English literature falls to the combination of Internet smut and fan-fiction

english literature falls to the combination of internet smut and fan fiction fiftyshadesFor centuries, the United Kingdom has felt a certain amount of pride in its literary tradition. After all, this was a country with a proud history of turning out famous – and extremely important – writers from William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens all the way through JK Rowling and Philip Pullman, with the likes of Oscar Wilde or populists like HG Wells, Roald Dahl and Douglas Adams in there as well. The United Kingdom, it was generally agreed – if an unspoken agreement, admittedly – knew the difference between “good” literature and trash, to the point where even its pop culture was of a certain quality that would last through the ages and be recognized as valuable later. That sense of superiority and, yes, some might say “smugness,” has been somewhat tarnished with the news today that Fifty Shades of Grey, the self-published Twilight fan-fiction-turned-bondage-themed novel that turned into an Internet phenomenon, has become the best-selling novel in British history.

(For those curious; yes, EL James, the author of Fifty Shades and its two sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, is British; despite the novels being set in the US, James – real name Erika Leonard – is actually a former television executive who lives in London with her husband and two children.)

After sixteen weeks on UK Best-Seller lists, Fifty Shades of Grey’s sales have reached an estimated 5.3 million copies between physical and digital editions in the United Kingdom, allowing it to take the crown of best-seller easily from its closest rivals, The Highway Code and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

In a statement about the achievement, James said that “My main ambition when I signed the deal with Random House was to see my books in the shops. I simply had no idea they would be so successful and this is totally unexpected. The whole process has been both extraordinary and rewarding. I couldn’t be more pleased with the sales and would like to thank everyone involved.”

Sales of the title aren’t set to slow down anytime soon; unlike the Harry Potter series, this particular set of novels has achieved record-breaking success without the aid of multimedia tie-ins, although those are on the way, of course (This is, after all, a genuine phenomenon; there’s no way that Hollywood could stay away for too long, although it’ll be interesting to see how much of the BDSM themes present in the books make it to the screen). Having paid $5 million for the movie rights earlier this year, Universal Studios and Focus Features are reportedly creating a shortlist of potential screenwriters for the project. Just imagine how many sales the book will have reached by the time the movie eventually comes out, and shake your head in despair for the formerly grand British tradition.

Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Smart Home

How to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant

Nothing say "holiday" like talking to Santa. Here's how to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant, whether he's helping you create a playlist or checking to see if you've been naughty or nice this week.
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market
Deals

Breathe easy, stay warm with Amazon’s one-day deal on a Dyson air purifier fan

Dyson is a leader in bringing consumers the latest in heating, cooling, and air purification. Its Pure Hot + Cool Link HP02 does all three — and for today only, it’s on sale on Amazon for $359. That’s $241 off the suggested retail…
Smart Home

LG is rolling out the barrels at CES 2019 with a craft beer machine

Looking to get into the beer making game? With the help of LG, you can become a brewmaster at home. The electronics maker is rolling out the LG HomeBrew, an at-home beer making machine at CES 2019.
Deals

Save big on these Braun electric razors and women’s epilators

Amazon and Walmart are currently offering limited-time deals for Braun electric razors and women's epilators. If you plan to make your way through all the festive parties this year with fresh smooth these tools will help.
Deals

The best air fryer deals you can still snag before Christmas

Christmas is closing in on us fast, but you still have a little bit of time left for last-minute kitchen gifts. We've searched the depths of Amazon and Walmart to bring you the best air fryer deals going on right now.
Deals

Best deals on smart locks so you’ll never have to worry about unlocked doors

Is your front door locked? We found the best deals on smart home door locks that take the worry out of wondering if your home is secure. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely and some models let you control locks with voice commands.
Deals

These Amazon kitchen deals are perfect for Christmas gifts and healthy eating

Today is day 10 of Amazon’s “12 Days of Deals,” and it’s all about kitchen. From blenders to Instant Pots to KitchenAid mixers and more, practical yet highly coveted small appliances are available for up to 50 percent off.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Product Review

The Brava Oven takes all the thinking out of cooking

Using bulbs to cook food at different light frequencies, the Brava Oven lets even the clueless cook a tasty meal. But your own smart chef doesn’t come cheap.