Readers who like their books hot will likely spot one glaring omission on Literary Review's new shortlist for this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award: E.L. James's Fifty Shades series, you see, was never really even in contention, since it's shelved under erotica, apparently. Literary Review senior editor Jonathan Beckman told the Atlantic Wire via email: "Fifty Shades of Grey does not qualify because the awards are literary novels – pornography and erotica are expressly excluded." But the difference between "literary fiction" and "erotica" can get fuzzy when you get down to it. Can you tell these steamy Fifty Shades excerpts apart from those actually in contention for this year's dubious achievement? A fun quiz — you know, for the long weekend (answers below):
A. "She smells of almonds, like a plump Bakewell pudding; and he is the spoon, the whipped cream, the helpless dollop of warm custard. She steams. He applauds, his tongue hanging out (like a bloodhound espying a raw chop in a cartoon)."
B. "He tastes of white wine and apple pie..."
C. "Suddenly he grabs me, tipping me across his lap. With one smooth movement, he angles his body so my torso is resting on the bed beside him. He throws his right leg over both mine and plants his left forearm on the small of my back, holding me down so I cannot move."
D. "...yes, he also knows how to remain still, fully awake and attentive, and give himself up to me as a cello gives itself up to a bow."
E. "Something was stroking her. It caused no alarm, however, just a semiconscious bewilderment amidst her struggle to turn her lights on. By the time it slid up her mons pubis and her abdomen and began dwelling upon the nipple of her left breast, she had put it all together in a picture, even thought her eyes remained closed."
F. "Desire explodes like the Fourth of July throughout my body, and I’m kissing him back, matching his fervor, my hands knotting in his hair, pulling it, hard."
G. "...my sex swimming in joy like a fish in water, my self freed of both self and other, the quivering sensation..."
H. "I watched my blood slowly seeping on to a page from Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys and the intimacy touched me with tears."
I. "As it starts to melt, the ice cream runs off me in rivulets on to the bed."
J. "'I have often wondered how it would feel to be soundly beaten with birch twigs from the forest. Newly cut birches. In fact, [redacted], I have some examples of such birches in my bedchamber. Would you care to inspect them?'"
K. "He walks around me again, trailing the crop around the middle of my body. On his second circuit, he suddenly flicks the crop, and it hits me underneath my behind … against my sex … The shock runs through me, and it’s the sweetest, strangest, hedonistic feeling"
L. "He was gripped by a look of longing, and began to shake. "
M. "He gazes at me, revealing his fear and anguish again. He swallows."
Answers: A) The Yips by Nicola Barker, B) Fifty Shades Freed, C) Fifty Shades of Grey, D) Infrared by Nancy Huston, E) Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe, F) Fifty Shades Darker, G) Infrared, H) The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills I) Fifty Shades Darker, J) The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox by Nicholas Coleridge, K) Fifty Shades of Grey L) The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox, M) Fifty Shades Darker