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'50 Shades of Grey's' Surreptitious Rendezvous in Dublin

Secret book club devotees and the lengths they will go for the sultry read.

That Dublin mom might look innocent enough with a cup of java and a Kindle but get a little closer and you'll see she's reading erotic fiction — then meeting with her book club friends in secret to talk about it. 

The much-anticipated book, 50 Shades of Grey, a sexy romance story inspired by the Twilight books, is coming to book stores on April 3. However, some local mothers couldn’t wait until next week, so they took matters into their own hands.

Seven Dublin moms were part of a book club known as “BYOB,” which formed more than nine years ago. The acronym stands for “Bring Your Own Book.”

BYOB regularly meets to read and discuss books they might not otherwise have read.

According to one of the BYOB members, the group heard about "50 Shades of Grey" in early March. Some of the members did not feel comfortable reading the erotic novel, so four of the original members broke away and formed a secret book club they called the “G Club.”

Right now, several of them are voraciously, albeit clandestinely, reading "50 Shades of Grey."

"50 Shades of Grey" is written by British author, E.L. James, and is now being published on a much larger scale by Vintage Books.

It has already made the New York Times best seller list and is causing quite a stir in Dublin.

“The ‘G’ stands for ‘girl’ or ‘Grey’ like the main character in the book,” said one G Club mom. “[It] is not well-written, kind of funny, but it gets you sucked in somehow. It provokes discussion.”

The G Club mom says the plot has to do with a college student, Anastasia Steele, who becomes involved with an older man named Christian Grey.

The book visits taboo subjects such as bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.

The author calls the book “adult romance,” according to her website.

“We have discussed half of the book so far and will be meeting next week to discuss the rest,” said the G Club mom.

“Most of our group did not want to be seen with the book,” she said. “They downloaded it to their e-reader instead.”

She said while most of the group bought the book for their e-readers for $10, she chose to buy the hard copy of the book, which she found on eBay. She paid $32 and said there were bidding wars over the book.

G Club mom says her club usually meets somewhere like a cafe or home in Dublin to chat about their books, but for this specific book they chose to meet at a location in Pleasanton to reduce the possibility of someone known to them overhearing their conversation.

“These are educated, professional moms,” she said. “For me, it is really about talking with friends and the discussion surrounding the book. This is the ‘Scarlet Letter’ of suburban books clubs.”

The book can be found online or in local book stores.

Genevieve Fuller, a clerk at Town Center Books in Pleasanton, said the store has been getting several calls a day about the book.

“People have definitely been ordering the book,” she said.

“It was actually intended to be read on e-readers and wasn’t originally published by a big publisher since she [E.L. James] had not been published before. Once it was mentioned on the show, The View, it went viral.”

Fuller says the book store will have copies available after it hits the shelves on Tuesday.

Cynthia March 30, 2012 at 11:37 PM
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