Hotel Swaps Bedside Bible With Erotic Novel, “50 Shades of Grey”

July 29th, 2012

Nestled in the picturesque Lake District of northwest England, the Damson Dene Hotel seems, at first glance, like the typical English countryside hotel. But its bedside tables contain a shocking secret. Instead of the traditional bedside Gideon Bible placed at arm’s reach, its forty rooms each contain a copy of E.L. James’ bestselling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Jonathan Denby, owner of the hotel, told NBC News he felt that in a secular society, it was “wholly inappropriate” to put a religious book in someone’s bedroom. He confessed the novel, which started life as Twilight fan-fiction, wasn’t his first choice of replacement. In fact, he hasn’t even read it. “I was thinking originally of putting in a book by Ayn Rand — Atlas Shrugged was my first thought,” he said, but “because everybody is reading Fifty Shades of Grey, we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”

Fifty Shades of Grey traces the relationship between a business magnate and a young college graduate, featuring explicit deceptions of bondage and submissive acts. Since the Damson Dene’s dirty little secret has emerged, the hotel has received dozens of angry emails — not from Britons, but from Americans — demanding that the bibles be restored beside the beds. Writing on his personal blog, Denby revealed that he has been called a “puppet of Satan,” and that several people emailed him “pretending that they were just about to make a booking the Damson Dene, but had changed their mind.”

Unsurprisingly, the move has also attracted the ire of local parish priest Rev. Michael Woodcock, who told the Westmorland Gazette, “It is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel.” He added, “The Bible remains a source of comfort and inspiration that many people do find helpful.”

However, Wayne Bartholomew, manager of the hotel has been quick to point out that, “The Gideon Bible is full of references to sex and violence, although it’s written using more formal language, so James’s book is easier to read.”

Ironically, the previous owners of the hotel were a Methodist group, who were responsible for first putting the bibles in bedrooms.

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