Fifty Shades of Green

It wasn’t a good omen. When I told my colleagues I was getting a book published a few months ago the first thing one asked was ‘ are there any dirty bits in it?’ (Yes, you know who you are, AG!)

‘No,’ I sniffed, grabbing my third Welsh cake (nice ones from the market in a paper bag, not those nasty pre-packaged ones) ‘it’s not that kind of book.’  Mentally, I added it’s a proper thriller. It doesn’t need embarrassing sexy bits.

Ah, my foolish pride…Soon the weeks passed and copies of Telling Stories were snapped up by my family and friends, and then the family and friends of friends who were bullied into buying it by my number one fan (you know who you are, MS – gawd bless you!) and, on the whole, I was pretty happy with the way things were going.

And then it happened – the literary sales phenomenon of the millennium exploded into bookshops and Tesco stores and  Twitter and into the Daily Mail and across the world like pandemic flu.

You know which book I mean – I’m not saying it – suffice to say I am now 50 shades of green if I even suspect someone is going to start talking about it or says they’re reading and it’s great, it’s the best book they’ve ever read or occasionally, it’s good but a bit samey, or if she says Holy Cow or bites her lip one more time I might have to kill myself.

Then there’s the 50 shades of speculation about who’s going to be the perfect Mr Thingy revealing things about people you sort of wish you hadn’t had to know.

And the 50 types of domestic incidents in the salivating national media because boyfriends/husbands don’t like their wives/girlfriends reading it/talking about who their perfect Mr Thingy is – apparently one man squirted his partner with brown sauce after she refused to stop reading the book (and presumably to make him a bacon butty or something). Well, that’s what the Daily Mail said, so it must be true.

So this will be what I remember of summer 2012, not my own book release, not all that patriotic sporting malarkey in London but the book that cannot be named and its bazillions of sales and the Hob Nob dipping Mr Thingy discussions while watching the men’s gymnastics on the office big telly while fiddling with Twitter.

Is it actually any good, then? (You tell me you’ve probably read it.)

I could form an opinion of my own if only I could bring myself to buy a copy…

Okay I’ve borrowed one from a friend (who has impeccable taste because she says it’s overrated – but also sits within striking radius of my potential right hook…hmmmm…)

At least I turned my frown upside down yesterday after hearing it’s been knocked off the UK bestseller list by The Hairy Bikers’ new diet book. Try anything once right? You might like it? (I mean Si and Dave’s One-Pan dishes and ‘Fakeaways,’ of course). It’s a matter of personal taste after all.

 With that in mind…


Books I once read (or tried to read) and hated.

(One chapter of) The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown. Yaaawwn!

Three quarters of The Magus by John Fowles, because someone at Uni said it was epic. Dear God I’ll never get those two days back!

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides – while trapped on a plane to San Francisco.Creepy. Better than sleeping pills.

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson. Hard work and boy, did I REALLY hate the first film.

Any DH Lawrence, nuff said.


Books I wanted to hate but couldn’t…

Harry Potter And the Philosopher’s Stone – I really wanted this to be rubbish. Everyone was reading it on the train and it was for kids for God’s sake. Read it on a train. Loved it.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.  It was a free review copy from the newsroom. Sarah Waters was Welsh (like me) so it was bound to be rubbish. Read it on the train. Loved it. Read it twice since.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury – read it following a dare from my beloved. Mars for God’s sake! Read it twice since.

American Psycho byBrett Easton Ellis sick stuff and that’s just the riff on the merits of Huey Lewis and the News.

The Passage – Justin Cronin. Oh God ! He was everywhere with his massive bloody advance cheque.Vampires/ridiculous chapter cliff hangers – immense fun.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist – Swedish child vampires/ridiculous eighties rock – immense fun.


Come on then!  Argue with me/educate me by leaving a comment or have a 140 character scrap with me on Twitter!







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3 responses to “Fifty Shades of Green

  1. Enjoyed reading that, thanks Bev.

    You know what, I just came back from holiday in Italy and everyone was reading that book at the pool side.  And I mean Everyone ( except me that is, I was reading “telling stories”)!

    It’s as if they are proud or just don’t care that they are reading an apparently socially acceptable middle-aged porno. Every one know it’s full of grot, just keep it indoors.
    Anyway, you’ll be glad to know the sun was so hot, or the books themselves were of such  poor construction that the glue melted right out of the spines and all of the pages fell out and blew about the place, like some kind of kinky snow storm.
    Watching those desperate , fat, pale people running around the sun loungers and spilt pinot grigio trying to gather up their pages, and swapping ones they’d doubled up on, makes me wish I could bleach my eyes, or scrub my brain..

    Books I’m going to read.
     The Passage –  the vampire fad seems to be dying down now so it’ll be less embarrassing.
    I’ll check out the Martian Chronicles too. It’s been suggested to me in the past.
    Holiday money – of course!

    books I tried to read.
    The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy- I should have loved this, but I didn’t.  It was a bit too impressed with itself, if you take my meaning.  Seemed very self referential and so full of in jokes that I got the impression the Doug was laughing at me for not being in the know.

    Anyway, keep up the blogging and the reading and the writing. 
    I’m very much looking forward to reading Holiday Money next.

  2. Ms Robinson

    Loved your blog Ms Jones!

    And in the spirit of things, thought I’d join in the book confessions…

    Books I once read or tried to read..
    Oh no, wait for the appalled tut-tutting, Kerouac’s On the Road!Gasps of horror all round!
    But yes, depsite a fab trip to San Francisco and being all inspired to learn more about the Beat Generation, I tried to read this and couldn’t get past the first few pages. Shame on me, I’ll try again before the film comes out, honest.

    And Dracula should’ve loved it but tried reading it twice on the train and was more captivated by the passing scenery and thoughts of my tea than Mr Harker’s journal.

    Books I wanted to hate but couldn’t..
    Stephen King’s …. well anything by Mr King really. Surely an English Literature student was above such things I thought?Nope. Read his short stories, then The Stand, then, well practically everything. Love them.

    Ah, thank you Ms Jones, for letting me get that off my chest!
    Maybe you should start a pole with your twitter followers? Books I Wanted to Hate But Couldn’t?Anyone with me on Mr King?……..

  3. Elizabeth( Down to Earth) Clement

    Think your Blog is sooooo good.!!! Novels are atmospheric and beautifully written.
    This is the way to get yourself OUT THERE!
    Do agree with you on Fifty Shades.
    Every celebrity can get a book published it seems and earn lots of cash.
    Try and write a murder mystery around, exercise, diet and memoirs and of course sex ( doesn’t have to be grey or green maybe multicoloured will do) sad bored middle aged women out there who need to get a realistic life.
    Sarcasm abounds now, probably because so fed up with friends wittering on ad-nauseaum about Fifty Shades.

    Fortunate to have lovely husband, still find attractive after 42 years.
    The sad women should buy the aforementioned books do them more good I’m sure and probably please their other half far more
    You do so need the connections and hope your Blog will help you.
    From previous comment think it a brilliant idea to Blog novels we love or hate.
    Marmite comes to mind to get you going with your new venture
    Good Luck x

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