Goodreads,the hugely popular website with 18 million members who post about authors and recommend new titles online,has compiled an interesting list of books that people tend to start reading,but abandon midway. Hearteningly,for people in the writing world,even the phenomenally successful JK Rowlings book Casual Vacancy and EL James Fifty Shades of Grey top the list of books people shelve. Unfairly or fairly enough,the cult classic of an entire generation,Atlas Shrugged and Catch 22,fall in the same category; apparently people lose interest after page 50.
The reasons given for abandonment of some books are an authors worst nightmare like the damning adjective boring or The heroine was whiny and self-obsessed as in the case of Eat,Pray,Love. Nobody whos read Harry Potter or even just caught a glimpse of the movies can doubt the genius of JK Rowling,but her first work post Potter,Tales of Beetle the Bard,also for children,had a tepid reception. The Telegraph reviewed it,noting that it would be entirely unremarkable were it not for the body of work behind it. Casual Vacancy further diminished the curiosity and connect readers feel with Rowling,but there would still be enough readers wholl buy it expecting the originality of Harry Potter.
The abandonment of Fifty Shades … is more puzzling,considering over a staggering 50 million women are thought to have bought a copy. They cant all be wrong. EL James is to publishing what Roger Federer has been to tennis: a dizzying sensation,a one-of-a-kind. But the http://www.goodreads.com survey suggests that readers also aim to be literature snobs,and lets face it,theres very little highbrow stuff in this trilogy. The oldest and cheesiest fairy tale of all,Cinderella,re-imagined with a fashionable BDSM fantasy and some random sexting. Not that I have anything against lurid sexual content in books,bring it on,in fact,but is it too much to expect it to be central or at least have something to do with the plot? Taming a deviant handsome billionaire and turning him into a loving husband has been an enduring theme in womens romantic fiction since Jane Eyre. It would have been a lot cooler if James had been brave enough to abandon the cliched happily ever after ending and had not turned the dashing Christian Grey into a regular guy. But surveys like the one on http://www.goodreads.com suggest that rich dashing tycoons have to,in the end,become lovelorn spouses or the book wont sell 70 million copies. Whats remarkable is that though the erotica market is glutted with every type of pornography available at the click of a button,on the internet and phone,James chose the most dated and old fashioned way to get risque,in print. And it worked. Rather,it thrived beyond anyones imagination.
In keeping with the bondage theme,every writer in reality is actually a slave to the reader,who can whimsically and tragically destroy an effort with a two word review online,like extremely stupid and such is the ripple effect that the Fifty Shades… magic has waned. Maybe what the reader is actually bored of is a pedestrian,retrograde fairy tale and ready for a more empowered Ana,who wont want to convert the red room of pain into a guest bedroom.