In a short blurb? We talk books.

“That book is totally a gateway drug”

… Say what? Since when are books considered a gateway drug?

Well, that’s what I would refer to books such as the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey.

You know. Books don’t have the “best” writing but are selling like hot cakes because of the story. Books that everyone names as their guilty pleasure and/or have on their e-reader in fear of being seen with it in public and therefore losing all literary credibility.

I can’t speak for myself as I haven’t read the latest cultural phenomenon (I am begrudgingly giving Fifty Shades this label). If you’re wondering what the difference between “cultural phenomenon” and “gateway drug” is, my answer to you is that Harry Potter is most definitely a cultural phenomenon and the writing is nowhere near the “not that great” status.

Growing up, I was always the girl with the nose in a book. Unfortunately, not many of my friends shared my love for reading… however, with books that have captivated to the cultural phenomenon status, more and more of my friends began to read to see what the fuss was about (I would get into my theory of how reading is cool again, but I’ll save that for another rainy day).

So anyway, back to gateway drugs. According to D.A.R.E website, “a gateway drug is a drug that opens the door to the use of other, harder drugs”. My theory is that books like Fifty Shades don’t have great writing but because of their over simplified language, this is what is drawing in the non-readers. They can finally read a book without having to analyze what the author is saying, what the underlying theme is, what the book stands for. etc. These are the reality shows of our TV. They totally suck but we’re riveted anyway! Now because we finally got our reluctant readers reading… they’re curious.

“Hey! Reading can be fun!”

Right…with a crazy “sexy” stalker man and yet another weak female protagonist. Sigh. At least you’re reading.

“Maybe I’ll try picking up that other book that everyone is raving about!”

Ding ding ding! You want to read more?! YES! 

Thus, the book is a gateway drug that leads to more reading… and hopefully to bigger and better things!

Thoughts? Opinions? I’d love to hear what you think of the “gateway drug” term for books.

– Jane 

I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my cavalier description of Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m basing it off of what I have heard from friends/co-workers personally and what I’ve been reading on the web in reviews/articles. Again, I did not read this book and I usually frown upon looking down upon a book without doing so… but I did try to read it. Maybe I’ll try again. Also, you have to remember that most people think this way about Young Adult books and I happen to love a lot of Young Adult… so nothing personal! Let’s still be friends?

P.S.S. It’s Friday before Memorial Day! You know what that means… the first Summer Friday for us publishers aka half day Fridays all summer long. Needless to say, I’m super excited for the nice long weekend!


Update 6/15/12: I decided to finally read Fifty Shades of Grey to see what it’s about and so I could really have an opinion. My subconscious is saying “ugh” and my inner goddess is saying “maybe I should read the next one…?” Yeah. I pretty much couldn’t make up my mind about this book. I can see what the appeal is but I personally wouldn’t go out of my way to buy/read the next one in the series.


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This entry was posted on May 25, 2012 by in Jane and tagged , , , .

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Words We Like

“I think it makes more sense to write what you don’t know. To write what makes you uneasy, what you wonder about, what keeps you awake at night."

— Lois Lowry, at the BEA Children’s Book and Author Breakfast

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