A RUSH AND A HUSH FOR SEXY ‘FIFTY SHADES’

River Road Books in Fair Haven has more pre-orders for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ than it has seen for any book since Pottermania. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The naughtiest read to hit book circles in recent years debuts in stores Tuesday, and at least one Rumson grandmother is dying to know what her friends think of it.

Not to find out if it’s safe to read herself, mind you. The woman, a self-described “relatively conservative person in dress, manner and otherwise,” who insisted her name not appear here, has already devoured the racy ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ and is eager to read the next two entries in the trilogy, both of which are also scheduled for mass-market publication in coming weeks.

“I’m going to have to renew my blood pressure medication,” she tells redbankgreen.

In the meantime, she’s anxious to know how opinion divides among her friends as some of them dig into the novel, a sexually explicit tale of domination and submission.

“I have a group of friends who were horrified that I was reading it,” she said.

‘Fifty Shades’ has given rise to both high expectations and a viral case of whispering in bookshops like River Road Books in Fair Haven, where several female customers said, yes, they plan to read it, and no, they would not be caught dead being quoted saying so.

The novel, which evolved from a fan-written take of the popular ‘Twilight’ television series, was previously available as a self-published book, but with limited distribution. Random House, having paid author E L James a whopping sum, is bringing it out by the pallete load as a paperback from its Vintage division.

River Road Books, the only independent bookstore in Monmouth County, has pre-orders from at least 60 customers, the most it’s had for any title since the height of Harry Potter mania, said co-owner Karen Rumage.

“We started getting calls about it about six weeks ago, and we were kind of like, what?” store co-owner Rumage said last month. “And then we started getting more calls, and more calls.”

The books weren’t yet in the store Monday. Rumage said a shipment was expected to arrive Tuesday morning, with books available for pick-up starting at 1 p.m.

The anonymous Rumson woman tells us she spied her daughter-in-law reading the book and feigning nonchalance. When the elder woman informed the younger that she knew what it was all about because she’d read it, “she said, ‘you DID?’ She turned beet red.”

River Road Books is offering redbankgreen readers ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ 20 percent off on Tuesday. Just mention rbg.

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