EDITORIAL: I guess it takes a Floridian to show America how to deal with obscenity. We also took down Max Hardcore, if you’ll recall. I say, “GOD BLESS YOU” for taking this stand. Torture of women is not art, it is not entertainment and it’s not a harlequin romance novel. The author has 2 sons. She has no daughters. She may not even be the true author. It’s quite common for authors to have a front person for something as obscene as this book is. There obviously was some very underhanded marketing going on to have made this a mainstream novel instead of a porn shop/site novelty!!
Author E. L. James holds a copy of her new erotic fiction book, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” at an April 29 book signing in Coral Gables. / AP
Written by Britt Kennerly | FLORIDA TODAY
The erotic “Fifty Shades of Grey” apparently is too blue for the Brevard County Public Libraries system.
The wildly popular first installment of a titillating trilogy by British author E.L. James, “Fifty Shades” is parked atop every best-seller list in the country, from Amazon to the New York Times.
But the sadomasochistic saga won’t be found any longer on Space Coast library shelves. All of a “handful” of copies were removed from circulation earlier this week.
“It’s quite simple — it doesn’t meet our selection criteria,” said Cathy Schweinsberg, library services director.
“Nobody asked us to take it off the shelves. But we bought some copies before we realized what it was. We looked at it, because it’s been called ‘mommy porn’ and ‘soft porn.’ We don’t collect porn.”
The “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold more than 3 million copies in all formats. Local bookstores report brisk sales of the first book, a hit with women of all ages, and the Volusia County Public Library system had 13 copies as of Thursday. The Orange County Library System doesn’t stock it.
Trashed by many critics speaking to its literary quality, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is explicitly sexual in its description of the relationship between heroine Anastasia Steele, an innocent recent college graduate, and Christian Grey, a 27-year-old billionaire businessman with domineering and sadistic tendencies.
While the naughty novel doesn’t check out with local library officials, a quick look at the Brevard system’s online catalogue reveals a solid stash of some of the most erotic and enduring literature.
Copies of “The Complete Kama Sutra” are available through the Cocoa Beach, Mims/Scottsmoor, Palm Bay and Titusville branches. Also up for grabs countywide: “Fanny Hill,” “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” “Fear of Flying,” “Tropic of Cancer” and “Lolita.”
So what makes “Fifty Shades of Grey” different?
“I think because those other books were written years ago and became classics because of the quality of the writing,” Schweinsberg
The ban on “Fifty Shades” comes two years after the county’s 17 libraries introduced a parental “opt-out” system that can prevent juveniles from taking home adult-oriented movies. Computer software alerts librarians if a “flagged” child tries to check out any R-rated films.
“I think it’s worked well for the patrons who do care and are watchful of their children,” Schweinsberg said. “I can’t tell you how many have used it, but they have that option.”
Author James needn’t fear rejection. More than 500 people showed up for a late-April stop in Miami on her U.S. book tour. There’s a movie deal with Universal Pictures and Focus Films. A seven-figure contract with Vintage Books. James recently made Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” list.
“Six months ago she was Erika Leonard, a mother of two who dabbled in saucy stories for the Web. Now she’s E.L. James… whose trilogy has deeply stirred booksellers, Hollywood and, apparently, many, many mothers. Reading may never be the same,” wrote Belinda Luscombe, a Time editor-at-large.