I read smut

Fifty Shades of Grey
Have you read it?

An uncomfortable conversation

“Have you read that book?” my mother asked me, as a news story about Fifty Shades of Grey was ending. Considering the hype that book had gotten, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the question, but I was.

I looked into her face, trying to figure out why she had asked. My mother isn’t a reader. Her idea of entertainment does not include books. She has never, to my knowledge, expressed an interest in any of the bestsellers the media happens to be hyping up. She has absolutely never read one.

For most of my life she’s been happy to ignore the piles of books I accumulate, their titles and their topics. The only exception to that was when my pre-teen brother started to pilfer books from my bookcases. And, of course, he took things like The Joy of Sex and Sex for Dummies (the Dr. Ruth version). She asked me to put those books, and others like them, away. And that’s when I started to “hide” my questionable material.

It’s worth mentioning that that’s the only time my mother ever asked me why I had bought a particular book. And the only answer I gave her was a smile. She never asked again.

It’s also worth mentioning that it was my mother who got me started on Harlequin romances. In her defense, it was an accident, and a story I will tell better later.

“I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey,” I told her. I could have left it at that, but I didn’t want to mislead her. “It’s gotten bad reviews. I heard that it was badly written and not worth the read,” I explained. “I have other books like it, so I do read that kind of writing, just not that particular book.”

I was expecting follow-up questions, and I wasn’t disappointed. She asked me why the book was getting so much media, what made it so different. She asked me why they were making such a big deal about it if, as I stated, it wasn’t a unique book. And she asked me why it was selling so well if it was also getting such bad reviews. I honestly don’t remember my answers, but that it was a longer conversation that I would have liked.

She did ask what was in the book, what kinds of things, and I tried my best to answer. It was a weird conversation, the kind I can’t recall having since I was a teen myself, when I would ask her the hard questions and she would try her best to answer.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it

I’m not actually ashamed of my reading habits. I’ll own up to the things I buy, the things I read. But it’s kind of like knowing you eat a lot of chocolate, telling people you eat a lot of chocolate, then having someone add up in dollars and cents what you spent on candy bars this week and putting it on the bulletin board at work. It’s the truth, but it is a little embarrassing.

I don’t actively hide my books. I don’t have to. Not just because my brother doesn’t live with me, or pilfer my books these days (he doesn’t; I’m not sure if that’s because he doesn’t read for entertainment or because I stopped “stocking” the interesting books and he gave up). The reality is that most of my purchases of reading materials happens via Amazon, via the Kindle apps, so I carry hundreds of books in my purse. And no one ever sees what I buy.

However, the conversation with my mother followed closely by an article pondering what happens to your Amazon book collection when you die made me realize that there’s a very good possibility that someone in my family is going to go through the thousands of books I own and come across the… less mainstream ones. That’s not good.

I am going to have to assign someone to be responsible for making my Kindle library disappear if anything happens to me. Although I’ve told her that I do read those books, I never want my mother to check out what’s on my virtual bookshelf. It’s kind of appalling.

If I ever get around to writing a digital will, deleting all the books from my iPad and iPhone are going to be included in the “to do” list.

A shopping list of things to burn

So here’s my starter list for whoever takes up this task.

Any book with the word “slave” in the title. A few of them are Harlequins, and those should be okay, but I don’t want to take chances, so please just delete them all.

And, on the topic of Harlequins, some of the newer stuff would probably shock my mother and sisters, so let’s go ahead and delete all of those. I hate to leave that as an instruction. I started reading Harlequins the year I turned 13 while I was recovering from getting my tonsils removed. My mother bought a big bag of books from the dime store, without really knowing what was in them, and I worked my way through every title that summer. Included in them were Stephen King books, Harlequin romances, and really bad historical romances (from back when the writing still included rape as a common plot tool and “loose” women were killed off before the end of the book). But, this is to safeguard my “good” reputation, so let’s go ahead and delete them.

Anything written by Lorelai James. Enough said.

All books by Maya Banks. Even though some of her stuff isn’t that bad, just a little racy, I’m not leaving it up to others to make a distinction between the more intense erotica with alternative “couples” and the more mainstream stuff. Just delete them.

Any book with the word “three” in the title… and maybe even “four.” And don’t forget to look for the numerals in titles as well.

I hate to include the Lauren Dane books in the list of things to delete. Of the books I own in this genre, some of my favorites were written by Dane. Some are just really good romances with very well-written sex scenes. Some are a little bit more… well, more. Yeah, thinking about it, I really need to have these books deleted as well.

Any book written by Laurell K. Hamilton. What started out as a nice urban fantasy series is now just vampire porn (for the Anita Blake series). The Princess Meredith series was never anything but faery porn, so I don’t mourn the direction of the first books. And every book includes several orgy scenes of some kind, so let’s just delete them and be done with it.

OK, I think that should be a really good start. Of course, these are just the ones I remember owning, I haven’t started to get into the mainstream romance and historical romance books, many of which now have sex scenes with multiple partners and/or props. I’ll have to make a more comprehensive list later.

And that’s all she said today… at least about this.

***Disclaimer: some of the the links in this post are affiliates, that is I make money if you buy after clicking on them.***

***One more disclaimer: I have friends who have read Fifty Shades of Grey and gave it a good review.***

***Final disclaimer: the use of the word “smut” is me being facetious, making a point. Don’t read more into it than that.***

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/palomacruz) and (Facebook).

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