I’m really trying to figure out why people say that 50shades is such a quick and easy read. It’s slow, painful, and painfully slow.
Lets talk about a quick and easy read, in my opinion. First, a quick and easy read is something that you enjoyed. Whether you enjoyed it because its simple, funny, entertaining, or off-colour, it’s not an “easy” read unless you feel like it is not work to read it.
A quick and easy read is something that you just can’t put down. Something that sucks you in so suddenly and so deeply that you surface a few hours later, unaware at first that time had continued to go on without you.
A quick and easy read is something that you don’t have to think about as you are reading. The author gives you just enough to remind you about important facts without being patronizing. Also, the author doesn’t bury you in unnecessary and confusing details.
A quick and easy read has near-seamless continuity. The reader does not have to struggle with flipping back and forth though chapters trying to resolve a confusing contradiction, or figure out a seemingly missed detail that was actually never in the story.
A quick and easy read is something that the reader doesn’t struggle with on a emotional or ethical level. Books that offend are not always a bad thing (at least when they are intentionally written to challenge thinking, opinion, or expectations) but they take some work getting through. Books that are supposed to be “fluff” but that unintentionally end up as upsetting can be particularly difficult to slog through.
A quick and easy read is also, well, quick. But that’s kind of a subjective concept. I once sat down for 10 straight hours (well, I took breaks to stretch and pee and blink) reading Shadowfever (the final book of Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series) (don’t judge me). This book is almost 700 pages long. I read the entire thing in that 10 hour sitting. I qualify that as quick and easy.
Now, to my point: 50shades is neither quick nor easy. I’ve been working on this project for how long now? A couple of months. And I still haven’t finished reading the book.
Before any naysayers bag me about starting a project on a book before finishing it, I know how it ends. Which is to say it doesn’t. It just cliffhangs until book two because $$$. Plus if I read the whole thing through then had to re-read and try to type up plagiarism examples and responses, I would end up breaking all of my equipment in a fit of rage, but I need those things for work.
If your argument is “of course it’s taking you this long to read, you’re making notes and blogging as you go” just stop right there. Remember that paper I wrote comparing Bella in Twilight to Eve in Paradise Lost? Yeah, I re-read Paradise Lost in a weekend, making notes as I went. (And yes I had already read it at least once, but it’s Paradise Lost, literature doesn’t get much harder than that unless you count a modern scholar trying to analyze an Old English version of Beowulf. That is some hard translating right there.)
Continuing: if your argument is now that my taste in literature makes reading modern books a challenge for me, then 1) see the Shadowfever example above and 2) guess what, I was late to the Twilight party, Breaking Dawn had just released, my husband gifted me with all four books at once* on a Saturday, and around taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, and working on Monday and Tuesday, I was done with the lot by Tuesday night.
So spaced through 4 days I read the entire Twilight saga, but it’s taking me at least 7 weeks to read book one of the knock-off series?
Seriously, today I ranked taking out the trash over reading 50shades in my “things I would rather do” list, because reading that book is such a chore. I find myself walking away from it mid-chapter. I never do that unless there is an emergency. I guess taking a break from 50shades counts as an emergency now.
So, quick and easy read? I call bullshit.
*it was actually pretty sweet and cool how he did this. He came home from work one Saturday, said he had a surprise for me, and handed me Twilight. I thanked him, gave him a hug and a kiss, and started reading. After I was about 4 chapters in and oblivious to everything around me, he sat the other three books on the couch next to me and waited. Good one, hubby.
The 50 Shades books took me forever to read because every 3-4 pages it hit the wall, and I had to push myself to get up and retrieve it. I _HATE_ Wallbangers!! but my friends (who gave me the series) told me I was not allowed to diss them til I had suffered like they had.
Compare that to any of the Outlander books, by Gabaldon. They have a habit of making time stand still.
Nadia O said:
Friendly disagreement with Alison. I LOVED the Outlander books. Those are the only “romance” books I will read. I refused to red 50 cause I found Jen then these 2 wonderful women to do all that work for me. Jamie & Claire are my all time heros of romance. Well maybe I jst have a thing for a tall, handsome, half naked man in a kilt..Don’t jidge me. LOL P.S I knocked out all 4 Twilight Books over 2 days. Since I have no husband or children I was okay, the cat however still has not forgiven me.
Alix Gunn said:
No disagreement – except to say that “Outlander” _isn’t_ a “romance” It’s historic fiction with a solid relationship at its core. (I’m moderator on one of the Gabaldon devoted lists, so I’ve studied the Outlander series the way Kody has studied Twilight.) Gabaldon books absorb you – hence time stands still.
It’s because of authours like that – those who do research and develope characters and plot, and so obviously love language and are never at a loss for description and dialogue (seriously – after 7 books, Diana has never repeated a love scene.)- – These authours make EL James’ writing so excruciating and infuriating.
James insults her readers – but she’s also insulting these writers.
I couldn’t agree more. Prior to reading this, my least favorite book of all time was Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. I agonized over finishing that damn book for my sophomore English teacher, because it was my assigned book report book, I adored her and she adored the book. It took my two weeks, which nothing I’ve ever read before or since has taken. Like you, I read the entire Twilight series in three days, and I read the entire Belgariad and Mallorean series in a week. I struggled with Jude the Obscure the way I’ve struggled with nothing else, not even the Canterbury Tales, in the original Old English.
But if I was forced to choose between re-reading 50 Shades of Grey, or even, (god forbid) reading the rest of the series, and re-reading Jude the Obscure, I would fall down on my knees and be thankful for the chance to choose Jude the Obscure. I would read nothing but Jude the Obscure every day for a year before willingly picking up on E.L. James’ books ever, ever again.
I was late to the Harry Potter party and read the 3 prior to Goblet of Fire in less then a week. I had the misfortune of reading the 50 shades series as all my so called friends were raving about it and they were on special offer before my holiday. I have never failed to finish a holiday book before but I did this time. I preferred the evil that was the canterbury tales, The Mayor of Casterbridge and other such horrors that I plodded through for my English literature A levels. On a different note, as a Brit ELJs blatent Britishness in a supposedly America set book is laughable.
See, and I finished the 50 shades trilogy in record time (less than 36 hrs to get through all 3) – because every time ELJ started rambling with useless details, or repeating nonsense I just skipped it entirely. The books got really short reading them this way…
One of my favourite quotes is “easy reading is not easy writing” and 50 shades is most definitely easy writing.
Your reaction is the same as my one. The storyline is predictable, and when I read I had no idea of the twilight connection but still thought of them as Bella and Edward. Twilight, the entire saga? I read that in 3 days. 50 took me a month for the entire trilogy, and I didn’t read anything else in that time. Also, the hobbit took me two days and I’d heard for years how boring it was (I loved it, absolutely loved it. Also, Ana reminds me of Gollum! Bet she only eats Goblins 😉 ) the difference is, J.R.R.Tolkein had talent and imagination, Stephenie Meyer had an amazing concept that went in directions I couldn’t have predicted (because for me, a set up for a big-ass fight means a big-ass fight) and E.L.James just got lucky.
E.L.James will never be sued either, by the way, because (and this is the first instance I have ever loved her) Stephenie’s reaction on hearing about 50 was to go ‘oh, that doesn’t sound like my sort of thing, but good luck to her!’ Which I choose to take as the most sarcastic way of going ‘a fan? Well, I never plan on meeting this bitch, but if she wants to be graphic about Bella and Edward then that’s her life, I’m happy with mine.’ Burn, E.L.James, Stephenie doesn’t want shit to do with you and your domestic abuse porn.
Also, would love to know all the different Briticisms in 50, I’m English myself and although I know there’s a huge difference in how we use the same language – which I’ve seen for myself from a young age – I still don’t read 50 and think ‘that sounds English’ except for the tea thing. I do however think ‘that sounds pretentious’ since she uses a lot of words I wouldn’t have a clue about when I was 22.
Love your blog by the way, found it through Jenny Trout’s and have been reading for a while (Jenny’s bringing the most awesome people into my life through that thing 😉 ) can’t believe you chose to read this, never again will I touch that thing.
Here, in the sporking of 50, https://das-sporking.livejournal.com/242672.html?view=11055088#t11055088%E2%80%9D they do a count called “Key and Trumpets” where they add up all of the instances of “British-isms” that are in 50shades. By the halfway point, the count is around 20 or so.
I guess it’s really easier to see them from an American point of view, mainly because they automatically pop out as odd/unusual to us. Granted, the author is English, but she should have researched the common speech and phrases for that region. She should have researched a lot of stuff, though…..
Kody said >Granted, the author is English, but she should have researched the common speech and phrases for that region.<
This is where a copy editor would have come in handy.
Oh, wait – she supposedly _had_ one, who was apparently instructed by her publishers (Writer's Coffeeshop) to "handle James with kid gloves"… I guess no one is interested in job integrity anymore.