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Book News: 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Sales Top 100 Million

Copies of <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em> by E. L. James at the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.
Saul Loeb
AFP/Getty Images
Copies of Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James at the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey series has now sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, Vintage Books announced on Wednesday. The erotica series, which began as Twilightfanfiction, features shy Anastasia Steele, her handcuff-happy lover, businessman Christian Grey, and Anastasia's "inner goddess," who is prone to impromptu Latin dancing. About 45 million of the copies have been sold in the U.S.

Marina Warner writes about "ancient stories of the Flood" for the London Review of Books: "Myths, like inquisitive children, keep asking: why? They answer with stories of origin and destiny, luck and catastrophe."

  • The 2013 VIDA count, which tracks gender balance in book reviewing, found that there is still striking inequality at many top literary publications. Publishers Marketplace ran a similar experiment, but tracked more newspaper reviews (the VIDA numbers tend to focus on magazines and literary journals). Among other interesting trends, Publishers Marketplace found that "Female authors do very well among the small set of books receiving the most review attention every year. They generally dominate the five most reviewed titles of the year, and have rough parity with male authors across the 20 most reviewed books each year." But, "the further down you go in our lists, the more the review 'share' for female authors declines."
  • Author Diane Cook has a great short story in Tin House called "Moving On": "They let me tend to my husband's burial and settle his affairs. Which means I can stay in my house, pretend he is away on business while I stand in the closet and smell his clothes."

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    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.