This Brit's little piece of fan fiction sold more than 60 million copies and steamed up e-readers around the glob.

By EW Staff
November 30, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

I read the three volumes of E L James’ Fifty Shades and enjoyed it all. It particularly made me smile to think that this torrid set was penned in England, which is still known for its Victorian puritanical side. I’ve long known that women get sexually aroused by erotic works, be they literary or on film, but so many still denied that possibility. The overwhelming popularity of James’ trilogy has certainly put an end to that lie — and for that she deserves to be congratulated. She wrote a lot of words, and if there are passages you don’t like, skip those pages. But overall I’d say she’s made a contribution to society by causing so much arousal (which many men have benefited from, even if they haven’t read one word of the books!). I, for one, am looking forward to reading her next novel. —Dr. Ruth

James on
Her favorite book of 2012
”I love Deborah Harkness’ Shadow of Night from her All Souls trilogy. The main character is a spellbound witch in love with a vampire. Harkness is a history professor at USC. It really is a ripping yarn — because she’s done a helluva lot of research.”

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