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50 shades of blush

Posted by Robin Abrahams  March 27, 2012 10:26 AM

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The novel 50 Shades of Grey is the new "mommy porn" sensation, the dark literary secret of every yummy mummy dressed in Lululemon, apparently. And surely the Kindle is at least somewhat to thank for this, as the mommies can lock down the salacious secrets from their kids -- and perhaps more importantly, not be embarrassed by the book cover peeping out of her yoga bag. 

Over centuries, a whole subgenre of jokes evolved about people trying to hide what they are reading, from acolytes slipping forbidden texts into the Bible's pages to schoolboys putting comics inside their history textbooks. Not so resonant for the Kindle generation, perhaps. 

Along with heretics and porn mommies, we science-fiction fans have good reason to cheer the Kindle. At the moment, I'm reading an excellent alien-invasion novel that addresses domestication and interspecies attachment, the psychology of slavery, and predator/prey relations. A thoroughly respectable read, except the cover looks like this: 


Honestly. I can't sit around reading this in a coffee shop, I simply can't. Either the title or the graphic might be acceptable, but put them both together and it just ... I can't be the only person whose first thought is "soft-core Jesus erotica" when looking at this cover. 

Are you a fellow skiffy fan? Or are you a fan of any other genre that you don't care to read in public, for whatever reason? Have you ever used a Kindle for privacy, in addition to convenience? 

In general, I like being able to take a gander at what other people are reading, and perhaps have a brief conversation if the circumstances are right. And I don't mind anyone doing the same to me. 

Unless it looks like I'm reading bad Bible slashfic, or the adventures of Mark Trail versus the Muscular Space Wallabies

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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