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Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)

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SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, ...

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Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)

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Overview

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
 
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

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  • Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Trailer
    Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Trailer  

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Innocent girl meets billionaire boy with some serious issues; they fall for each other anyway, but is attraction enough to overcome his need for control and her need for independence? Anastasia Steele interviews local business magnate Christian Grey for her college paper. Despite her misgivings on his control tendencies, Ana is attracted to him, and shocked to learn the feeling is mutual. Overwhelmed by his seductive presence and staggering wealth, Ana still chooses to enter into a confusing emotional and physical relationship with the enigmatic billionaire. Grey is a tormented, damaged hero, and Ana feels out of her league dealing with his frequent emotional distance, and his sexual need for control and dominance, especially given that his attraction to her stems from her down-to-earth personality and independent spirit. Through Grey she explores her own awakening sensuality, but finds herself unwilling to enter into his darker passions, all the while growing more and more attached to his companionship, his powerful charm and his desire to overcome his demons. On the heels of Twilight (literally and figuratively, since Fifty Shades was originally conceived as Twilight fan fiction), James has concocted the latest controversial mega-bestseller targeted to the female reader. Considering the cultural impact this book has made, you've likely heard of it, and possibly already read it. So here's the straight scoop: this book is not particularly well-written, nor is it hard-core porn that's going to burn your socks off once you open the pages. Neither is it a piece of fiction that will take the women's movement back 60 years. It's fan fiction and fantasy fiction. Hundreds of thousands of women are reading this book because it's the type of scenario that never happened to us, will never happen to us, and is one from which we'd likely flee as fast as possible if it ever did happen to us--wouldn't we? That's the point. It's intriguing, conceptually, to wonder "what if...?" This book is not for everyone. It could have used a good editor. If you want great characterization, perfect construction, or if the repetition of words or phrases bothers you, probably best to not pick it up. However, it was more entertaining and compelling than expected. While the book is not especially well-executed, James has tapped into a female sexual and psychological curiosity that can be disturbing if taken too seriously, but is somewhat fun and entertaining in the imagination stage.
From the Publisher
A GoodReads Choice Awards Finalist for Best Romance

"In a class by itself." 
Entertainment Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345803481
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Series: Fifty Shades Trilogy , #1
  • Pages: 514
  • Sales rank: 403
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

E L James is a former TV executive, wife and mother of two based in West London. Since early childhood she dreamed of writing stories that readers would fall in love with, but put those dreams on hold to focus on her family and her career. She finally plucked up the courage to put pen to paper with her first novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
 
I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair—it just won’t behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my hair into submission. I must not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet. Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt, once more, to bring it under control with the brush. I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up. My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope that I look semi-presentable.
 
Kate is my roommate, and she has chosen today of all days to succumb to the flu. Therefore, she cannot attend the interview she’d arranged to do, with some mega-industrialist tycoon I’ve never heard of, for the student newspaper. So I have been volunteered. I have final exams to cram for and one essay to finish, and I’m supposed to be working this afternoon, but no—today I have to drive 165 miles to downtown Seattle in order to meet the enigmatic CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. As an exceptional entrepreneur and major benefactor of our university, his time is extraordinarily precious—much more precious than mine—but he has granted Kate an interview. A real coup, she tells me. Damn her extracurricular activities.
 
Kate is huddled on the couch in the living room.
 
“Ana, I’m sorry. It took me nine months to get this interview. It will take another six to reschedule, and we’ll both have graduated by then. As the editor, I can’t blow this off. Please,” Kate begs me in her rasping, sore throat voice. How does she do it? Even ill she looks gamine and gorgeous, strawberry blond hair in place and green eyes bright, although now red rimmed and runny. I ignore my pang of unwelcome sympathy.
 
“Of course I’ll go, Kate. You should get back to bed. Would you like some NyQuil or Tylenol?”
 
“NyQuil, please. Here are the questions and my digital recorder. Just press record here. Make notes, I’ll transcribe it all.”
 
“I know nothing about him,” I murmur, trying and failing to suppress my rising panic.
 
“The questions will see you through. Go. It’s a long drive. I don’t want you to be late.”
 
“Okay, I’m going. Get back to bed. I made you some soup to heat up later.” I stare at her fondly. Only for you, Kate, would I do this.
 
“I will. Good luck. And thanks, Ana—as usual, you’re my lifesaver.”
 
Gathering my backpack, I smile wryly at her, then head out the door to the car. I cannot believe I have let Kate talk me into this. But then Kate can talk anyone into anything. She’ll make an exceptional journalist. She’s articulate, strong, persuasive, argumentative, beautiful—and she’s my dearest, dearest friend.
 
 
The roads are clear as I set off from Vancouver, Washington, toward Interstate 5. It’s early, and I don’t have to be in Seattle until two this afternoon. Fortunately, Kate has lent me her sporty Mercedes CLK. I’m not sure Wanda, my old VW Beetle, would make the journey in time. Oh, the Merc is a fun drive, and the miles slip away as I hit the pedal to the metal.
 
My destination is the headquarters of Mr. Grey’s global enterprise. It’s a huge twenty-story office building, all curved glass and steel, an architect’s utilitarian fantasy, with GREY HOUSE written discreetly in steel over the glass front doors. It’s a quarter to two when I arrive, greatly relieved that I’m not late as I walk into the enormous—and frankly intimidating—glass, steel, and white sandstone lobby.
 
Behind the solid sandstone desk, a very attractive, groomed, blonde young woman smiles pleasantly at me. She’s wearing the sharpest charcoal suit jacket and white shirt I have ever seen. She looks immaculate.
 
“I’m here to see Mr. Grey. Anastasia Steele for Katherine Kavanagh.”
 
“Excuse me one moment, Miss Steele.” She arches her eyebrow as I stand self-consciously before her. I’m beginning to wish I’d borrowed one of Kate’s formal blazers rather than worn my navy-blue jacket. I have made an effort and worn my one and only skirt, my sensible brown knee-length boots, and a blue sweater. For me, this is smart. I tuck one of the escaped tendrils of my hair behind my ear as I pretend she doesn’t intimidate me.
 
“Miss Kavanagh is expected. Please sign in here, Miss Steele. You’ll want the last elevator on the right, press for the twentieth floor.” She smiles kindly at me, amused no doubt, as I sign in.
 
She hands me a security pass that has “visitor” very firmly stamped on the front. I can’t help my smirk. Surely it’s obvious that I’m just visiting. I don’t fit in here at all. Nothing changes. I inwardly sigh. Thanking her, I walk over to the bank of elevators and past the two security men who are both far more smartly dressed than I am in their well-cut black suits.
 
The elevator whisks me at terminal velocity to the twentieth floor. The doors slide open, and I’m in another large lobby—again all glass, steel, and white sandstone. I’m confronted by another desk of sandstone and another young blonde woman, this time dressed impeccably in black and white, who rises to greet me.
 
“Miss Steele, could you wait here, please?” She points to a seated area of white leather chairs.
 
Behind the leather chairs is a spacious glass-walled meeting room with an equally spacious dark wood table and at least twenty matching chairs around it. Beyond that, there is a floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the Seattle skyline that looks out through the city toward the Sound. It’s a stunning vista, and I’m momentarily paralyzed by the view. Wow.
 
I sit down, fish the questions from my backpack, and go through them, inwardly cursing Kate for not providing me with a brief biography. I know nothing about this man I’m about to interview. He could be ninety or he could be thirty. The uncertainty is galling, and my nerves resurface, making me fidget. I’ve never been comfortable with one-on-one interviews, preferring the anonymity of a group discussion where I can sit inconspicuously at the back of the room. To be honest, I prefer my own company, reading a classic British novel, curled up in a chair in the campus library. Not sitting twitching nervously in a colossal glass-and-stone edifice.
 
I roll my eyes at myself. Get a grip, Steele. Judging from the building, which is too clinical and modern, I guess Grey is in his forties: fit, tanned, and fair-haired to match the rest of the personnel.
 
Another elegant, flawlessly dressed blonde comes out of a large door to the right. What is it with all the immaculate blondes? It’s like Stepford here. Taking a deep breath, I stand up.
 
“Miss Steele?” the latest blonde asks.
 
“Yes,” I croak, and clear my throat. “Yes.” There, that sounded more confident.
 
“Mr. Grey will see you in a moment. May I take your jacket?”
 
“Oh, please.” I struggle out of the jacket.
 
“Have you been offered any refreshment?”
 
“Um—no.” Oh dear, is Blonde Number One in trouble?
 
Blonde Number Two frowns and eyes the young woman at the desk.
“Would you like tea, coffee, water?” she asks, turning her attention back to me.
 
“A glass of water. Thank you,” I murmur.
 
“Olivia, please fetch Miss Steele a glass of water.” Her voice is stern. Olivia scoots up and scurries to a door on the other side of the foyer.
 
“My apologies, Miss Steele, Olivia is our new intern. Please be seated. Mr. Grey will be another five minutes.”
 
Olivia returns with a glass of iced water.
 
“Here you go, Miss Steele.”
 
“Thank you.”
 
Blonde Number Two marches over to the large desk, her heels clicking and echoing on the sandstone floor. She sits down, and they both continue their work.
 
Perhaps Mr. Grey insists on all his employees being blonde. I’m wondering idly if that’s legal, when the office door opens and a tall, elegantly dressed, attractive African American man with short dreads exits. I have definitely worn the wrong clothes.
 
He turns and says through the door, “Golf this week, Grey?”
 
I don’t hear the reply. He turns, sees me, and smiles, his dark eyes crinkling at the corners. Olivia has jumped up and called the elevator. She seems to excel at jumping from her seat. She’s more nervous than me!
 
“Good afternoon, ladies,” he says as he departs through the sliding door.
 
“Mr. Grey will see you now, Miss Steele. Do go through,” Blonde Number Two says. I stand rather shakily, trying to suppress my nerves. Gathering up my backpack, I abandon my glass of water and make my way to the partially open door.
 
“You don’t need to knock—just go in.” She smiles kindly.
 
I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet and falling headfirst into the office.
 
Double crap—me and my two left feet! I am on my hands and knees in the doorway to Mr. Grey’s office, and gentle hands are around me, helping me to stand. I am so embarrassed, damn my clumsiness. I have to steel myself to glance up. Holy cow—he’s so young.
 
“Miss Kavanagh.” He extends a long-fingered hand to me once I’m upright. “I’m Christian Grey. Are you all right? Would you like to sit?”
 
So young—and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me shrewdly. It takes a moment for me to find my voice.  
 
“Um. Actually—” I mutter. If this guy is over thirty, then I’m a monkey’s uncle. In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. I withdraw my hand hastily, embarrassed. Must be static. I blink rapidly, my eyelids matching my heart rate.
 
“Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don’t mind, Mr. Grey.”
 
“And you are?” His voice is warm, possibly amused, but it’s difficult to tell from his impassive expression. He looks mildly interested but, above all, polite.
 
“Anastasia Steele. I’m studying English literature with Kate, um . . . Katherine . . . um . . . Miss Kavanagh, at WSU Vancouver.”
 
“I see,” he says simply. I think I see the ghost of a smile in his expression, but I’m not sure.
 
“Would you like to sit?” He waves me toward an L-shaped white leather couch.
 
His office is way too big for just one man. In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, there’s a modern dark wood desk that six people could comfortably eat around. It matches the coffee table by the couch. Everything else is white—ceiling, floors, and walls, except for the wall by the door, where a mosaic of small paintings hang, thirty-six of them arranged in a square. They are exquisite—a series of mundane, forgotten objects painted in such precise detail they look like photographs. Displayed together, they are breathtaking.
 
“A local artist. Trouton,” says Grey when he catches my gaze.
 
“They’re lovely. Raising the ordinary to extraordinary,” I murmur, distracted both by him and the paintings. He cocks his head to one side and regards me intently.
 
“I couldn’t agree more, Miss Steele,” he replies, his voice soft, and for some inexplicable reason I find myself blushing.
 
Apart from the paintings, the rest of the office is cold, clean, and clinical. I wonder if it reflects the personality of the Adonis who sinks gracefully into one of the white leather chairs opposite me. I shake my head, disturbed at the direction of my thoughts, and retrieve Kate’s questions from my backpack. Next, I set up the digital recorder and am all fingers and thumbs, dropping it twice on the coffee table in front of me. Mr. Grey says nothing, waiting patiently—I hope—as I become increasingly embarrassed and flustered. When I pluck up the courage to look at him, he’s watching me, one hand relaxed in his lap and the other cupping his chin and trailing his long index finger across his lips. I think he’s trying to suppress a smile.
 
“S-sorry,” I stutter. “I’m not used to this.”
 
“Take all the time you need, Miss Steele,” he says.
 
“Do you mind if I record your answers?”
 
“After you’ve taken so much trouble to set up the recorder, you ask me now?”
 
I flush. He’s teasing me? I hope. I blink at him, unsure what to say, and I think he takes pity on me because he relents. “No, I don’t mind.”
 
“Did Kate, I mean, Miss Kavanagh, explain what the interview was for?”
 
“Yes. To appear in the graduation issue of the student newspaper as I shall be conferring the degrees at this year’s graduation ceremony.”
 
Oh! This is news to me, and I’m temporarily preoccupied by the thought that someone not much older than me—okay, maybe six years or so, and okay, mega-successful, but still—is going to present me with my degree. I frown, dragging my wayward attention back to the task at hand.
 
“Good.” I swallow nervously. “I have some questions, Mr. Grey.” I smooth a stray lock of hair behind my ear.
 
“I thought you might,” he says, deadpan. He’s laughing at me. My cheeks heat at the realization, and I sit up and square my shoulders in an attempt to look taller and more intimidating. Pressing the start button on the recorder, I try to look professional.
 
“You’re very young to have amassed such an empire. To what do you owe your success?” I glance up at him. His smile is rueful, but he looks vaguely disappointed.
 
“Business is all about people, Miss Steele, and I’m very good at judging people. I know how they tick, what makes them flourish, what doesn’t, what inspires them, and how to incentivize them. I employ an exceptional team, and I reward them well.” He pauses and fixes me with his gray stare. “My belief is to achieve success in any scheme one has to make oneself master of that scheme, know it inside and out, know every detail. I work hard, very hard to do that. I make decisions based on logic and facts. I have a natural gut instinct that can spot and nurture a good solid idea and good people. The bottom line is it’s always down to good people.”
 
“Maybe you’re just lucky.” This isn’t on Kate’s list—but he’s so arrogant. His eyes flare momentarily in surprise.
 
“I don’t subscribe to luck or chance, Miss Steele. The harder I work the more luck I seem to have. It really is all about having the right people on your team and directing their energies accordingly. I think it was Harvey Firestone who said, ‘The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.’ ”
 
“You sound like a control freak.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.
 
“Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele,” he says without a trace of humor in his smile. I look at him, and he holds my gaze steadily, impassive. My heartbeat quickens, and my face flushes again.
 
Why does he have such an unnerving effect on me? His overwhelming good looks maybe? The way his eyes blaze at me? The way he strokes his index finger against his lower lip? I wish he’d stop doing that.
 
“Besides, immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control things,” he continues, his voice soft.
 
“Do you feel that you have immense power?” Control freak.
 
“I employ over forty thousand people, Miss Steele. That gives me a certain sense of responsibility—power, if you will. If I were to decide I was no longer interested in the telecommunications business and sell, twenty thousand people would struggle to make their mortgage payments after a month or so.”
 
My mouth drops open. I am staggered by his lack of humility.
 
“Don’t you have a board to answer to?” I ask, disgusted.
 
“I own my company. I don’t have to answer to a board.” He raises an eyebrow at me. Of course, I would know this if I had done some research. But holy crap, he’s arrogant. I change tack.
 
“And do you have any interests outside your work?”
 
“I have varied interests, Miss Steele.” A ghost of a smile touches his lips. “Very varied.” And for some reason, I’m confounded and heated by his steady gaze. His eyes are alight with some wicked thought.
 
“But if you work so hard, what do you do to chill out?”
 
“Chill out?” He smiles, revealing perfect white teeth. I stop breathing. He really is beautiful. No one should be this good-looking.
 
“Well, to ‘chill out,’ as you put it—I sail, I fly, I indulge in various physical pursuits.” He shifts in his chair. “I’m a very wealthy man, Miss Steele, and I have expensive and absorbing hobbies.”
 
I glance quickly at Kate’s questions, wanting to get off this subject.
 
“You invest in manufacturing. Why, specifically?” I ask. Why does he make me so uncomfortable?
 
“I like to build things. I like to know how things work: what makes things tick, how to construct and deconstruct. And I have a love of ships. What can I say?”
 
“That sounds like your heart talking rather than logic and facts.”
 
His mouth quirks up, and he stares appraisingly at me.
 
“Possibly. Though there are people who’d say I don’t have a heart.”
 
“Why would they say that?”
 
“Because they know me well.” His lip curls in a wry smile.
 
“Would your friends say you’re easy to get to know?” And I regret the question as soon as I say it. It’s not on Kate’s list.
 
“I’m a very private person, Miss Steele. I go a long way to protect my privacy. I don’t often give interviews . . .”
 
“Why did you agree to do this one?”
 
“Because I’m a benefactor of the university, and for all intents and purposes, I couldn’t get Miss Kavanagh off my back. She badgered and badgered my PR people, and I admire that kind of tenacity.”
 
I know how tenacious Kate can be. That’s why I’m sitting here squirming uncomfortably under his penetrating gaze, when I should be studying for my exams.
 
“You also invest in farming technologies. Why are you interested in that area?”
 
“We can’t eat money, Miss Steele, and there are too many people on this planet who don’t have enough to eat.”
 
“That sounds very philanthropic. Is it something you feel passionately about? Feeding the world’s poor?”
 
He shrugs noncommittally.
 
“It’s shrewd business,” he murmurs, though I think he’s being disingenuous. It doesn’t make sense—feeding the world’s poor? I can’t see the financial benefit of this, only the virtue of the ideal. I glance at the next question, confused by his attitude.
 
“Do you have a philosophy? If so, what is it?”
 
“I don’t have a philosophy as such. Maybe a guiding principle—Carnegie’s: ‘A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.’ I’m very singular, driven. I like control—of myself and those around me.”
 
“So you want to possess things?” You are a control freak.
 
“I want to deserve to possess them, but yes, bottom line, I do.”
 
“You sound like the ultimate consumer.”
 
“I am.” He smiles, but the smile doesn’t touch his eyes. Again, this is at odds with someone who wants to feed the world, so I can’t help thinking that we’re talking about something else, but I’m mystified as to what it is. I swallow hard. The temperature in the room is rising, or maybe it’s just me. I just want this interview to be over. Surely Kate has enough material now. I glance at the next question.
 
“You were adopted. How much do you think that’s shaped the way you are?” Oh, this is personal. I stare at him, hoping he’s not offended. His brow furrows.
 
“I have no way of knowing.”
 
My interest is piqued. “How old were you when you were adopted?”
 
“That’s a matter of public record, Miss Steele.” His tone is stern. Crap. Yes, of course—if I’d known I was doing this interview, I would have done some research. Flustered, I move on quickly.
 
“You’ve had to sacrifice family life for your work.”
 
“That’s not a question.” He’s terse.
 
“Sorry.” I squirm; he’s made me feel like an errant child. I try again. “Have you had to sacrifice family life for your work?”
 
“I have a family. I have a brother and a sister and two loving parents. I’m not interested in extending my family beyond that.”
 
“Are you gay, Mr. Grey?”
 
He inhales sharply, and I cringe, mortified. Crap. Why didn’t I employ some kind of filter before I read this straight out? How can I tell him I’m just reading the questions? Damn Kate and her curiosity!
 
“No, Anastasia, I’m not.” He raises his eyebrows, a cool gleam in his eyes. He does not look pleased.
 
“I apologize. It’s, um . . . written here.” It’s the first time he’s said my name. My heartbeat has accelerated, and my cheeks are heating up again. Nervously, I tuck my loosened hair behind my ear.
 
He cocks his head to one side.
 
“These aren’t your own questions?”
 
The blood drains from my head.
 
“Er . . . no. Kate—Miss Kavanagh—she compiled the questions.”
 
“Are you colleagues on the student paper?” Oh no. I have nothing to do with the student paper. It’s her extracurricular activity, not mine. My face is aflame.
 
“No. She’s my roommate.”
 
He rubs his chin in quiet deliberation, his gray eyes appraising me.
 
“Did you volunteer to do this interview?” he asks, his voice deadly quiet.
 
Hang on, who’s supposed to be interviewing whom? His eyes burn into me, and I’m compelled to answer with the truth.
 
“I was drafted. She’s not well.” My voice is weak and apologetic.
 
“That explains a great deal.”
 
There’s a knock at the door, and Blonde Number Two enters.
 
“Mr. Grey, forgive me for interrupting, but your next meeting is in two minutes.”
 
“We’re not finished here, Andrea. Please cancel my next meeting.”
 
Andrea hesitates, gaping at him. She appears lost. He turns his head slowly to face her and raises his eyebrows. She flushes bright pink. Oh, good. It’s not just me.
 
“Very well, Mr. Grey,” she mutters, then exits. He frowns, and turns his attention back to me.
 
“Where were we, Miss Steele?”
 
Oh, we’re back to “Miss Steele” now.
 
“Please, don’t let me keep you from anything.”
 
“I want to know about you. I think that’s only fair.” His eyes are alight with curiosity. Double crap. Where’s he going with this? He places his elbows on the arms of the chair and steeples his fingers in front of his mouth. His mouth is very . . . distracting. I swallow.
 
“There’s not much to know.”
 
“What are your plans after you graduate?”
 
I shrug, thrown by his interest. Move to Seattle with Kate, find a job. I haven’t really thought beyond my finals.
 
“I haven’t made any plans, Mr. Grey. I just need to get through my final exams.” Which I should be studying for right now, rather than sitting in your palatial, swanky, sterile office, feeling uncomfortable under your penetrating gaze.
 
“We run an excellent internship program here,” he says quietly. I raise my eyebrows in surprise. Is he offering me a job?
 
“Oh. I’ll bear that in mind,” I murmur, confounded. “Though I’m not sure I’d fit in here.” Oh no. I’m musing out loud again.
 
“Why do you say that?” He tilts his head to one side, intrigued, a hint of a smile playing on his lips.
 
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” I’m uncoordinated, scruffy, and I’m not blonde.
 
“Not to me.” His gaze is intense, all humor gone, and strange muscles deep in my belly clench suddenly. I tear my eyes away from his scrutiny and stare blindly down at my knotted fingers. What’s going on? I have to go—now. I lean forward to retrieve the recorder.
 
“Would you like me to show you around?” he asks.
 
“I’m sure you’re far too busy, Mr. Grey, and I do have a long drive.”
 
“You’re driving back to Vancouver?” He sounds surprised, anxious even. He glances out of the window. It’s begun to rain. “Well, you’d better drive carefully.” His tone is stern, authoritative. Why should he care? “Did you get everything you need?” he adds.
 
“Yes, sir,” I reply, packing the recorder into my backpack. His eyes narrow, speculatively.
 
“Thank you for the interview, Mr. Grey.”
 
“The pleasure’s been all mine,” he says, polite as ever.
 
As I rise, he stands and holds out his hand.
 
“Until we meet again, Miss Steele.” And it sounds like a challenge, or a threat, I’m not sure which. I frown. When will we ever meet again? I shake his hand once more, astounded that that odd current between us is still there. It must be my nerves.
 
“Mr. Grey.” I nod at him. Moving with lithe athletic grace to the door, he opens it wide.
 
“Just ensuring you make it through the door, Miss Steele.” He gives me a small smile. Obviously, he’s referring to my earlier less-than-elegant entry into his office. I blush.
 
“That’s very considerate, Mr. Grey,” I snap, and his smile widens. I’m glad you find me entertaining, I glower inwardly, walking into the foyer. I’m surprised when he follows me out. Andrea and Olivia both look up, equally surprised.
 
“Did you have a coat?” Grey asks.
 
“A jacket.”
 
Olivia leaps up and retrieves my jacket, which Grey takes from her before she can hand it to me. He holds it up and, feeling ridiculously self-conscious, I shrug it on. Grey places his hands for a moment on my shoulders. I gasp at the contact. If he notices my reaction, he gives nothing away. His long index finger presses the button summoning the elevator, and we stand waiting—awkwardly on my part, coolly self-possessed on his. The doors open, and I hurry in, desperate to escape. I really need to get out of here. When I turn to look at him, he’s gazing at me and leaning against the doorway beside the elevator with one hand on the wall. He really is very, very good-looking. It’s unnerving.
 
“Anastasia,” he says as a farewell.
 
“Christian,” I reply. And mercifully, the doors close.

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Reading Group Guide

1. The voice of Ana’s “inner goddess” is a distinct presence throughout the novel. Does it have a positive or negative influence on Ana? Is the inner goddess simply her subconscious? Or does it represent something else? Does every woman have an inner goddess?

2.  How important is music in Fifty Shades of Grey? What does Christian’s appreciation of music—for all genres—say about him? [Visit 50Shades.com for playlists created by the author and inspired by the Fifty Shades trilogy.]

3. When they first meet, Christian tells Ana that he follows a guiding principal from Andrew Carnegie: “A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.” What insight does this provide into his character? And does it foreshadow events in the novel?

4. Is Ana’s relationship with Christian empowering? Do you think it’s in any way demeaning?

5.  If you’ve read Tess of the d’Urbervilles, how does Ana’s story parallel Tess’s? Ana describes Tess as a woman “in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong century.” Is Ana able to exert more control over her own life and act as an independent woman in ways that Tess could not?

6. What is the basis of Ana’s attraction to Christian? Is there an allure in the fact that beneath his ultra-confident exterior Christian is a damaged and vulnerable soul? Is Ana motivated by a desire to “fix” him or save him from his personal demons? Have you ever been in a relationship like this?

7. Why do you think this story has captivated so many readers? Is it the fairy tale aspect of the story? Do women really just want a man who will sweep them off their feet and take control in the bedroom? If you agree, why do you think that’s true?

8. Would you ever sign a contract like the one Christian presents to Ana?

9. Is Ana’s innocence and naiveté believable? Is Christian just a fictitious ideal with his perfect body (“the Adonis, divinely formed”), intelligence, and sexual prowess? How does José compare? What archetype does he represent? What about Elliott?

10. What do you think of the ending? Does Ana stand up for herself? Is the situation they find themselves in—where Ana realizes she can’t give Christian what he needs and he admits he can’t love her the way she wants—something you can relate to?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13889 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7488)

4 Star

(2163)

3 Star

(1389)

2 Star

(819)

1 Star

(2030)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1728 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    Fifty shades of a cheesy romance novel

    So I just finished this book, and I'll admit it def. had my attention. And yes it was a fast and easy read. So for entertainment factor I give it 2 stars. HOWEVER, do not be fooled...I would NOT consider this well written, nor is this close to the best book I've ever read. One of the other reviewers mentioned phrases repeated over and over again, and I couldn't agree more. At multiple points, it was as if the story was moving in circles. Sex scene after sex scene...which as you can imagine will keep you reading! So, if you are looking for a mindless romance novel full of descriptive sex scenes.... this is your book. But if you're looking for good literature with depth of characters and story...move on.

    1355 out of 1616 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Horrible

    I was sucked in by all the great press. It reads worse than a Harlequin Romance. The characters are pithy and stereotyped. Uggh, don't waste your time or money. And there are two more to come? I am fearful that so many people seem to think this is a great book. :(

    870 out of 1148 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Recommended, but Should be Available on Nook

    This is a great read and E. L. James certainly has some great storytelling techniques. The author does a great job of keeping the reader on the edge and she adds amazingly disturbing details in everything she writes. Last, a great book like this should undoubtedly be available on Nook.

    275 out of 466 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 3, 2012

    Oh my, she flushed. My inner goddess cannot believe she wasted s

    Oh my, she flushed. My inner goddess cannot believe she wasted six hours of her life reading this nonsense. I do not know that I have ever read a more poorly-written book. Did anyone even edit this book, or spell-check the content? The only thing I enjoyed about reading it was that I was able to read it on my iPad. That and the fact that I could hit "delete" when I finished it.

    238 out of 322 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    I guess I just expected something more after all of the buzz. I

    I guess I just expected something more after all of the buzz. I was disappointed.

    209 out of 290 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 3, 2012

    This book is depressing. That's the only way I know how to descr

    This book is depressing. That's the only way I know how to describe it. It felt like there was a dark cloud over my head while I was reading. I put the book down and felt the need to sit out in the sun for awhile. No exaggeration. The characters are horrible. Is this how young women think and act these days? Like completely clueless dolts? Are we supposed to think Christian Grey is sexy? Because he gave off a serious Ted Bundy vibe to me. I've read my fair share of romance novels and bodice rippers. I have even read and enjoyed the Twilight series. But I have never read such low quality writing in my life. How in the world did this get published? That's another aspect that depresses me. The English language has been butchered to a carcass. "Thomas Hardy" (whom the narrator contuinually mentions) is rolling over in his grave. Save your money, please.

    185 out of 248 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    $21.00? Get real!! Unfortunately, this originated from a Twilig

    $21.00? Get real!!
    Unfortunately, this originated from a Twilight fan fiction titled "Master of the Universe." Google it and add "PDF" to get a copy.
    Basically, the author just changed Edward/Bella into Christian/Anna. Unbelievable.

    140 out of 225 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This took my breath away!

    Simply put, this is one of the best books I've ever read.

    57 out of 120 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am ashamed to admitt I fell for all the media hype this book h

    I am ashamed to admitt I fell for all the media hype this book has generated. But the bottom line is Fifty Shades of Grey is poorly written with redundant dialog, absurd characters and a ridiculous story line. I am so surprised (and a little concerned) by the number of readers who gave it 5-Stars - were we reading the same book? PLEASE, PLEASE, do not waste your time or an ounce of your intellegence by reading this book, let alone the next two.

    55 out of 76 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    I vomited after reading this "book"

    I love good erotic romance, and was so eager to pick this up after it was recommended by numerous friends. I am beginning to question their sanity. To put it plainly, this book sucked. It was horrible. And it wasn’t just the writing that was atrocious. If you have a thing for misogynistic men who have an oedipal complex, then this is the book for you! The main male character is so deeply emotionally disturbed that it is sickening and disturbing. And Ana is a pathetic young woman who clearly has no self-respect. I am sick of novels that portray women as weak and pathetic; willing to do anything for their mate. This is NOT an accurate portrayal of BDSM at all, and I am appalled the series is so popular. This book made me angry – I can’t believe so many women are into this trash. But I guess that explains why so many women are in messed up relationships and allow men to treat them like dogs. Happy reading!

    52 out of 76 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2012

    Must read

    Please put it on the nook great story!!

    42 out of 95 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Sexy and Hot. Reminded me of Twilight, but with more sex.

    Sexy and Hot. Reminded me of Twilight, but with more sex.

    41 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Why are there so many anonymous 5 star reviews???

    It would appear someone is attempting to pad these reviews. It's probably Barnes and Noble, since they want to sell more books. I hope people take the time to read the real reviews and not just the high 5 star count, which is not an accurate reflection of what real readers thought! Here is an HONEST review by someone who read this book and the other two, also: Don't waste your money! These books are so cliche and predictable and unoriginal! What is so special about them? Why all the fuss? I don't understand why people are making such a big deal. Boring, predictable and there are even spelling and grammar errors! This is no Pulitzer Prize author, people! Anyone who reads this contemporary erotic romance genre and/or dom/sub/bondage type novels regularly will come back with a negative review for this book. There are so many better writers and novels out there in this genre. The BDSM in these books makes no sense. Specifically, it seems like the author can't make up her mind about whether Christian turned into a Dom just because it turned him on or because he's psychologically damaged (which is an overused and inaccurate theme in many D/s romance novels). Nothing about this relationship is realistic. How about an original idea? Don't be another customer who is fooled into paying 30 bucks for these e-novels! Not worth it.

    41 out of 63 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    IF YOU THINK BANGING ROCK TOGETHER IS FUN..

    Then you will enjoy one of the worse pieces of garbage ever published! This book was bad and the author should be ashamed. I can only guess that is the reason for the initials . My "inner goddess" turned into Athena and wanted to burn this book. "oh my" I was angry! How in the world could such amaturistic crap end up on the best sellers list. The porn bored me and then they went back to talking! The main character Ana is the most pathetic female I have ever read . I had no desire to root for her and had no clue what century she was from. Then there is Grey. We are suppose to feel as if he is a guy we would all secretly want. If I wanted a sociopath then yes. The writing must be intended to appeal to the lowest common denominator because I felt my brain cells sliding out of my head the more I read. Never Again!!

    41 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    You Will Love This!

    A wonderful book, by a wonderful writer. I've read most of Ms. James' writing and love, love, love them all. This is an adult book, so keep that in mind if you select to read it and doesn't disappoint. This is part of a trilogy and the story is wonderful. This is a deeply moving story with unforgettable characters in an exciting setting. It will keep you on the edge of your seat! What a rollicking, smexy, fun ride! SS

    41 out of 82 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    To All the Nay sayers....

    So i really liked this book. I thought it was really great actually. I'm not sure why people think Ana sounds like a 15 year old girl because frankly she sounds like most 20 something girls that are out there. Actually her vocabulary is higher than most aside from she says "oh my!" and talks about her "inner goddess". Hello! that is something a 20 year old might say. Especially a 20year old virgin... if those still exist. ;-) I guess some people can't relate to the mind set of 21 year old girl, who is for the most part innocent.

    So to all the book bashers on here i say, if you can do a better job then write your own story, we need more good authors out there anyways. If you didn't like this book then give it a low rating and move on, no need to verbally bash the author just because, for some unfathomable reason, you don't remember what it's like to be that young and yes, to talk immaturely at times, but hey, maybe you were all just perfectly mature and no nonsense in your 20's unlike the rest of the world. :-P

    It is a lovely book, and yes does sound like Twilight at times, but for all you adult twilight fans out there who were left with more to desire then this is a great book. If you're a hopeless romantic who doesn't mind a little kink, then this is a good book to read.

    39 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2012

    Suckered In

    The fact that this book is on the top of the bestseller list makes me believe that the Mayan calendar may be correct after all. Like many before me, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. What I found was a poorly written, angsty piece of work that does not deserve the praise people seem to enjoy heaping on it. The main female character, Ana Steele, is annoying enough to make Bella Swan look like Elizabeth Bennet, and the sex scenes weren't anything to write home about. Additionally, the fact that Ana continues to tell Christian that something is wrong with him does not exactly make for a well-adjusted relationship. As someone accustomed to reading romance novels, I cannot fathom why people are so titillated by this book. If you, like me, can't stand not knowing what all the fuss is about, do yourself a favor and get it from a friend or the library, but do not get suckered in to buying it.

    31 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Must Read

    The best Twi fanfiction ever. Besides that fact, really well written. I could not put this down.

    26 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    Mindless drivel! Don't get me wrong I love a good erotic read, b

    Mindless drivel! Don't get me wrong I love a good erotic read, but this was just plain stupid. Who really talks like this....a 27 year old gazillionaire who uses language like a 17th century scholar....and the blinding, beautiful "virgin" who boldly asks a complete stranger, "Are you gay?" Really?! The dialogue is atrocious and so unbelievable!! This book was possibly one of the worst I have ever read, and the fact I paid money for this pile of garbage makes this experience even worse!

    25 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 7, 2012

    This book was recommended to me. I looked up reviews before buyi

    This book was recommended to me. I looked up reviews before buying it for the nook. I have no idea what the big fuss is. I only have a list of things that made me feel disgruntled with the book. It took me forever to read it because I didn't want to come back to it but I had paid for it and wanted to hold out until the end for some redeeming quality, but none manifested by the last page.The writing is terrible. Some of the sex scenes are repetitive. Her reaction to everything is "oh my" and she keeps talking about how good looking he is. They keep calling each other by their last names and it's so very annoying bc the author wants us to think it's sexy. There's no subtlety at all. Everything is spelled out for us. The author also says things via the character such as (paraphrased) "my mother's been through 4 marriages. It's safe to say she knows something about men." seems counter intuitive to me. n'est-ce pas?

    Then there was all the campy "smart ass" exchanges between them that i thought was boring and cringe-worthy. I think the author wanted us to think that the main character was some woman who was above it all and then she met this guy and fell hard for him. Instead, to me, she seemed like some close minded shallow girl who is smitten with some rock star or something. She yo-yos between feeling completely unworthy to getting on her high horse and only does things to stay with him because he's so dreamy, flies his own plane, plays piano, is tortured, speaks languages and is a billionaire. Give me a break. I honestly did not see any good reason why she fell in love with him at all. There was nothing between them really to merit that happening on either end. And.. also, the inner goddess stuff.. omg..

    That being said, the idea of it is appealing and interesting but I guess the execution and quality of work was not up to par for my tastes. To each their own. And sure I wouldn't mind that kind of bedroom life but I also, in my every day life expect to fend for myself.. not make an attempt to fend for myself while some billionaire takes care of me. Don't want a lap top? Then don't accept it. Don't want a car? drive yourself home! This book is obviously written for the twilight brand of girls who want to wait around for tortured billionaire mr. right. ugh. Spare me.

    25 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1728 Customer Reviews

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