Monday, August 18, 2014

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I always admit that I have read Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James. I'm also quick to follow up that I didn't read the second or third installment, that I hated the book, and that I think it should still be something everyone is free to experience and enjoy.

I found the book to be one of the most frustrating experiences of my book-reading life for three reasons:

1. There is horrible sentence structure and too much repetition.
Some sentences aren't even sentences, inner goddess.
2. The plot is based on unrealistic sex and an unrealistic development of a relationship that is sick.
I'm not talking about the sex. I'm talking about the idea that a woman with little self-confidence, should or would, stick it out for some troubled, abusive (physically, mentally, and emotionally) man who doesn't want a relationship. It's all good, inner goddess, you can save and change him and be happy in the end.
3. I dislike the fact that this book spurred some kind of sexual revolution or awakening.
Either my inner goddess had never heard of porn before, had never read any number of erotica or romance novels, or she was just too repressed to enjoy it. But a bad pseudo-relationship and some boring-girl-gets-the-guy plot totally sexes things right up. BDSM! Slapping! Hair pulling! What utterly new ideas to bring to my bedroom. 

Even writing it now, I feel like I  can never adequately describe my frustration with the book. But I think this write up by Dave Barry for TIME is pretty much perfect. And it's hilarious. Enjoy!


Friday, August 15, 2014

SAG Foundation: Storyline Online

Celebrities with books:
Reading them.
Standing near them.
Talking about them.
Posed with them. (See: Benedict Cumberbatch on the cover of An English Room. Yeah, I have a copy.)

If I know there's a celebrity with a book in that link, I'm totally going to click it. Click it good.

Thanks to that very compulsion, I recently discovered Storyline Online. The website, sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, houses free videos of celebrities reading children's books.

My parents read to me almost every day, for probably the first 10 or 12 years of my life. Computers, the Internet, and even audiobooks weren't part of growing up for me. I absolutely adored those scroll-through computer things at the library. Those machines where you would listen along with a book and "turn the page" when the recording made a certain beep. And I loved the story time read-to-kids programs at the library as well. I'm so grateful my parents made these things happen for me.

But the reality is that it can't happen for everyone. Parents work a lot. Libraries are closing, staffs are reduced, and services aren't available or easy to access anymore. And although the internet is not universally available for everyone at home, it's still reaching plenty of kids. Which is why I think this website is so dang cool. Let a kid be read to by someone who, by their acting nature, is a great reader. Let those talents engage kids with books and reading. For free.

Huzzah to you, SAG Foundation!