Fifty Shades of Eh: BDSM hits the news in Canada

I’m not a huge fan of the Fifty Shades books. My friends and I enjoyed reading them, but not always in the manner the author intended. Also, I hate-read some parts and skimmed others.

But even I am absolutely, entirely sure that there is no scene where Christian Grey punches Ana in the face without warning.

Which is relevant, because three anonymous women have claimed Jian Ghomeshi abused them without consent, and his get-in-there-first Facebook post last night claimed “I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer” and characterized his sex life by comparing it to Fifty Shades. No, seriously: “We talked about using safe words and regularly checked in with each other about our comfort levels. She encouraged our role-play and often was the initiator. We joked about our relations being like a mild form of Fifty Shades of Grey or a story from Lynn Coady’s Giller-Prize winning book last year.

Compare that to what the women allege happened: “allegations from three young women, all about 20 years his junior, who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the lead-up to sexual encounters….In one woman’s case, she visited Ghomeshi at his Toronto home and alleges as soon as she walked into his house he suddenly struck her hard with his open hand, then continued to hit her and choked her. The woman alleges Ghomeshi repeatedly beat her about the head and choked her.

Now, I have no idea what happened. I instinctively recoil when any influential man trots out “my crazed ex made it up to ruin me for breaking up with her,” but I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility.

But the Sun is careful to point out that all four women refused to go on record, and specifically cites their fear of a backlash as one of the reasons. Jian Ghomeshi is well-known in Canada, and the THOUSANDS of supportive comments on his Facebook post attest to his popularity. The women all referenced what happened to Carla Ciccone after her article last year.

Because Ghomeshi has chosen to sue the CBC over his dismissal, his evidence that it was all consensual (which I’m guessing will be texts and emails with the women, possibly written at some point when they thought they were consenting to something other than choking or facepunching–but hey, maybe he went full-on Fifty and made them fill in checklists) is probably going to end up before a court.

Let me repeat that: women who chose not to report him to police and didn’t want to be on record are probably facing further exposure now.

But Ghomeshi, of course, is defending his career and his reputation. So I guess the women’s stated wishes aren’t weighted very strongly right now.

This house is full of books.

Like, crazy cat lady levels of full, only with books instead of cats. Admittedly the books are easier to shelve (though at this point not MUCH easier, because we are running out of shelves).

Part (okay most) of the problem:


Yeah, I know. I love books, okay? Also I don’t spend on much other “entertainment” stuff right now, and we next-to-never eat out, so this is where my entertainment budget has been going.

But between my urge to step back from reviewing new releases for a while, and my even greater urge to get through some of my TBR pile and clear some shelf space, I’ve reached a decision: I’m going to try to go six months WITHOUT buying books.*

This will also give me more time to work through my stack of Old School Romances, and maybe review a few of those for a change. (No one will show up on my doorstep for reviewing something ten or twenty years out of print, right? Right??)

*Except for the children’s Scholastic Book Club orders.

Well, UGH.

I don’t often update this blog, but this morning I have something I need to communicate, and it’s a bit of a policy statement. I apologize in advance for the sheer pomposity of that.

As you may already have read, the Guardian recently published a piece in which an author writes lightly and amusingly about stalking someone who gave her a bad review. No, really, that really happened. There’s a good list of links at Love in the Margins.

Obviously I don’t ever want to be stalked by creepy authors. I realize the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim: I’m not a well-known or prolific reviewer, and I can usually only find the energy to review books I enjoyed, not the ones I hated. But, you know…if the atmosphere surrounding book reviews has gotten so entitled and toxic that some authors think this was justified (and they do: there are people praising the stalker on Twitter), then I have no interest in participating.

No, honestly, I just don’t. Take your much-wanted stars and shove them somewhere in need of light, because I’ll no longer be providing them for any authors I don’t already know/trust/have reason to believe are sane. So the list of things I’ll be bothering to review just shrank considerably.

But the more important thing I wanted to say is this: I don’t Google myself, look for mentions of myself, or even read reviews of my stuff anymore. If you are reading anything I’ve written, you can talk about it (or not) however and wherever you want to: I promise not to whine, stalk, complain, or even look. You are allowed to have opinions of my work! Even negative ones!

So this is my one and only comment: Thank you for taking the time to read me. I’m delighted if you enjoyed the read, and sorry if you didn’t, but either way I’m not comfortable responding to reviews. I hope you understand, and that you know I’m making this decision with a lot of respect and affection for the world of readers.

I went on a spree.

A shopping spree, not a killing spree; I feel it’s important to make that distinction.

Don’t these look lovely? I swear I would frame books and hang them on my wall of I could figure out how. The covers are like little, irresistible jewels.

They have that new-book glow.

They have that new-book glow.


Things I Own

Publication date: 1983.

Shown: sand, sun, palm trees.

Shown: sand, sun, palm trees.


…camel, pyramids. SUBTLE.

Not pictured: the hero’s amazing clothes.

…Craig looked comfortable in white shorts and a blue terrycloth shirt. (p. 208)

Isn’t terrycloth the stuff bathrobes are made out of? You can get SHIRTS in that?