I finally realized that no matter how I tried, it would be next to impossible to write this piece without my sounding somewhat jaded, so here goes... I can't seem to wrap my brain around the "stir" '50 Shades Of Grey' has caused among women all over the country in recent months, as though its subject matter were a modern day novelty. All the fuss begs the question; has anyone ever heard of Pauline Reage?---'Story Of O' forever spoiled me for most other erotic and BDSM novels. Seriously, I just can't get over the hysteria '50...' seems to have elicited, the only conclusion I've come to is, that apparently for decades an alarming number of women have been depriving themselves of some good old-fashioned well written, exquisite, titillating, spell-binding and enticing Erotica literature. Judging by the synopsis alone, I must say it bears a lot of similarities to Reage's masterpiece. I now realize how fortunate I was to have sought out the genre while in my early twenties. In my mind's eye, the recent arousal brought on by '50...' probably comes very close to the same effect 'O' had among its readers when it was first published in 1954; sans the scandalous upheaval it elicited at the time, of course.
It had arrived as part of a collection I'd carefully picked out upon joining a book club a few days before: Suicide Blonde, The New Olympia Reader and Salman Rushdie's, 'The Satanic Verses'. This last pick, not erotic in nature by any means but nonetheless controversial in its own right at the time, and that my friends was good enough for me. One Saturday afternoon while taking a break from my chores I decided to look through the collection which sat in one corner of my living room. Much to what would later prove to be, my delight and surprise, 'O' was my random pick. To say that it opened up and transported me to a whole new world, would be an understatement; I couldn't put it down so needless to say, I read the entire book in one sitting, albeit with a few involuntary and inevitable interruptions along the way... A word of caution: the movie version doesn't do it any justice so read the book instead, but if it should pique your curiosity..., don't say I didn't warn you.
It was probably about a year later when while browsing through the books at a neighborhood Flea Market, I came across 'The Altar Of Venus' which interestingly enough had been anonymously published 20 years before 'O'. All I can say is, thank goodness for those rare finds we stumble onto during our travels. So keep your eyes, ears but most of all, your mind open at all times and by doing so, the day will come when you'll find yourself, way ahead of the curve.