Replacing the Bible in Hotel Rooms With ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’? July 26, 2012

Replacing the Bible in Hotel Rooms With ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?

If you’re staying at the Damson Dene Hotel in the Lake District of England, and you open the bedside table, you won’t be finding the Bible there.  What will you see?


Yes, the lady-porn that has been sweeping the nation is going to be in every hotel room!

Here’s what hotel-owner Jonathan Denby has to say:

Tonight millions of women will be curling up in bed with a good book and you can bet your life it won’t be the Bible. More likely than not it will be ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ I haven’t read the book yet — I’m not in the target audience — but I’m told it’s a ripping good yarn and everyone who’s in the target audience loves it. This made me wonder about the sense of providing a book, the Gideon Bible which no-one reads, and many dislike, in the bedside cabinet of our hotel bedrooms, instead of a book which everyone wants to read, such as ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’

In this secular age it seems distinctly odd that anyone would expect to find a religious book in a hotel bedroom.

First of all, I really like this Denby guy, and second, he has a fair point! Why not put something in the drawers that might help people… umm… enhance their hotel experience?

I love this idea!  If it were me, I would put Harry Potter in there.

Any other suggestions?

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  • The collected works of various comedians. Bill Hicks, say, or Billy Connolly.

  • Oh, gawd,  not that book!

    If I were choosing a book,  it’d be something well-written, easy to read, easy on the brain after a long day of travel, whimsical and fun.  The Phantom Tollbooth.

  • Kodie

    Kinda gross after a few guests?

  • Yeah… I don’t know how appropriate it is to put something with crappy writing that is Twilight fanfic which features an abusive relationship.  Not to mention, does a little kid really need to get their hands on erotica?  I’m not a prude, but if my 8 year old niece was traveling with me, I sure as shit wouldn’t want her reading 50 Shades while I was in the bathroom. 

    But, I am all about replacing the bible with some fun fiction or comedy essays.  David Sedaris for all!

  • Thegoodman

    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury would be a cool book for hotel rooms. It is essentially PG-13 and is short and easy to read for anyone over the age of 10.

    The themes of the book are cool, especially when the book is in an place like a hotel room.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Ha! And the best part is, if the religious nuts complain that Fifty Shades of Grey has too many “adult themes” just open to any page in the Bible to show their hypocrisy.

  • Poolio

    I love the idea, but don’t know about the book.  Haven’t read it, but I understand that some people might find it offensive.  Of course they don’t have to read it, but let’s provide something that would appeal to both sexes and all ages.

    I say you put whatever book has most recently won the Pulitzer for fiction (A Visit from the Goon Squad, right now).  Every year you can replace it with something new.

  • Pollo Diablo

    game of thrones. just like the bible, its full of violence and incest. but it has the added bonus of being  more believable.

  • Kari Lynn

    The Princess Bride! 

  • Kodie

    I’m not even sure what’s up with providing reading material. I thought the bibles were provided by an outside group, not saying it’s right, but the intention to provide comfort to weary travelers far from home. Now while people have the whole internet if the room has wi-fi, on their phones, tablets, or their own e-readers, what’s the reasoning for a hotel room to provide guests with reading material -at all- and presuming they are there to get sexy? People travel alone, they travel with kids, get roomed with a co-worker at a convention, etc. This is just weird, hey, let’s replace the bible with an erotic literature.

    I am not being a prude, I just think it’s weird and a publicity stunt? People going to a hotel think there’s nothing to read except the bible and bring their own magazines and books, and like I said, wi-fi and personal electronics are eliminating the need at all especially if you’re traveling light and still want to read in your downtime. Waste of paper, gross germs and “other”, no books please. It’s hard for me to comprehend someone that hard up for reading material that they traveled without, or erotic inspiration while they’re in a hotel room and not their home, feel like people in that stage of a relationship don’t need that much help.

  • mcbender

    In principle, I would approve of replacing the Gideon bibles with quality fiction; however, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is not that and seems to me a step in the wrong direction. This is a book that originated as Twilight fanfiction, which glorifies abusive relationships and misrepresents BDSM in some rather terrifying ways (for instance, the book has no concept of consent, nor of safewords – I found the bits I’ve seen to be extremely rapey and disturbing).

    I am concerned about this book because I worry that people who have never tried BDSM but are interested in doing so may read it and then be manipulated into abusive relationships by unscrupulous people because they don’t know any better. I’ve read a few articles suggesting this may already be happening, although I don’t have the links offhand – but I have seen Craigslist ads blatantly based on this book.

  • Roger

    Worse, an abusive relationship cloaked in the garb of BDSM, which only furthers the popular misconceptions that BDSM = abuse, that it’s totally male-dominated and misogynistic, or that practitioners are mentally unbalanced. (Yes, all those things happen inside BDSM, but no more frequently than outside.)
    And it’s not even *good* erotica!

  • Jessica

    Get out of my brain!  That was my first thought, too!

  • Tainda

    In this day and age with e-readers I would say no book is needed.

    For discussion sake, anything by Piers Anthony just because he was my favorite author growing up and the books are easy fun reads.

  • Roger

    I’d suggest books published by local authors, especially local independent authors. On the off chance that someone staying in the room is actually going to look at whatever book you provide, take the chance to expose them to something new and not the same recycled trash they can find anywhere. At the same time, you’re supporting local writers and making a cultural statement about your town.

  • rb6k

    If he wants to do something sexual why not the karma sutra? Beyond that, why this shite? Why not just provide a collection of decent books or a stocked up kindle with some kind of security involved.

  • I’d put the Hitchhiker’s Guide compilation in every hotel room nightstand drawer. The best “bible” there is. 😀

  • Tainda

    I haven’t read it and refuse to because I heard the same thing about the misrepresentation of BDSM.  

    I also hear it reads like a 5-year-old wrote it.

  • Kodie

    If you have to choose reading material for out-of-town guests, this is my favorite idea. A copy of the latest travel guide to the area would also be more useful, probably, than a bible or popular fiction. The lobby has the rack of marketing brochures to local attractions, not everyone is there on a week’s vacation, not everyone has a full itinerary, I think a decent travel guide is something I might get some use of, even on a stopover on a long trip. People might stay an extra day if there’s something neat to do or find some good reason to come back that way.

  • Why would one even place books in the rooms? Just have a bookcase by the reception desk for people to borrow books from and be done with it. Being European, I never really got this hotel custom of placing Bibles in the rooms. How did it even get started?

  • Cortex_Returns

    This is a great idea. When I travel, the last thing I want is to read, watch, and eat the same things I can at home. 

    I’d also recommend plenty of short stories and poems, because I assume people aren’t usually spending long periods of time in their hotel rooms.

  • Eric M Boucher

    Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy!

  • Johnpmccready

    Every hotel should at least have a small library so that the room occupants can pick their own “bedtime literature”! And NO, pornographic, religious literature should NOT be part of the selection! 

  • LesterBallard

    Shit replacing shit.

  • Ibis3

    Something better written and less misogynistic than Fifty Shades.  In those respects it’s hardly better than the bible.

  • The Other Weirdo

     Why  not? Apart from the fact that it would never be available due always being “out”.

  • Donalbain

     Because it got him on the news. This is clever marketing, nothing more, nothing less.

  • Michael

    I would put a bookcrossing stand in the main room with a note saying you’re welcome to borrow books while you stay.  If religious groups want to donate holy books then add them to the collection.

  • I’ve always liked the idea of having a kindle in every room, with a hotel library.

  • And at least some of the characters are honest about the fact that there are probably no gods.

  • Kahomono

    The Lord of the Rings (incl The Hobbit) is a vastly better guide to how to live one’s life than the Bible.  

    (While still lacking in treating women as equals at least they are no longer chattel in that one.  In every other respect – like how to treat vanquished enemies, for example! – it’s FAR superior.)

  • Muggin15

     I think you are probably right about the publicity stunt thing. I like the above idea about a local author or local travel guide. I work at a hotel so maybe this is something I can throw at the managers. Although they are all Catholic (and my family, ugh) so they’ll probably just want to keep the Bible. On another note, when I stayed at a hotel in Hawaii several years ago instead of Bibles they had a book about Buddhism.

  • Davahbenoff

    How about the Ender saga, or maybe just Enders Game or Speaker for the Dead.

  • Geocatherder

    The Hobbit.

  • Still not quite literature, but a step in the right direction. I think hotel rooms would be so much more relaxing with a bookcase of various nonfiction and novels instead of a giant, imposing Advertisement Viewer bracketed to the wall. I don’t mind a Gideon Bible here and there, just don’t make it my only option.

  • TimothyWells

    50 shades of grey misrepresents BDSM like the Bible misrepresents reality. It’s poorly written sex negative anti-kink bullshit.

  • The other argument against putting bibles in rooms that I haven’t seen is that anyone who actually wants to read a bible has their own with them.

  • Stev84

    Still better than a Bible. The Bible has plenty of violence and disturbing sex too

  • Patterrssonn

    That’s a great idea. A couple of times I’ve been stuck in a motel with nothing to read, would have been nice to pull open a drawer and find an Alice Munroe.

  • ” I understand that some people might find it offensive.”

    Surely that’s (part of) the point? Plenty of people find the book it’s replacing offensive too.

  • You’re not very familiar with Orson Scott Card, are you?  There’s a reason that humans derisively refer to the aliens as “buggers.”

  • The Magic of Reality. No contest

  • Came to say this. Glad you had it covered. I call it shit-lit, personally.

  • I’d love to see a “library list” in rooms. Go to the front desk and request Book X from the list and return it on checkout.

  • My teenage (13) niece was looking for books on her nook the other day. 50 Shades was being suggested as TEEN reading. My mind was blown on who thought THAT was a grand idea.

  • Aimee

    I have been saying, for quite some time now, that they should replace the Bible with Demon Haunted World in hotel rooms.  

    Fifty Shades of Grey is the worst book I have ever picked up.  I would not recommend it to anyone, it is porn in print  the same scene over and over and over.  If you would like to read good erotica Anais Nin is a much better choice.  

  • “Looking For Alaska” by John Green. It’s an awesome read, as are the rest of his books. 

  • Guest

    couldn’t he pick a good book instead? I wish I would find a well-written book. FSoG certaintly is not well written. I read it but had a very intense hate-addicted four days for the three books. 

  • Singer

    This is a completely honest question, prompted by Hemant’s suggestion that he would put Harry Potter in hotel rooms instead of bibles – I have no intention of being combative or sarcastic at all with this inquiry, and I adore Harry Potter.  That being said…:

    How do atheists read the Harry Potter series, especially the events of the last book?  Did the conclusion of the series disappoint atheists because of the biblical parallels and the notion of “life after death,” or were these plot aspects able to be put aside in favor of a more general, universal theme?

  • Ugh — I was so mad about that. Not by the Biblical allusions but the whole dream sequence stuff. So annoying.

    Speaking of crappy endings, let’s talk about LOST.

  • “Not to mention, does a little kid really need to get their hands on erotica?”
    Apparently little kids getting hold of rape and genocide stories (the so called “good bits” of the bible) was ok so I don’t see this being worse.

  • Didn’t watch LOST, but Battlestar Galactica was a giant Deus Ex Machina cop out.

    At least the soundtrack was good.

  • I thought the ending was a bit too reminiscent of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, to be quite honest.

    But life after death shouldn’t come as a surprise in the Harry Potter universe. There are ghosts throughout the entire series. It would seem crazy to object to that given that there are all kinds of supernatural and magic elements.

  • You seem to have misspelled “fantastic endings” there, Hemant.

  • Singer

    Anna, that’s a good point.  I never thought of it like that.   But that also points out the distinction in different kinds of afterlives, as well: one were some “move on” and one where some don’t.   Interesting.

    Hemant, I think you’re referring to Kings Cross, right?  Did that focus at the end there hurt your perception of the series as a whole?  Or were you able to look past it? (even though I kind of saw it as resolving a lot of tensions in the series)

    I am guilty of adoring the ending of LOST.  But I can see how the ending was probably a big disappointment for…well, pretty much everyone on this blog, I’m assuming .  

  • The Harry Potter thing bothered me (if I recall correctly — it’s been a while), I think I was upset about Harry meeting Dumbledore because I didn’t think it was fair for him to get that “closure” after Dumbledore had died.
    I didn’t like LOST because it didn’t answer any of the big questions it had raised. It might as well have been a “It was all a dream” ending.

  • Singer

    From what I understood, only the “alternate reality” in the last season was a semi-“dream” (or a liminal space between life and afterlife).  Everything else supposedly actually took in what we would consider here-and-now reality.   Since the show has ended, I’ve heard many people say they were disappointed because “they were dead the entire time” or “the island was purgatory,” but I don’t think that was actually what the writers intended people to think…I thought that’s why Christian Shephard had his little speech at the end – to kind of clear up that confusion.  I don’t know, though.

    Also, out of curiousity – why was it not fair for Harry to get closure?  That’s interesting – I guess I didn’t see it as “closure,” per se, but rather a sneak-peek and a choice; you can come hang out with me and your parents and everybody else you love now, since you actually died, or you have the choice to go back and defeat voldemort.  It’s been awhile for me too, though…

  • Maybe not ANY page.  Numbers, for example, comes up a bit dry.

  • I think this is a FANTASTIC idea, along with the local travel guide mentioned by Kodie.  It’s one of those “why did nobody think of this before?” type of ideas.

  • I stayed in a Holiday Inn last weekend and was mildly surprised that there were no books in the room at all.

    Thing about Bibbles in hotels is that anyone who is really that interested should probably be carrying one anyway, and even if they aren’t and in need of their Jesus/God fix you can get a free copy for pretty much every smart phone around.

    So what if 50 Shades is just a fad, it’s current and what people want. Why not provide current reading material to travellers? Why should we expect to find the same book in every room? Variety people! It’s the spice of life. 😀

  • ReadsInTrees

    This is why I won’t read it. I have nothing against BDSM…but when people who actually practice it are against the abusive, stalker behavior in this book…yeah, that’s a problem.

  • ReadsInTrees

    The Phantom Tollbooth! Yes!

  • Anon

    I’m just pissed at the automatic assumption that women like this sort of shit.

    Frankly I’d rather read the Bible.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Agreed. Being disgruntled about an afterlife in a book full of magic, ghosts, souls, etc.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Plus, young adult fiction is overlooked too much these days unless it’s Twilight or a rip-off thereof. SOO much good YA stuff out there.

  • ReadsInTrees
  • Noni

    The Hobbit! It’s a great read and actually pretty family friendly.

  • quirkeegurl

    One of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon books… who wouldn’t enjoy some wonderful drawings and wit after a stressful or busy day?

  • Rick

    LOL! You guys crack me up. You and your kids can access XXX porn on the room TV (you never set the security feature), you can access all the violence you want with the video game, and the regional phone book is right beside the bed if you’d like some professional companionship (straight, bi, gay or group). And you get all hot and bothered because there’s a Bible hidden in the nightstand? HaHaHaHa! I love it!

  • Batjac

    LOL! You guys crack me up. You and your kids can access XXX porn on the room TV (you never set the security feature), you can access all the violence you want with the video game, and the regional phone book is right beside the bed if you’d like some professional companionship (straight, bi, gay or group). And you get all hot and bothered because there’s a Bible hidden in the nightstand? HaHaHaHa! I love it!

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