeee!!!

Wikepedia on "Fifty Shades of Grey":

Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic novel by British author E. L. James. Set largely in Seattle, it is the first instalment in a trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM).
The second and third volumes are titled Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, respectively. Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States.[1][2] The series has sold 40 million copies worldwide,[3] with book rights having been sold in 37 countries,[4] and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series.[5] Critical reception of the novel has been mixed.


Fifty Shades of Grey follows Anastasia "Ana" Steele, a 22-year-old college senior who lives with her best friend Katherine Kavanagh; Katherine writes for their college's student paper. Because of illness, Katherine persuades Ana to take her place and interview 27-year-old Christian Grey, an incredibly successful and wealthy young entrepreneur. Ana is instantly attracted to Grey, but also finds him intimidating. As a result she stumbles through the interview and leaves Grey's office believing that it went badly. Ana tries to console herself with the thought that the two of them will probably not meet each other again. However she is surprised when Grey appears at the hardware store where she works. While he purchases various items including cable ties and rope, Ana informs Grey that Katherine wants photographs to go along with her article about him. Grey leaves Ana with his phone number. Katherine urges Ana to call Grey and arrange a photo shoot with their photographer friend Jose Rodriquez.
The next day Jose, Katherine, and Ana arrive at the hotel Grey is staying at, where the photo shoot takes place and Grey asks Ana out for coffee. The two talk over coffee and Grey asks Ana if she's dating anyone, specifically Jose. When Ana replies that she isn't dating anyone, Grey begins to ask her about her family. During the conversation Ana learns that Grey is also single, but is not "a hearts and flowers kind of guy". This intrigues Ana, especially after he pulls her out of the path of an oncoming cyclist. However, Ana believes that she is not attractive enough for Grey, much to the chagrin of her friend Katherine.
After finishing her exams Ana receives a package from Grey containing first edition copies of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, which stuns her. Later that night Ana goes out drinking with her friends and ends up drunk dialing Grey, who informs her that he will be coming to pick her up because of her inebriated state. Ana goes outside to get some fresh air, and Jose attempts to kiss her but is stopped by Grey's arrival. Ana later leaves with Grey, but not before she discovers that her friend Katherine has been flirting with Grey's brother Elliott. Later Ana wakes to find herself in Grey's hotel room, where he scolds her for not taking proper care of herself. Grey then reveals that he would like to have sex with her. He initially says that Ana will first have to fill out paperwork, but later goes back on this statement after making out with her in the elevator.
Ana later goes on a date with Grey where he takes her in his helicopter to his apartment. Once there, Grey insists that she sign a non-disclosure agreement forbidding her to discuss anything that they do together, which Ana agrees to sign. He also mentions other paperwork, but first takes her to a room full of BDSM toys and gear. There Grey informs her that the second contract will be one of dominance and submission and that there will be no romantic relationship, only a sexual one. The contract even forbids Ana from touching Grey or making eye contact with him. At this point, Grey realizes that Ana is a virgin and agrees to take her virginity without making her sign the contract. The two then have sex.
The following morning Ana and Grey once again have sex, and his mother, who arrives moments after their sexual encounter, is surprised by the meeting, having previously thought Grey was homosexual because she had never seen him with a woman. Grey later takes Ana out to eat, and he reveals to her that he lost his virginity at fifteen to one of his mother's friends and that his previous dominant/submissive relationships failed due to incompatibility. They plan to meet up again and Grey takes Ana home, where she discovers several job offers and admits to Katherine that she and Grey have had sex.
Over the next few days Ana receives several packages from Grey. These include a laptop to enable the two of them to communicate, since she has never previously owned a computer, and a more detailed version of the dominant/submissive contract. She and Grey email each other, with Ana teasing him and refusing to honor parts of the contract, such as only eating foods from a specific list. Ana later meets up with Grey to discuss the contract, only to grow overwhelmed by the potential BDSM arrangement and the potential of having a sexual relationship with Grey that is not romantic in nature. Because of these feelings Ana runs away from Grey and does not see him again until her college graduation, where he is a guest speaker. During this time, Ana agrees to sign the dominant/submissive contract.
Ana and Grey once again meet up together to further discuss the contract, and they go over Ana's hard and soft limits. Ana is spanked for the first time by Grey; the experience leaves her both enticed and slightly confused. This confusion is exacerbated by Grey's lavish gifts, and the fact that he brings her to meet his family. The two continue with the arrangement without Ana having yet signed the contract. After successfully landing a job with Seattle Independent Publishing, Ana further bristles under the restrictions of the non-disclosure agreement and the complex relationship with Grey.
The tension between Ana and Grey eventually comes to a head after Ana asks Grey to punish her in order to show her how extreme a BDSM relationship with him could be. Grey fulfills Ana's request, beating her with a belt, only for Ana to realize that the two of them are incompatible. Devastated, Ana leaves Grey and returns to the apartment she shares with Katherine.


The Fifty Shades trilogy was developed from a Twilight fan fiction originally titled Master of the Universe and published episodically on fan-fiction websites under the pen name "Snowqueen's Icedragon". The piece featured characters named after Stephenie Meyer's characters in TwilightEdward Cullen and Bella Swan. After comments concerning the sexual nature of the material, James removed the story from the fan-fiction websites and published it on her own website, Later she rewrote Master of the Universe as an original piece, with the principal characters renamed Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and removed it from her website prior to publication.[6] Meyer commented on the series, saying "that's really not my genre, not my thing ... Good on her—she's doing well. That's great!"[7]
This reworked and extended version of Master of the Universe was split into three parts. The first, titled Fifty Shades of Grey, was released as an e-book and a print-on-demand paperback in May 2011 by The Writers' Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher based in Australia. The second volume, Fifty Shades Darker, was released in September 2011; and, the third, Fifty Shades Freed, followed in January 2012. The Writers' Coffee Shop had a restricted marketing budget and relied largely on book blogs for early publicity, but sales of the novel were boosted by word-of-mouth recommendation.
The book's erotic nature and perceived demographic of its fanbase as being composed largely of married women over thirty led to the book being dubbed "Mommy Porn" by some news agencies.[8][9] The book has also been reportedly popular among teenage girls and college women.[9][10][11]
By the release of the final volume in January 2012, news networks in the United States had begun to report on the Fifty Shades trilogy as an example of viral marketing and of the rise in popularity of female erotica, attributing its success to the discreet nature of e-reading devices.[12][13] Due to the heightened interest in the series, the license to the Fifty Shades trilogy was picked up byVintage Books for re-release in a new and revised edition in April 2012.
On 1 August 2012, announced that it had sold more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey than it had the entire Harry Potter series combined, making E. L. James its best-selling author, replacing J. K. Rowling. However, Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, while the entire Harry Potter series has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide, thus not having sold more copies than the entire Harry Potter series combined.[14] It was number one on USA Today's best-selling books list for twenty weeks in a row, breaking a previous record of 16 weeks set by In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah's Favorite Recipes by Rosie Daley and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.[citation needed]


Critical reception of Fifty Shades of Grey has been mixed to negative, with most reviews noting poor literary qualities of the work. Princeton professor April Alliston wrote, "Though no literary masterpiece, Fifty Shades is more than parasitic fan fiction based on the recent Twilight vampire series."[15] Entertainment Weekly gave the book a "B+" rating and praised it for being "in a class by itself."[16] Jenny Colgan of The Guardian wrote "It is jolly, eminently readable and as sweet and safe as BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) erotica can be without contravening the trade descriptions act" and also praised the book for being "more enjoyable" than other "literary erotic books".[17] However, The Telegraph criticised the book as "treacly cliché" but also wrote that the sexual politics in Fifty Shades of Grey will have female readers "discussing it for years to come."[18] A reviewer for the Ledger-Enquirer described the book as guilty fun and escapism, but that it "also touches on one aspect of female existence [female submission]. And acknowledging that fact – maybe even appreciating it – shouldn't be a cause for guilt."[19] The New Zealand Herald stated that the book "will win no prizes for its prose" and that "there are some exceedingly awful descriptions," but that it was also an easy read and if you "can suspend your disbelief and your desire to – if you'll pardon the expression – slap the heroine for having so little self respect, you might enjoy it."[20]
The Columbus Dispatch also criticised the book but stated that, "Despite the clunky prose, James does cause one to turn the page."[21] Metro News Canada wrote that "suffering through 500 pages of this heroine's inner dialogue was torturous, and not in the intended, sexy kind of way".[22] Jessica Reaves, of the Chicago Tribune, wrote that the "book's source material isn't great literature", noting that the novel is "sprinkled liberally and repeatedly with asinine phrases", and described it as "depressing".[23] The book has also been criticised for the author's use of Britishidioms which, syntactically, clash with the would-be American voice of the protagonist, thus adding further strain to the dialogue.[24]


Origin as fan fiction

Fifty Shades of Grey has attracted criticism due to its origin as a fan fiction based on the Twilight novels, with some readers predicting copyright issues due to this connection.[25] Amanda Hayward of The Writer's Coffee Shop responded to these claims by stating that Fifty Shades of Grey "bore very little resemblance to Twilight" and that "Twilight and Fifty Shades trilogy are worlds apart".[25] In April 2012, E. L. James was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World",[26] with Richard Lawson of The Atlantic Wire criticising her inclusion due to the trilogy's fan fiction beginnings.[27]

Depiction of BDSM

Fifty Shades of Grey has also attracted criticism due to its depictions of BDSM, with Katie Roiphe of Newsweek asking "But why, for women especially, would free will be a burden? ... It may be that power is not always that comfortable, even for those of us who grew up in it; it may be that equality is something we want only sometimes and in some places and in some arenas; it may be that power and all of its imperatives can be boring."[28] Andrea Reiher expressed frustration at Roiphe's depiction of the series, stating that "[b]eing submissive sexually is not tantamount to being the victim of abuse" or that they're "giving up their power or their equality with their partner".[29] Other sites such as Jezebel have responded to the article, with Jezebel listing reasons for Fifty Shades of Grey's popularity, stating that "the vast majority of fans fawn over the emotional relationship Anastasia and Christian have, not about the sex."[30] In an interview with Salon, several dominatrices have responded that while submission can be an escape from daily stresses, they also frequently have male clients and that trust is a big factor in dominant/submissive relationships. One interviewed former dominatrix and author, Melissa Febos, stated that even if the book's popularity was a result of women's "current anxieties about equality" that it "doesn't mean that it's 'evidence of unhappiness, or an invalidation of feminism,' ... it might actually be a sign of progress that millions of women are so hungrily pursuing sexual fantasies independent of men."[31]
Writing in The Huffington Post, critic Soraya Chemaly argued that interest in the series was not a trend, but squarely within the tradition and success of the romance category which is driven by tales of virgins, damaged men and submission/dominance themes. Instead, she wrote, the books are notable not for transgressive sex but for how women are using technology to subvert gendered shame by exploring explicit sexual content privately using e-readers. Instead of submission fantasies representing a post-feminist discomfort with power and free will, women's open consumption, sharing and discussion of sexual content is a feminist success.[32] At the beginning of the media hype, Dr. Drew debated sexologist Logan Levkoff on The Today Show,[33] about whether Fifty Shades perpetuated violence against women; Levkoff said that while that is an important subject, this trilogy had nothing to do with it – this was a book about a consensual relationship. Dr. Drew commented that the book was "horribly written" in addition to being "disturbing" but stated that "if the book enhances women's real-life sex lives and intimacy, so be it."[34]

Brevard County Public Library ban

In March 2012, public libraries in Brevard County, Florida, USA removed copies of Fifty Shades of Grey from its shelves, citing that it did not meet the selection criteria for the branch and that reviews for the book had been poor. A representative for the library stated that it was due to the book's sexual content and voiced that other libraries had declined to purchase copies for their branches.[35] Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the American Library Association commented that "If the only reason you don't select a book is that you disapprove of its content, but there is demand for it, there's a question of whether you're being fair. In a public library there is usually very little that would prevent a book from being on the shelf if there is a demand for the information."[35] Brevard County Public Libraries later made their copies available to their patrons due to public demand.[36]