'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Trilogy Pulled From Library Shelves: Too Sexy, Or Just Badly Written?by: Posted:
Several states' respective public libraries are telling E.L. James' publishers to peddle the Fifty Shades Of Gray trilogy elsewhere, the Associated Press reports.
Reportedly deemed "mommy porn" by some because the "Twilight"-inspired books have become so popular among middle-aged women for its themes of graphic sexuality, bondage and shockingly even true love, James' three novels - the titular premiere book, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed - occupies The New York Times Bestseller List's top three positions this week. But just as high school and "American Idol" have proven time and again, being well-liked sometimes says little to nothing of one's actual merit.
Libraries in Wisconsin, Florida and Georgia that have begun either pulling the books from shelves, or declining to order them at all, have cited critiques ranging from content that's too explicit for a publicly funded institution to purvey to just considering all three books to be poorly written. Brevard County, Fla. spokesman Don Walker called the series "semi-pornographic" after reading reviews that followed his libraries stocking 19 copies of the trilogy. Of course, his are also among the libraries pulling it.
"It doesn't suit our community standards," said Leon County, Fla. director of libraries Cay Hohmeister.
For what it's worth, in Gwinnett County, Ga., James' books join what some would deem good company. The county's libraries also banned Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer and Vladmir Nabokov's Lolita upon their respective debuts. Gwinnett County branches now carry both.
James first published "Fifty Shades" online in an e-reader format, then when demand escalated, a limited print-on-demand edition. After Random House acquired the rights April 3 and made the books even more widely available, they've sold to date a combined 3 million copies across all formats.
"We believe the Brevard County Public LIbrary System is indulging in an act of censorship, and essentially is saying to library patrons: 'We will judge what you can read,'" Random House spokesman Paul Bogaards said.
Judging the series by critical reception can get dodgy, as some librarians have admitted. The U.K.'s Guardian called it "jolly," whereas The Telegraph deemed it "hackneyed." The Guardian said it was "eminently readable" but The Telegraph referenced "pages of treacly cliches."
"It has not received what we would consider good reviews," Hohmeister said. "It doesn't meet our selection criteria."