Libraries and bookstores across the country are having a tough time keep E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy on the shelves. More and more women –and now men– are flocking to pick up the erotica bestseller that’s taking the nation by storm. But some library shelves are missing the books by choice.
Because of the explicitly sexy content of the books, a number of libraries have removed the books from stock. According to The New York Times, the public library in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin didn’t order the books because of a “no-erotica” police. Meanwhile, officials at the Brevard County Public Library in east Florida decided the content was inappropriate and pulled the books, as Julie Bosman explains.
“We view this as pornographic material,” Don Walker, a spokesman for the Brevard County government, said in an interview on Friday. “I have not read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ but I’ve read reviews of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ From what I understand, it’s a lot about male dominance and female submissiveness.”
He’s right about the storyline. The books tell the story of a virginal college student who enters into a dominant-submissive relationship with an attractive millionaire businessman. The Brevard County Public Library carries other erotica novels, but Walker says it’s because they’re part of the “societal mainstream.”
I have a few bones to pick with Mr. Walker. First of all, despite his awareness of the story’s content, it’s not the same as reading the book. What right does he have to pull the books because of their unsuitable content when he hasn’t even read the content himself? I also wonder what constitutes a book becoming part of the “societal mainstream.” With the widespread popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, I think it’s safe to say the books are now part of the “societal mainstream,” no?
What do you guys think?