WESTLAKE, Ohio -- The racy trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey may be sizzling hot, but Wednesday night at Panini’s in Westlake, it was literally on fire.
WMMS DJs Chad Zumock and Alan Cox cooked up the idea for a book burning party during their afternoon drive time show from 3 to 7 p.m., on 100.7 FM.
“People were calling and complaining how it was just horrible,” said Zumock. “So it was something we had to do.”
About 50 people gathered on the patio at the restaurant on Clague Road.
Some admitted they were just there for a cocktail and to enjoy a nice summer night, while others said they came to see the book burning.
“I thought it was funny; that’s why I came,” said Sarah Schlueter, who is currently reading the second book in the series titled Fifty Shades Darker.
She said, “One thing I’ll say is, she is good at describing stuff, but phrases like ‘holy cow’ and ‘holy moses’ just ruin it.”
Millions of women of all ages and backgrounds have fallen under the spell of E.L. James, making the racy and erotic books the bestselling series of all time, with over 20 million copies sold in the United States alone.
The salacious books have been called “mommy porn,” caused a surge in sex toy sales, and some doctors have even predicted a baby boom next year.
In the story, worldly billionaire Christian Grey seduces and falls in love with an innocent college graduate named Anastasia Steele. It’s a love story of sorts with some pretty provocative scenes.
Readers who like the storyline say men shouldn’t burn the books; they should read them and take notes.
“It definitely gets your attention,” said Shawna Jenkins.
But Zumock disagrees: “No man should read this book.”
He says the series of books even contributed to a friend's divorce.
“Men can’t live up to this book, and it becomes an issue,” said Zumock. “They’re more interested in this and go to bed alone.”
His partner Alan Cox said, “This is giving voice to people who think it’s a piece of garbage.”
The crowd gathered at Panini’s was divided, but everyone agreed the stunt was all in good fun. And although they don’t advocate book burnings, they did have fun torching Fifty Shades of Grey.
"I don’t know what we’re standing up for,” said Cox.