Friday, June 8, 2012

Shades of Grey (disambiguation)

With all the press surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey, and all the knockoffs and parodies flooding the market (we've heard about everything from Fifty Shades of Black and Blue to the forthcoming Fifty Shames of Earl Gray.  Here's the Atlantic Wire's take on that one) it's worth mentioning some worthwhile, completely unrelated books with "shades of gr(e/a)y" in their titles.

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys, which has already been mistaken for the E.L. James smash hit, is actually a bestselling young adult novel about a fifteen year old girl who is deported to Siberia during the Russian campaign in Lithuania. Lina documents the work camp in her artwork, risking everything in an attempt to reunite her family. 

A Million Shades of Gray, by Cynthia Kadohata, follows a young elephant trainer living in South Vietnam after the withdrawal of American troops from the region.  When the North Vietnamese Army attacks his village, he and the other villagers are forced to flee into the jungle with little hope of survival.  A powerful novel about childhood, allegiance, and the horrors of war.

In Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey,a man who can only see the color red is assigned to conduct a chair census in an alternate Wales called East Carmine.  Fforde's dystopian futurein which social rank is determined by the ability to perceive color, spoon production is outlawed, and the Wizard of Oz is arguably the most significant cultural relicis both creepy and whimsical.

Shades of Gray, by Carolyn Reeder and Tim O'Brien, is a children's book about a twelve year old boy orphaned by the Civil War.  Sent to live with his aunt and uncle in a ruined part of Virginia, Will must come to terms with his Confederate allegiance as well as his idea of courage.

Kim Prosise

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