Welcome to the Damson Dene Hotel in England’s Lake District. This is the place where the weary go to decompress. Previously — and like many hotels around the world — the forty rooms here each included a copy of the Bible for the wayward and devout alike. Until this month, that is.
Jonathan Denby, who has owned the hotel for ten years, knows that it is inappropriate to have a religious book in a diverse, largely secular world, not to mention a little bit rude to place it right into people’s bedrooms. (Why were the Bibles there to begin with? You can probably thank Gideons International, an organization that strives to spread the word of God internationally through the distribution of Bibles. They approach hotels, military bases, nursing homes and prisons and present them with free copies of the Bible. You can read all about that here.)
So, anyway, Denby been thinking about this for a while and initially considered replacing the Bible with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (goodness!), but seeing that everyone was going crazy about E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, he decided to go with the erotica novel instead even though he himself has not read it. (If he likes Rand’s deliberate prose and philosophy-rich works, we’re guessing that reading Fifty Shades will make him bash his head against the wall.)
“We thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests,” Denby said. “Especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”
The local vicar calls it a gimmick. And he’s probably right. It’s a brilliant gimmick. We only hope that once the furor over Fifty Shades dies down, that Damson Dene Hotel swaps the books for some other work. Maybe another sexy work, but less well known.
We can dream, can’t we?