When: Thu., Sept. 27, 7 p.m. 2012
When the 50 Shades of Grey craze swept the nation, sharing the coming-of-age (in bed) story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, we shrugged our shoulders and accepted it. Sure, the writing was mediocre at best — how many times will Ana look up at Christian "from beneath her eyelashes"? — but the subject matter empowered women (and revolutionized sex). Now that we've gotten past that mind-numbing trilogy, it’s time to indulge in some literary fiction that titillates our intelligence. Author Elissa Schappell's latest, Blueprints for Building Better Girls, is a collection of interconnected short stories that look at the evolution of a girl into a woman, wife and/or mother. Just as Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club does in the realm of culture, each story in Blueprints offers defining moments in womanhood; together, they create one powerful analysis of female identity. Schappell, who is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and an editor-at-large of the literary magazine Tin House, will visit Park Road Books for a discussion and book signing. If Anastasia Steele were a real person, we'd send her a copy of Blueprints.