- Last Updated: 12:38 AM, August 26, 2012
- Posted: 10:37 PM, August 18, 2012
Never mind that E.L. James’ erotic trilogy “50 Shades of Gray” is selling as briskly as Big Macs and sending rope sales through the roof: Not everyone thinks it’s hot. “I found it unintentionally funny,” says Andrew Shaffer, a writer and reviewer of women’s fiction. “It seemed to be more about how this woman was swept off her feet not by how great this guy was, but how much money he had!” From that notion, a parody was born: “Fifty Shames of Earl Grey.” Written under the pseudonym Fanny Merkin, Shaffer skewers the S&M god of the original, turning him into a guy who rocks out to Nickelback and introduces a pliant young girl to BDSM — as in Bards, Dragons, Sorcery and Magick. Here are four novels Shaffer finds genuinely titillating.
The Story of O
by Pauline Réage
With her lover’s consent, a woman is blindfolded and dropped off at a club where she spends the next two weeks doing anything and everything asked of her. Even though it was published over 50 years ago, the way it pushes boundaries is still shocking. The idea of a secret society for sexual hijinks recalls “Eyes Wide Shut,” one of my favorite erotic films.
Mistress of Pleasure
by Delilah Marvelle
A world-famous courtesan sets up a school for men to learn “the art of seduction.” After she suffers a stroke, her inexperienced granddaughter is called upon to lead classes. Historical romances are popular, but I always found them hard to connect to. “Mistress of Pleasure” won me over with its bawdy humor and explicit sex.
The Dark Garden
by Eden Bradley
A dominant woman tackles her greatest fear: becoming a submissive. Bradley’s books’ portrayal of [bondage and domination] is more realistic than in “Fifty Shades,” in part because of her roots in that community. I saw her give a workshop in Anaheim. I’d share a thing or two, but not in a family newspaper!
by Chuck Palahniuk
Victor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, cruises sex-addiction recovery workshops for dates. Sounds like a crass setup, but Palahniuk is a romantic at heart — Mancini finds love where he least expects it. I met Palahniuk at a signing about 10 years ago. He looked at my beat-up copy of “Choke” and said, “Looks like you’ve read this a few times!”Follow @NYPostOpinion