Last weekend, I had a brief and quite entertaining encounter with the much hyped 50 Shades of Grey. It's supposed to be the oh so hot porn du jour for middle aged women. I'll say this: even allowing that it started out as Twilight fanfic, it's pretty crappy. The working Harlequin title'd be something to the effect of The Emotionally Stunted and Abusive Multi-Zillionaire's Vapid 22 Year Old Never Ever Been Attracted to a Man Before Now Virgin BDSM Partner.
Yeah, it is a little wordy. But now you don't have to read it. Trust me. You want a little spanking and bondage, go old school and read some Bertrice Small. I'm reasonably certain every one of her protagonists was shipwrecked in Algiers and was destined for a harem though only after pages and pages of being meticulously schooled in every kinky act Ms Small could think of.
On the other end of the spectrum, Anne Tyler's latest, The Beginner's Goodbye. Her books are populated by boring people, and the small and wonderful details of their lives. So far, it's a melacholy read- chapter one introduces a widower and his dead wife (a ghost? a figment of his lonely imagination?) and in chapter two, we revisit her death. It's a quick read, but I paused after chapter two. The couple had a minor quarrel, the kind you usually apologize for about a half hour later, except she was crushed by a tree that fell on their house and there was no chance for apologies. It's got me thinking a bit. I'll let you know how the rest of the book works out. If you haven't read Anne Tyler yet, start with Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.