50 shades of red

Valentine’s Day has been and gone for another year. We’re quite low-key with the Hallmark-holiday so I was pleased to get this gorgeous book from Mr Boo. He was very proud of himself for getting a Hilary Mantel novel I haven’t yet got, and for buying it from an independent bookseller.

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It’s also opening weekend for the much-anticipated 50 Shades of Grey film adaptation. I’ve read enough of the book to agree with the commentators who’ve already pointed out that it presents a disturbingly controlling, unbalanced relationship. Frankly if you want to read porn and/or fan fiction there’s better stuff out there.

So, instead of the shady Mr Grey, these are my romantic recommendations for the rest of your weekend. Head to the supermarket for your half-price V Day chocolates and then:
watch thisSecretary is the film for you if you fancy some consensual sexy spankings and a genuine love story with a great script.
read thisShades of Grey by Jasper Fforde has a very similar title, but instead of bondage 101 this is a clever, funny dystopian novel with a smart female lead character. (Incidentally, Fforde has said that when 50 Shades was released he saw a spike in sales as people ordered the wrong book. So something good has come from it then.)
listen to this – if you hate Valentine’s Day and all its rosy romance then Billy Bragg has written the song for you. Also recommended for anyone with ears, because it’s brilliant.

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