When Courtney asked me back in December to read E L James’s Fifty Shades of Grey for our Year of Genre, we had no inkling that an erotica novel would become the fastest selling book in history. Courtney chose me to read the future bestseller while she read The Story of O. At first we weren’t going to include Fifty Shadeson the list, but then we decided we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least say something about the book. (Though a lot has already been said—see Holly’s previous post on fandom.) After reading Fifty Shades, a book that reads quickly in a typical page-turner kind of way, I realize that most of what I want to say about the book can be expressed as a series of responses to the common assumptions and more-than-occasional scorn heaped upon the work.