In her new book, Hard-Core Romance, Eva Illouz has published the first serious, book-length academic analysis of the Fifty Shades of Grey. The critically-panned Fifty Shades trilogy, originally a Twilight fan fiction, has sold 32 million copies in the US so far. At The New Republic, William Giraldi seizes the opportunity for a brutal send-up of author E. L. James and the “dreck” she represents. “At least people are reading,” he writes, “You’ve no doubt heard that before. But we don’t say of the diabetic obese, At least people are eating.” Pair with The Millions’ essay on literary predecessors in published fan fiction.
“McDonald’s, I am here and I am hungry, feed me, let me eat it all and let me eat it now! Oh, what a hymn, what a hallelujah you sing to me, two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun.” Michael Murray imagines “Jack Kerouac‘s Lost Restaurant Reviews” for Hazlitt and they are absolute joys.
Perhaps the best mashup of highbrow and lowbrow to grace the cultural ether in recent years is this innovative scratch-and-sniff guide to becoming a wine expert. The book, which is exactly what you think it is, declares that “not all oaks are created equal” and includes a diagram of “all the smells in the world.” (Related: literary tourism at Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern.)
The 3 Quarks Daily annual prize for Arts and Literature blog writing has been announced! Nominations are open in the comments of the announcement. This year’s judge is author, professor, blogger, intellect Laila Lalami. Dear readers, feel free to nominate any Millions writing you enjoyed here. And to the guest contributors out there, be sure to nominate your Millions contributions!