I’ve been thinking about it lately because the references are everywhere and then someone ask me if I was going to read it. I hadn’t taken the time to process my thoughts correctly about the book. I had heard the premise and then read a bunch of reviews.
I knew right away that it wasn’t for me.
Now, to formulate a coherent, well-informed reason why not and then effectively communicate it to someone else—–that’s not exactly as easy as it sounds.
This weekend, at the Circe Conference, as I was frantically jotting down quotes from the church fathers and from the brightest minds of the past two millennia, it dawned on me that the main reason I won’t be reading the book is because there are too many wonderful things to read that I already know I’ll never get to in my life. Despite the fact that I have full-to-the-brim bookshelves already, I came away from the conference with a list of twenty-five books that I MUST read and I’d like to read ten of them before school starts in 3 weeks. I’m considering putting myself on a rigorous reading schedule that involves waking up in the wee hours of the morning so that I can take in as much of the classical tradition and wisdom as is possible for a mom who still needs to cook and do laundry and sleep.
So, why would I waste some of those precious few reading hours on what many reviewers have described as horrific writing in a genre that is barely passable as literature?
There are so many wonderful works of art, music, literature, and film with which to fill our minds. We’ll never exhaust the wealth of what is available to us from brilliant, capable artists and writers.
The beauty of living in a free society is that you’re free to choose what works of art you will engage. But how we use our freedoms is another thing all together.
And I’m not moralizing here. I’m not a prude or a legalist. I don’t think it’s an accident that even in scripture, we’re not given a how-to book. We are instead given stories and poetry and parables, all of which contain truth that God gives to us through stories. And the Creator himself writes some racy and violent things. But we have, in our porn/erotica addicted society, exchanged the truth for a lie. We have stripped away the mysteries of love and reduced them to violence and objectification and dominance. And why? I can only surmise that it’s because we’re so desperate for the real thing and we just don’t believe that we can have it without the sensationalized, scandalous forms of sexuality that dominate our culture.
Here’s my idea of sexy…….
A man whose strong arms cradle a tender newborn.
A grandfather who painstakingly takes the time to teach his grandson to fish.
A husband who works two jobs to put food on the table.
And of course, the beautiful, even wild, consummation of young lovers who vow to live together forever within the bonds of marriage.
It surprises me, really, that this kind of literature is what woman want, or at least what they think they want.
I fear we’ve lost our center point. All of us.
And, ironically, it’s often art that draws us back. Beauty woos us and invites us to something better, a nobler love, a higher calling. I’m thankful for artists whose works are the very incarnation of truth.
Contrast the debased world of BDSM to this commentary of David Hicks in his book, Norms and Nobility, on the beautiful description the lover makes toward his beloved in Song of Solomon. He’s commenting on the passage where Song of Solomon describes his lover in detail—her cheeks, her neck, her belly, her navel, her breasts.
“The poet’s admiration for his beloved is without perversion or sentimentality, and his imagery suggests an ennobling and self-transcending sexuality—nothing tawdry, nothing vain. For the love the poet expresses, although intensely personal, is also universal and divine. His myth raises human sexuality out of the technical mire of the modern sex manual and imbues it with the significance and loveliness characterizing Dante’s ‘Love that moves the sun and the other stars.’ ”
Love and sex are beautiful gifts from God. Gifts that we will always be prone to pervert, like we pervert all His gifts. I don’t really need any help—in the form of perverted sex acts— to make a mess of love or of life.
To summarize Andrew Kern’s talk, in its truest form, art is the medium by which the artist embodies a truth.
From what I can tell, the premise of Fifty Shades of Grey is built on lies. Lies told in an effort to sell books and undermine the wonderful mysteries of love thats exist between a man and a woman.
At best, it seems a waste of precious time and at worst, it tears at the fabric of what has always made societies great—lovers whose passions are finally tamed and whose selfish desires are put aside to leave a legacy of fidelity and love for their children and grandchildren.
Life is too short for bad books, especially given all the good ones I’ve yet to read.
Here’s a sample of what I’ve added to my reading list instead:
Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers
The Last Gentleman: A Novel by Walker Percy
Standing by Words: Essays by Wendell Berry
The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth by David Bentley Hart
The Divine Comedy by Dante
Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
I was on my very hot and difficult run this morning when Intervention by Arcade Fire began playing on my iPod. There is a truth in that song that pierces my self-righteousness. It nails me right between my hypocritical eyes. Listen to it and ponder your own tendency to look for the problem ‘out there’ somewhere—in a culture gone wrong. Perhaps the culture has gone wrong because I have gone wrong—-we have gone wrong. We have failed to love truth and beauty and we hear the echoes of this generation as they cry, “We’ll go it alone.” In the end, it is my own need to repent that rings loudest in my ears.
“working for the church, while you’re family dies.
you take what they give you, and keep it inside.
every spark of friendship and love will die without a home.
hear the soldier groan, ‘we’ll go it alone.’ ”
Visit our workroom/schoolroom/artroom. It’s a pretty fantastic multifunctional room!
Beautifully written Edie. I am thankful for your post because those are my feelings also on this book. You have such a wonderful graceful way with your words and putting your thoughts out there for us and I thank you for it.
Thank you for writing what so many of us feel.
Southern Gal says
Yes, Edie. Just yes.
Beautiful post. I love the thought you put into this. I’m an avid reader, and it’s hard for me to resist any book in the public dialogue. That said; I caved and read the Shades of Gray books, and I really want my three days and $30 back. I’ve been honest with others about my thoughts on the books, but your points are so valid and carry more weight than my general disgust. (Now I’m going to forever be thinking, “Ah, I could have read three other books instead!”) Thanks for this post…I think your words are a really important contribution to the conversation surrounding these books!
Colleen, I couldn’t agree more!!
Ruth @ Living Well Spending Less says
Love it Edie. I want to be just like you when I grow up. 🙂
Amen sister! Marriage is too precious and life is too short!
Upscale Downhome says
Thank you for this thoughtful post and I hadn’t thought of what reading this book would keep me from; I just knew that I didn’t want to fill my mind with those kind of thoughts. I think it’s like food—let’s eat beautiful fresh fruits and veggies from minds of higher thought instead of the grease trap of this world. Thank you for putting your thoughts down so eloquently. I definitely will be sharing this post!
Thank you, Edie. Awesome post!
Beautifully written Edie. I couldn’t agree more! I’m happy to be in this apparent minority with you.
michelle @ this little light says
Thank you for this, Edie! When I sit down with a book, I want it to elevate my spirit, and that doesn’t sound like the goal of “Fifty Shades” of whatever. Not for me, and I was starting to feel like the only one who felt that way.
Suzy @ Worthing Court says
Amen and amen! In the words of my mother – “I don’t know why you want to fill your head with all of that junk!” Thank you for being brave enough to speak the truth. Great post!
Amanda Glasgow says
Unbelievably well shared! My husband and I have been having discussing this topic for quite some time and I called him immediately to tell him what ‘Edie said’! Thank you for always sharing your heart with us.
I live in Kentucky and am so sad that I missed the conference! Maybe next year 🙂
Thank you for this post! I actually gave into the hype and read the first book of this series. I was disturbed and disappointed (and a host of other feelings) that this is what women think love and a healthy relationship is. I too have struggled to put into words why I won’t be reading the next books in the series, but you have so eloquently captured exactly what I have been trying to say.
PS – I seriously want to steal all of the design ideas in your new house. Just gorgeous and warm and welcoming, which is almost impossible to accomplish!
Edie, you put into words a great point that I haven’t really seen mentioned much in this conversation. I definitely found myself thinking, “Why would I spend my (valuable, and limited) time on that when there si so much better to read?”
And I wanted to say that I am going to be jealous every time you talk about going to the Circe conference. I would loved to have gone, but it just couldn’t work out this year. Someday…
Are not all the great masterpieces, the enduring classics of literature, art and music those which communicate excellence, truth, nobility and beauty? Our eyes, ears and minds may be fooled by a shabby counterfeit, but if you regularly feast on those works of art that do communicate “the incarnation of truth,” then the appetite for the better things will not be so easily satistfied by the junk food for the brain that dominates our culture.
Would love to know what books are on the list of 25!
ditto to all of the above comments. and i think it is important for us to share these ideas with younger women and girls. we are to lead them by words and example. thanks for articulating your feelings which echo mine so clearly. the holy spirit speaks and we listen.
the salvage collection says
considering i spend my days painting furniture, i’ve heard little of the scuttle about this book until now. and, yes, i’m blown away by the premise… though it explains the book’s popularity!
thank you for your frankness and for sharing books worth reading.
i have no other words
Hooooray!!! Someone finally validated my feelings on the book as well! I have a teenage daughter and a tween son and she has asked me what the book is about and why I am not reading it….I simply explained that it’s not my kind of love story!!!! I prefer good old fashioned hot romance :)))
That’s funny – I just posted some book recommendations today also. I am glad to read your take on the Fifty Shades of Grey books. When I was a child someone told me “your brain is like an art museum; put beautiful and interesting things on it’s walls”. Thank you for sharing your list in part – I’m off to check out that Flannery O’Connor book!
Where’s the “like” button?! ☺ Your words are bold but still graceful. I’m so glad you took the time to put thoughts and words to your reason for not reading the book.
On a similar note, I wish you would write a book. You have a lot of insight on spiritual/biblical matters, mothering, homemaking, teaching etc. that I would love to glean and your writing is always so eloquent.
Thank you for sharing yours thoughts on this “touchy” subject for people. It is hard to say what we really think because so many are sold on this book. You’ve given me inspiration to respond in gracious way when asked why I have chosen not to read this book. When discussing Fifty Shades of Grey, I had a sweet friend offer Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers to me. Now this is a love story!
Redeeming Love is the best love story I have ever read. Since is comes from Scripture I don’t know why I would be surprised!
Ashleigh Marshall says
Thank you for writing this. The popularity of this book & movies of the liking scream to our desperate need and craving for love and acceptance that only a Savior can give. Thank you!
I read you always…I comment never. I’m not much of a person to interact over the internet. However, your beautifully written statement about Fifty Shades of Grey requires affirmation. Thank you for expressing your opinion (and in my mind, truth) so wonderfully. I am horrified at the wise, deep-thinking women I know who are infatuated with this series of books. I whole-heartedly agree that there are so many well written books to read…why would I waste my time on this series? I love the way you write, the way you think about deep things and I will continue to enjoy your posts vicariously.
So True and so well put! I will be having my teenage daughters read this, and I loved the comment about our minds being a art museum and to only hang beautiful things on the wall’s! Once you put something in your museum, it is truly there forever!
I had not even heard of these books until a week ago when I was in the bookstore and was told that they were the most popular books… guess I live in a hole! I could not believe what they were about….I am so glad to see that I am not the only one who felt a disturbance in my soul! So glad you are able to put it so eloquently into words!
Thank you, Edie…for your thought-provoking post…for helping those of us choosing not to read Fifty Shades to feel connected…for always speaking the truth!
yeah it’s funny.. I have felt the same way. I have heard all the talk and the majority was negative. Then my daughter pulled up a video of Gilbert Godfry (sp?) reading some of the book.. That cemented it. Not my cup o’ tea. I’ll echo the sentiment heard here several times: life’s too short.
Ashley Johns says
Well written, couldn’t have said it better myself. Now…let’s hear the complete list of “about 25” books that you MUST read-I’m all ears. I am just starting to homeschool this year and you’ve peaked my curiosity with your conference. 🙂 Oh, and welcome home-enjoy those tomatoes. I am definitely enjoying mine!
I agree whole heartedly. It seems everyone is asking me, “Why aren’t you reading this book?” And I have to tell them that:
1- I feel (from what reviews I have read) as if it is simply porn in a book. I have better things to do with my time.
2- It is the same question I ask my kids, “If Jesus were standing here watching you, would you be doing that?” The answer is and emphatic “NO! ”
3- I know it is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!
Thank you for writing this post. It only confirms my feelings as a Christian and my convictions regarding the state of this world today.
agree with Colleen..I, too, was sucked in by all of the hoopla! Took me forever to read Book I and found it to be silly, over the top and just plain sick..gave book 2 and 3 away..they were terribly written and from the mother of 3 girls I really don’t want them seeing me read trashy written books!
michelle@Life on the Funny Farm says
You are a VERY wise woman!
tara lowry says
a dear friend of mine read it and said that it made her crave an increase of intimate time with her husband. after she finished the books, she said the craving was GONE. her husband put the books back in her hands after a few weeks and jokingly told her to read them again.
it honestly broke my heart. it sounded like they needed porn in the form of these books to make intimacy work in their marriage. it reminded me why half of all marriages are ending in divorce and why half of the other half are struggling to keep their heads above water.
i had no interest in the books, but after hearing my sweet friend share her story, it was more than confirmed that this series is not for me.
i want my marriage to andy to be genuine…authentic….real, and it can’t be if i’m feeding my mind with what those books tell me it’s suppose to be like. without trying to sound like a total prude, i’ll let song of solomon continue to show me and teach me what God intended it to be.
Kate M says
Even though I don’t share your religious conviction, I think that this entry is a beautifully written and very thoughtful response to all of the hype surrounding these books. Curiosity got to this cat, so I did cave and read them. My life was in no way enriched by the experience. Thanks for putting this out there.
Danielle M. says
I’m a faithful reader who almost never comments, but wanted to take the time to say that this was thoughfully and beautifully written, and that I shared it on my facebook page. Thanks for taking the time to put words to your thoughts.
I haven’t read 50 Shades and have no desire to, despite other people trying to suggest otherwise. I had heard how poorly written they were, and to be honest that was my main sticking point as to why I wasn’t reading them. I was second guessing this when an “English major” said they really weren’t that badly written, although there are repeated phrases that drove her nuts. I still wasn’t sold on reading them though. I think what you have written here is one of the biggest reasons, it’s just not something I want to read when I think about all of the other great books that are out there.
Kimberly Dial says
Thank you Edie. I agree … completely … I’ve simply been unable to say it in a way that didn’t sound like I thought I was so much better (& more Christian!) than those that chose to read it … our ideas of what sexy is are very similar and, like you … “It surprises me, really, that this kind of literature is what woman want, or at least what they think they want. I fear we’ve lost our center point. All of us.” … Thank you Edie … Well said … Bravo!
So beautifully said, Edie. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Alice W. says
Thank you! My thoughts exactly! Really sad so many women have become obsessed…
Thank you! Not very many people are willing to stand up for what they believe in, no matter hard it is. Loved this post and going to share it!
Katherine @ Whitehall Shop says
A while ago I worked at a church whose youth pastor once said that people are always asking permission to flirt with sin. They ask him how close can they get to sin without it really being sin. His response was that we should not be asking how close we can get, but attempting to stay as far away as possible. I feel that this sentiment applies with this book.
As always, Edie, I love your taste in literature.
I have read the books. All three of them. I don’t see what the big deal is. The book doesn’t even do justice to the true BDSM lifestyle. My husband and I are not into that lifestyle AT ALL. The book allowed me to open up. I won’t go to the Bible for intimacy advice, as I didn’t go to Fufty Shades of Grey for that advice. What I did get from the book is that it’s OK for me to feel free and secure with my husband (I’ve had some intimacy issues) and that I would LOVE to hear lovely compliments each and every day, letting me know I’m loved and beautiful. Is that wrong? The book was written so the author could express her fantasy. Is that so wrong? Is it so bad that other women have showed interest? I don’t think that means we’ve lost out “center point.” I think women are just not afraid to express interest in reading something that has created such a reaction from the masses.
No one has said that you can’t enjoy intimacy with your husband. What this book is about is a BDSM lifestyle that I would abhor for my daughter and other young ladies today; impressionable women who are being told that they need to be dominated and struck in order to be loved and sexually fulfilled. THAT’S what the big deal is all about for me. This book was not written by someone hoping to express and share her fantasy (there is always a market for that); this book was written on an online Twilight fanfiction site (rewritten with new character names) until all the complaints pressured the author to move it to her own personal website. Then she started passing it around hoping to find a publisher. It’s garbage fiction that caught the tail of a marketing frenzy. As Katrina Lumsden said in her review on Goodreads, “this is a book about one sick, abusive man and his obsession with a young, naive invertebrate. It’s a book about a girl who has absolutely no sense of self, who sacrifices any pretense of individuality in order to hold onto a man who doesn’t even show her the faintest glimmer of respect.”
I do not want my daughter or women of the next generation giving up everything we collectively strived to accomplish in the last century; having the right to our own voice and the right to respect as an equal.
Amen to that! When I first heard about this book, those were my thoughts exactly. Life is short. Why waste it on something that is neither beautiful, up lifting nor useful in any way? I am saddened at the popularity of this book. It is not romantic, it merely spreads a lie that is the counterfeit to the truth about love.
There are so many books out there that are a joy to read, that do not fill our minds with images of less than beauty. Thank you for standing up and telling the truth, Edie. xo
Lori B. says
Amen! I am also neither a prude, nor a legalist, but I have zero desire to read the book. The premise just seems terrible.
Now, for a list of the rest of those 25 books you want to read…
Love this. And so appreciate it. I am so grateful to the women who are willing to take this stance and be vocal about it. I never really questioned whether or not I would read these books…it was always a no brainer. NO!!! We cannot escape the biblical truth that we reap what we sow. I have no interest in reaping this kind of harvest in my life. I am ever mindful (and fail often) about what I ingest. It DOES matter. So much.
I love, love, love this post. Truth spoken beautifully!
Amen, Amen, Amen!!! Thank you, Edie. 🙂
Thank you so much for your wise words. Beautifully written!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Not to add more books to your reading list, but have you read anything by Fulton Sheen? Just bought Life of Christ and can’t wait to start it.
Being an avid reader and a busy person, I want to spend the time I have reading great literature. I find it indicative of our society that the most popular books are poorly written…The Twilight Series, The Hunger Game Series, and now Fifty Shades of Grey Series. This is another example of the LCD factor that is so prevalent today.
I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey and have no intentions of reading it. Personally it is like choosing a piece of carbon instead of a real diamond. Life is too short to read poorly written books when there are so many exceptionally written ones.
Rachel Schindler says
I couldn’t agree more with this post. Thanks for being a woman of courage and I loved your points on what is sexy. This lost world needs our prayers.
I was so grateful to see the heading of your current post. I am not a prude either but after being divorced, I want to try to keep myself clear of anything that could cause me to stumble. I was told about this book by my hair dress who said she wished she had never picked it up. She encouraged me to not read them and I appreciated her honesty. I was so encouraged to read your post and feel confirmation for my thoughts and that other women out there feel the same way. Thank you!
I agree with you. I too never seem to have enough time to read the books I would like to, and am not about to waste my time on this book when there are so many better choices I can make.
Kaye @House on Oak Street says
Well put Edie!
Beautifully said!! You put into words how I feel, and could not express.
Thank you for showing me that I am not alone. I always feel like the prude among my friends when they are talking about it because they love the books. I hated the first one – I returned it for a refund before I finished it, and refuse to read any more. All I could think of was what if this was one of my daughters or my son? What a failure I would consider the marriage my husband and I have modeled for them if this is how they felt they had to gain intimacy. My friends keep telling me that I am focusing on the wrong parts of the book (yes, I am because they are degrading and dehumanizing to the young woman involved)… that I should focus on the fact that she changes him and actually causes him to love her. If this is love, no thanks.
Thank you for providing the words that I cannot seem to find when I am trying to defend myself for not appreciating this “art.”
So eloquently said, as usual Edie. Your deep and meaningful writing inspires me daily. Thank you.
tina hill says
Thank you…as always, your ability to so eloquently pen truth encourages and restores my faith in humankind. We should all so bravely take a stand. You inspire me,Edie!
Yes! Yes yes yes! Thank you. I couldn’t have said it half so well myself, any of it. God bless you.
Gretchen Slone says
Edie…plain and simple…You ROCK! I love how you put your thoughts into words. I read part of the first book out of pure curiousity and put it down to read no more. I would not even take it on the beach with me and I told my husband I didn’t want anyone to SEE me reading it. So…why would I read it at all??? After all, the basic definition of character is WHO you are when no one is looking. I can happily say that I didn’t even enjoy reading what I DID read of it and being a sufferer of OCD I felt that I started it and I needed to finish it! Now after reading your post I can say I will NEVER pick it up again and can feel no guilt or shame about not finishing it. I had already traded it in on Eckhart Tolle’s book A NEW EARTH and I am getting so much more out of that to truly help me in everyday life. You inspire me and so many others with your words and thoughts. Keep up the good work Edie!
Ami Davis says
I have read it and the writing is horrible. I mean, really bad. So much so that I skipped ahead a lot which I never normally do. And in my opinion, the sex scenes? Also not all that. The only amusing part of it at all to me was the inner dialogue the main character has with herself throughout the book. And while I am on my soapbox on this, I really resent terms like “mommy porn” as if women are somehow stripped of their sexuality as part of the birthing process. I have a similar distaste for terms like “mommy blogs”. Where’s all the labeling of “daddy porn” books and “daddy bloggers”?
Anyway, skip this book. And if you feel you must discuss it, just ask readers if they really thought it was well written. Their response should tell you a good bit about the reader.
There are many books out there this summer more worthy of your time.
Edie! I’m new to your blog- and loving it!
I appreciate what you shared here- and the way you shared it.
I agree- so much good and beautiful to choose- that’s my direction too!
Denice Erway says
Thank you! I am going to post a link to this blog on my facebook… I hope all of my women friends will read it.
I love this post and I won’t be reading Fifty Shades either. When a friend that had read it compared it to “porn in a book,” I knew it wasn’t for me. It scares me so much what our society has become. Those of us that still know the difference between right and wrong are really going to have to hold our ground. I have a feeling things are going to get much worse.
Edie, I loved your words. You have the ability to articulate so well what has been on my heart. Thank you for such an honest post.
Perfectly written! Thank you for saying what I couldnt form into words:)
Hi, I love your blog!!!!! I can say I read two of the books. In my opinion they are not that bad. I mean they are there for entertainment purposes. They are an easy read. Some parts are raunchy .Basically , you are not reading Shakespeare here. I don’t know how this book went viral but it’s out there and I read it. It isn’t for everybody!!!! Blessings,Sara
I have read the 50 shades trilogy. It was a quick read, and there was some entertainment factor there. However, I found it poorly written, unrealistic and not.at.all.sexy. I was irritated by the lead characters and for young women reading this, they will surely have very unrealistic expectations about sex and romance (romance was, in my opinion, totally absent). I have to admit that I am glad to have read it to know what the hype is all about, but beyond that, it is not a book I’d recommend, nor read again. I saw this very funny (and yes, crude) review on the book: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215?auto_login_attempted=true
Even if you haven’t read the book, read this review-hilarious and accurate.
John Smyth says
From a male standpoint, I agree with and congratulate Edie for her stand.
Thank you for stating these wonderful points! I think more women should stand up and say why they aren’t reading it!
new commenter but not new reader here. thank you for standing up for marriage, love, sex as a sacred gift from god, morality and virtue. i love what you have to say and it has uplifted me today!
Edie, thank you for taking a stand against bad literature! I haven’t read 50 Shades and do not plan to either. I was looking for something to read while on a trip with my husband in a couple of weeks and will be checking out a couple on your list.
Diana Furey says
You articulated so very well why you’re not going to read Fifty Shades of Gray. I made the same decisions, for the same reasons, a while ago. You said it so eloquently and thoroughly.
Simply perfect. Thank you.
Great post! I LOVE YOUR BLOG.
Edie, just saw this repost on fb from Emily Jenkins. You know I have been struggling with this book. I immediately downloaded the whole series on my kindle after hearing about it every which way I turned. I made it a fourth of the way through the first one and just had to put it down. Not only because what celibate woman in her right mind in the process of divorce really wants to hear about one more thing she’s missing out on ;). But also because it made me sad instead of excited or inspired. Sad because the book seems to celebrate the perversity that tears so many marriages asunder. Sad for my children that they are entering into a society that celebrates books like these instead of Songs of Solomon. Guess now I’ll be nicknamed Prudish Polly 🙂
thank you thank you thank you for writing this! my sister-in-law and i were just talking about this a couple days ago and our own reasons for not reading this book. it’s broken my heart to see how many young women have been drawn in… for their own reasons, but i feel many to just be part of something that they see so many other women doing and allowing it to be a point of connection with friends (both IRL and online). there is enough out there battling for our minds and our purity so the last thing i need is to voluntarily subject myself to more of it. thanks for your honesty and your perspective!
Beth Young says
I love you Edie, for more than one reason! I love following your blog and especially have loved seeing your home transform over the years and very recently with the tragedy that you allowed us to watch unfold and then be rebuilt. You’re inspiring and amazing.
I want to say this regarding my reading of 50 Shades. I can’t recommend it, no way…just like I can’t recommend my favorite movies without feeling like like a failure of a person (Lol): The Bridget Jones Diary, Bridesmaids, Stepbrother; etc, etc. It’s also so strange, my reading choices. I like reading books about theology and I am a very strong Christian. (don’t we all love to say that, ha) I struggle with the choices I make, yes, but I’m confident in my love for Jesus and His love for me and the freedome I have in Him to enjoy my life and be accountable for my actions and choices. Now…
So many are getting all stressed out about 50 Shades. Honestly, it’s too much sex but here’s my take:
Spoiler alert, stop reading if you don’t want to know how the books pan out….
He’s a screwed up man becuase he was seriously abused when he was young. His kind family adopts him when I believe he’s 4 or 5 and he grows up with issues about being touched (who wouldn’t) He never has real relationships because of this and has to be a dominant. He meets a kind, successful and young girl that’s a virgin. They have too much sex, yes. They get married and have babies. They are in love and she shows him what it’s like to have a normal relationship. They dont’ do anything in the bedroom that my husband I wouldn’t do (and I’m no wild child). It’s his past that is a little nutty and what he would like to do that is a little nutty, but she’s not having it. Anyway, it wasn’t written that well and the first book was a bit too much but then the story does get very interesting and I did enjoy it.
I totally agree that there are a ton of other great choices out there and I think you could write this post about a million books and a stance against 50 Shades should be a stance against reading any trashy material.
This is how I feel as well. It reminds me of when everyone jumped on the Harry Potter is evil bandwagon. Only to read them later and exclaim their goodness. Not that 50 Shades will prove to be goodness, but it definitely isn’t worth all this worry. It does not promote the BDSM lifestyle, it actually examines it and shows how harmful it can be.
But I also would not recommend it because I would never want to cause anyone to stumble in their walk. And I respect the fact that someone would avoid something they see as evil. But I don’t want those same people to judge those who have read it too harshly. They may have read it, formed an opinion about it and moved on to the next book. There will always be extremist who fantasize to heavily about the characters. When the Matrix came out there were people who thought any moment they would be unplugged.
Keri Elkins says
Thank you for that post! On a side note…can you send this runner a list of songs on your running playlist? I have added the ones you have mentioned here and there, but a complete list would be really cool! Or make it a post on your blog….I am sure there are many other “mother runners” that would love to get some new inspiration while running.
rebecca d says
I too will not be reading the book… I feel no need to embed those images in my sub-conscience… I do not consider myself a prude either, but I am also not a literature snob… Sometimes I read for enrichment, and sometimes for entertainment… Some of the works of “great literature” out there would put a chronic insomniac to sleep… It’s like eating something healthy but bland… You do it because it’s good for you, but sometimes I also want a cheeseburger…
Now from a moral standpoint, I agree with everything you wrote but some of the comments I read reminded me of why I am sometimes cautious of saying I am a Christian in a group of new people… Not that I am ashamed of my Lord or my faith, but that I want people to get to know me and not to assume because of my faith I am judging them. I do believe your readers are all well meaning but a lot of the comments sound like they feel like they are better then anyone who would even consider reading the book… Why?? Why are we Christians as a group at the same time so loving and yet so sanctimonious?
Thank you for your post script… Thank you for having the courage to say you don’t like something in the first place.
You took all the emotions and thoughts, reeling in my mind for a long time, and very eloquently penned them out. I spent the greater part of my life contributing to the objectifying of women by worrying about my outside and not my in. I let men define me by what I wore, how I behaved, who I was. I was exhausted having to keep this illusion up. I am so far away, and always have been, from looking like a model. I’ve never been rich and grew exhausted by doing whatever I could to afford the next trendy thing in fashion. Trying to be “it” was like a slow moving decay of my soul.
And then I freed myself and took the time to look inside myself. I didn’t like what was there. So I removed all the pretense, illusion and fantasy. I started to look at life and see that what is really important isn’t wrapped in pretty bows. It is right there, plain to see, very raw and very real. I’ve spent the last few years working on my inside, I feel absolutely beautiful. I am free…free to be me.
Sexy is being yourself. Sexy is a husband who will spend all day organizing your closet, because he loves you, and wants to make your life easier. Sexy is having your husband of eighteen years run his finger along a scar on your arm and tell you, you’re sexy.
Thank you for what you wrote. You are such a wonderful inspiration to me!
Well written, Edie! When 50 Shades first came out I decided I wouldn’t waste my time reading it, as well. I am shocked how many women are reading this book simply because “everyone is reading it”. We live in a fallen culture, and that is why we are surrounded by perversions. I remember one of my parents telling me (when I was little) that every choice I make brings me closer to Christ or further away from Him. I can’t think that this book would bring me closer. Thanks for the post!
Laura @Ms Smartie Pants says
Preach it sister! I 100% agree, not standing on my high horse, everyone can read what they wish, it just isn’t what I wish to read. And as for sexy, hair is sexy, chocolate is sexy, couches are sexy, whatever, it’s just a trend word and feeling these days. I remember watching my grandparents as they were aging and the love and care they had for each other, that is what we should all strive for, something with staying power. I thank you for putting this out there!
Amy R. says
Well said! I haven’t had to put into words why I wasn’t’ reading the book, but now I know what I will say when asked. That is a great answer. I am a slow reader so why would I waste my precious time which is so limited to read something that sounds a little out of my league and convictions as a Christian.
Thanks for your honesty!
Bravo. Great post as always, Edie. I have not read the books but read about them, and that was enough. It’s ironic to me that my uberfeminist friends are gobbling up this “literature,” when it sounds as if the main character is completely degraded and almost dehumanized by her man.
I, too, have better things to read this summer.
Merri Jo says
It is so encouraging and inspiring to read/listen to strong Christian women who stand by the strength of their convictions– women who also listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to guard against self-righteousness and pharisaical hypocrisy. It is an edifying pleasure to read the writings of a Christian woman who is fun-loving, passionate, talented and intellectual such as you are, Edie. While it can be a challenge to avoid the evil of the internet, I gratefully enjoy following several bloggers who reflect the beauty of daughters of the King!
Glenda Childers says
Simply … wow.
Well written post and I could not agree more! There are too many good books out there waiting to be read. My mom always told me, “garbage in, garbage out” and I can’t help but think this is a good example of garbage.
the farmer's wife says
Amen, sister! I have three girlfriends and one owns a hair salon. Every six weeks or so we meet for our “hair and prayer”… she cuts our hair while we catch up on life. This book was a topic of conversation last time. We all agree with you, so it was nice to see you put it so eloquently–even the end note. It’s all so true.
p.s. I love your book lists. Keep ’em comin’.
When your Sultry Master is Benjamin Moore’s graphite – a very deep charcoal, you’re the last person who needs to read THAT book. Sing it and say it, sister! Reading that book would be a waste of your time. Mine, too.
elizabeth highsmith says
i noticed your sidebar reading through today-the one labeled house fire it’s the ugly beautiful captured. so grateful for Our God of mercy who brings beauty from ashes and as you so aptly concluded with the ashes that stem from our lives a flame with personal wrong. it’s the light in that fire picture and the light right here that draws us in to life in grace and ultimately to THE light of the world. thank you.
Wonderful post! You said this much better than I could, and I’m sure I will use some of the points you raised if I’m asked to explain why I won’t read this series. There is so much redemptive, artistic, compassionate, and beautiful literature out there that these books are simply not worth our time. And as an avid reader, I really value the book suggestions you’ve mentioned as well.
Thank you for your wise words and helping me by putting into better words the issue with this book. I will be saving a link to this as I look for words to talk to my children about the harm of things that seem ‘like no big deal.’.
Wow. Your writing takes my breath away. Edie, just had to share. Still you have to share your tricks. How do you balance your life: to read, to cook, to write with such honesty.
I believe in compliments to the max, and call ’em like I see ’em. Thank you.
First time commenter–but I have a funny story to share. There is a book entitled “Shades of Gray” by Jasper Fforde (an author I love) that I’ve been waiting to read. When I heard all of this hype, I thought the books were one and the same and I was pumped that so many people were reading his work! Then, I had my reality check in the form of an Amazon description, and realized that they were certainly not the same, ha! Needless to say, I picked up my Jasper Fforde book at the library this week (and I think the librarian was smirking thinking I got the wrong one…LOL)!
Enjoy your books, I’ll be adding your list to my goodreads account:) And thanks for your lovely writing, as always:)
“Life is too short for bad books, especially given all the good ones I’ve yet to read.”
Amen and amen.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8
Thanks for this post! Sharing the link with my friends on FB.
maybe I’m too out of the loop when it comes to media hype these days but I have heard only snippets here & there of these books & have no desire to read any of them. I spent my teenage years engrossed in books similar to these & if i could take back all those wasted hours ,I would.the Act of Marriage is a beautiful thing & so often distorted by the worlds views & ideals. thank you for sharing.
So eloquently put, Edie. I have been baffled by the number of women who are obsessed with this book. I have read reviews that clearly say the book is not well written. I can not understand what the fascination with it is. Sometimes, I think people choose to read it because everyone else is and it truly doesn’t matter to them if it’s poorly written.
Thank you for sharing yet another awesome reading list. They are my number one go to for reading choices.
Yes-a thoughtful explanation! My book club read this as the “trash” novel we choose each year. Apparently I was the only one who didn’t enjoy it (in fact, after 2 weeks of trying to get through it, I finally gave it up 8 chapters in). My married life, my life, is already overflowing with love and joy, so the “fantasy” of what this book offers just had little effect on me, except maybe a little sad that somehow the dysfunctional romance/tension is something women think will offer them romantic excitement. Further, it is poorly written and frankly, I think as a teen I read better written romance novels that were far more interesting and thought provoking (and that’s saying something). I spent 8 hours that I can’t get back on 50 shades…hopefully the next 8 hours spent reading will be things that are truly joyful, enthralling, interesting…
Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista says
Thank you for sharing this. Written in a way that is so well thought and in the right heart. It is such a bigger picture of our culture today. I think we all have a choice of what we expose ourselves to. There is enough sin and baggage in my life just from living, why should I contaminate my innocence any more. I am thankful for your boldness in writing this because I know so many feel this way but it is scary to say it.
I have an MA in Literature and Writing, and am currently teaching lit. at Liberty University. I am constantly urging my students to pursue truth, the sublime, and beauty through literature/art/film, etc. I agree 100% with what you are saying! I was also excited to see Mystery and Manners on your to-read list. I practically highlighted the entire book. She has profound thoughts on the importance of good writing, and the role of violence in literature. Truly one of the greats!
Well said, same reasons I will not be reading it!
I loved this post and found it effectively articulated what I think about what I choose to read. I have been visiting your blog since your birthday a couple of years ago and immediately felt a kinship with you. Besides that my birthday is also in January; and that I also hail from the southern Appalachian mountains (but of the Southeastern Kentucky variety); and that I know many of the landmarks you name; and that I probably grew up watching all the tv stations you did from Knoxville and the Tri-Cities; I knew we could be friends when you talked about soup beans and cornbread. Anyway, I have a question for you: how exactly is it that you have time to read all these books and do all these other activities you do? I am going to hypothesize that since you have medial training, you learned high functioning on little sleep. It’s just a shot in the dark though. I would love to know how you organize your day.
Thanks! Grace and peace.
*medical – not medial 🙂
It is so refreshing to know there are women out there who think and feel like I do. Thank you for being bold enough to share your thoughts.
Bless your heart Edie…bless your eloquent, brave, and sweet heart!
Well said! Everything is permissible, but not all is beneficial! Thank you for using your words to improve others.
Thank you for being willing to speak truth and for sharing your special ability to to words to thoughts. I will be sharing this.
Thanks! I’m a reader but I have not heard of this book. Thanks for the warning. I will not set mine eyes upon a wicked thing.
Perfectly put! Thank you for including your reading list too 🙂
I had just posted about this on facebook, asking if I was the only woman not reading the book. A lot of my friends replied that they are not as well. I think as a mother of two girls who watch me closely, jumping on this particular bandwagon was not a wise choice. I read the Twilight books, feeling compelled to finish them despite the fact they are not well written and the heroin made me want to strangle her for being so pathetic. I think the true reason I am not reading these particular books, though is I do not want to let in something that I fight daily to keep away from my children and myself, which is the thought that women need to be dominated to be satisfied with their lives. Kudos for your eloquence in expressing what I think many women are feeling.
Edie, you are indeed a kindred spirit. I’ll be sharing this post with my church-ladies book group when we re-convene in September. And, please-o-please post after reading David Hart’s Beauty of the Infinite…would soo love to hear your thoughts on that book.
I agree with you 100%! As a mom of 3 girls, I have to be careful about what I bring into my home. I’m very careful about what media I subject myself to (books, music, and movies). I agree, with such limited time, why waste it on trash? I don’t feel like I am missing out on a thing by not reading this book 🙂
thanks girl! so many of my friends are reading it and I’m at a loss for words with them. I tend to be a bit dogmatic and so I keep myself from saying anything. but really?
it’s just good to know that someone else feels the same way.
Every time I connect with your words, I get ‘dove bumps’…
Your ability to communicate, both with the first post and human-ness of the post edit, are spot on.
Thank you and Have a Maui Day!!
Edie!!! Lovey love you! Please, please will you start a book club? Pick one book month and then your tell us thoughts and then post the comments from those who read the selection??? I am proud to say that I really do not have one “friend” reading these books. Why? Because, I try very hard to surround myself with people who have virtues and character of like. I have many facebook friends that have read it and urged me to as well – but my close friends…well, when us busy moms have time to read…I am choosing a great book! or beautiful magazine. ;0) It’s like choosing to drink cold, cold coffee versus a fresh keurig cup. Not even close. Love this blog so much. By the way – and my folks and two sisters live an hour and 1/2 away from you. I wish we were neighbors. I would help you rearrange furniture just for fun…and then taste your food and say “YUM”. I’m a great neighbor. :0)
So, What are some of the 25 books on your must read list?
oh never mind i didn’t see them on your ‘home’ page
WELL SAID SISTER!!!!!
I agree and upon this decision we set an example to those young eyes watching and what can be more important that this. Thank you for taking the time to write this.
Kim from 3 peanuts says
I 100% agree and could not have said to better myself. I am one of the few people I know who is not reading it and I could not really verbalize it but new they were not for me. I have also heard that the writing is subpar (7th grade level if that) and I kinda feel like garbage in- garbage out.
Debbie Gilbert says
I am a new follower to this blog and was referred by Cottage in the Oaks.
You nailed it! Those are my sentiments exactly. My sister recently lost her husband in March. She is still grieving terribly. I love my sister with all my heart and soul and have tried to share my love for the Lord with her so many times, to no avail. Well she is lonely and was given these “trashy” books to read and now has become part of this FSOG cult! I gave her “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers to read hoping she would have heard what my mom and I shared with her about this book. Now that IS a love story and is probably one of my all time favorites. You were so right about the little time we do have to read and to really make that time count. Thank you so much for showing me that there are still women out there who know a “good” love story. It makes me so sad to see what this world has come to and the only hope I have is that the time is near for our Heavenly Father to return and take what is His!! Keep being the Christian woman you are and keep using this muse to share your gift of encouraging others to take a stand for Jesus! Thank you and may God bless you and your family. I sincerely hope you are able to take the time you deserve to read your summer list! Enjoy!
Deb P says
AMEN!!! I think everyone should read ‘Redeeming Love’, and agree…it is a TRUE love story. That of a man, and that of our LORD’S love for us.
Edie – Thank you sweet lady for articulating what has been floating around in my brain about this book!! I haven’t read (nor will I) because something deep down inside knew that this book was not for me. It is not time nor the content that the Lord wants me to consume myself with. So thank you for reinforcing this in me.
Amen!!!!! I will not read it for the same reasons. Thank you!!!
This post and its comments amuse me. I read your blog frequently and enjoy it immensely. I have read all 3 Fifty shades books. Are they great literature? No. Are they entertaining? Yes Do they make you think about life, sex, your own personal limits, etc? Yes. And really that is why I read. To challenge myself to think about subjects – even uncomfortable ones.
Really, can every commentator claim to have never read a romance novel or have seen a less than perfect movie. I doubt it. Has everyone lost their “center point”?
I have no idea why you think the premise of the books “is based on lies.” This statement is beyond vague and in my opinion false. That is what happens when people review a book without reading it. All in all this a disappointing post.
Trudy Royston says
Thank you Edie. May God richly bless you for all you take the time to share. I mean that sincerely, time is so precious!
Deb P says
Great post…I just wanted to respond to the line in the song that says ‘working for the church when your family dies’…because so many are against the church, and ultimately against religion. But, if people would get in the Bible themselves and live out the instructions given there, they would find the truth…
1 Timothy 5:7-9
New Living Translation (NLT)
7 Give these instructions to the church so that no one will be open to criticism.
8 But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.
I broke down and read all three books. I was compelled to see where this story line went and what was driving people so crazy over it. I was surprised to find less BDSM than was expected, I got so sick of reading sex scenes I skipped over them. That led me to concentrate on the story (not the sex) and the characters……I was horrified!! Take the sex aspect out of these books and what do you have? You have an author who is glorifying controlling, domineering behavior on a woman by her supposed lover. She cries so much over his behavior, attitude, etc and yet it’s described as love?!?!?! What scares me is young women are going to get into relationships after reading these books and see similar things in their boyfriends and think “it’s okay” “it’s normal” “hes like that because he loves me so much” and before they know it they may end up feeling trapped in a domestic violence relationship which could seriously injure or kill them….
Being objective I can see where the author meant to go with the story…troubled young man finds a woman who ultimately changes his life for the better and a young woman who thinks of herself as a plain Jane gets noticed by young sexy billionaire who falls in love with her. What young woman wouldn’t dream of that? Love, financial freedom…
I’ve worked around hundreds of domestic violence victims (survivors!) for many years and certain things in these books made my blood boil. I just pray that it doesn’t lead some girl/woman to believe that if a boy/man treats her in that way it only means he loves her…..
perfectly, wondrously said.
Kristi @ The Thrifty Gypsy says
Thank you for this great post Edie, I couldn’t have said this better. I knew immediately I wouldn’t be interested in these books. Glad I’m not alone 🙂
I think we are all giving Fifty Shades of Gray way too much importance. It is not meant to be a handbook on sex, or love or relationships. Its just a look into a different kind of relationship, one that may be foreign to many of us, but that doesn’t make it wrong, and it certainly doesn’t define anyone. I am sure that everyone has at one time picked up a gossip magazine and have for a moment had the guilty pleasure of reading about someone else’s life. We are all naturally curious and if we deny the fact that others live and love differently than we do than we are kidding ourselves.
sometimes less make up is more
seanm1999 at hotmail dot com
please ignore this, I thought this was the site for entrying the giveaway
When we were younger my sister stole my liptsick and smeared it all over her face, and she thought she looked pretty. It was too funny.
Beautiful and I concur!
You had me at: Why I’m Not Reading Fifty Shades of Gray! Great write up! ;0)
Fifty Shades of Grey says
Terrific work! That is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the
internet. Disgrace on the seek engines for now
not positioning this submit upper! Come on over and seek advice from my web site .
Thank you =)
AMEN! Take that secular world! Dr. James Dobson would like your comments.
Wow! somehow I missed this before. I had a younger woman (I’m 54, she was 30) ask me about reading these books. My answer to her was not near as good as yours, but it was ‘I don’t want to fill my mind with this type of literature, what I view as essentially pornography; I don’t want to take any chances on damaging my relationship with my husband by developing unrealistic expectations about sex or what is normal within relationships- and besides there are too many things I want to read to spend time on these’. Her husband was in the room when I answered, and he agreed with me!
Could not agree more….. Thanks for the refreshing perceptive, Edie!
L C says
Heartfelt kudos & gratitude!
Your ability to verbalize & in a positive way is inspiring.
Celina Youknow says
Ohhh sorry I have no clue how I ended up on this screen wth???! ;p
I think it’s sad that we feel that we have to have an excuse not to read pornography nowadays. How depraved our culture is. Then we feel that people are going to label us as prudes if we don’t go along with our porno culture. Let’s stop apologizing for what would have been normal bevavior 100 years ago.