Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats. Read the whole essay.
Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, a Georgia Democrat turned 2008 Green Party presidential candidate, has never quite been able to avoid association with anti-Semitism.
Her father, former Georgia State Rep. Billy McKinney, had to resign from her 1996 campaign after he described his daughter’s opponent as “a racist Jew.” In 2002, Billy McKinney was back in the spotlight for an interview he gave about her campaign in which he said, “Jews have bought everybody. Jews. J. E. W. S.” Even the night of her 2006 loss was marred by video of a supporter blaming Jews for the defeat and making anti-Semitic remarks to reporters.
Still, that pales in comparison to what the Southern Poverty Law Center says McKinney’s been doing lately — namely, associating with some particularly nasty anti-Semites, even Holocaust deniers.
In the latest issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, Rob Waters writes:
In March of this year, she attended a conference in London on the Gaza crisis organized by a foundation established by Mahathir Mohamad, who was prime minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 and has a long history of anti-Jewish rhetoric. In a 1970 book, Mahathir wrote that “Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry gained them financial control of Europe” and that Jews “are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.” In a 2003 speech at an international summit of Islamic leaders, he said: “Today, the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them. They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy to avoid persecution and gain … control of the most powerful countries.”
McKinney commented about the London conference in two postings on the Green Party’s website in which she praised Mahathir (“one of my heroes”) and also a man named David Pidcock, whom she called “my London friend.” A British-born convert to Islam, Pidcock is the author of an extensive collection of conspiracy-laden anti-Semitic works, including the 1992 work Satanic Voices Ancient & Modern, which blames most of the world’s current and ancient problems on a centuries-old conspiracy whose participants include Freemasons, Illuminati, “Luciferian Zionists,” the Rockefeller family, big oil companies and the Council on Foreign Relations ….
At the conference, McKinney was photographed with Pidcock and Michele Renouf, a former model and socialite who is considered one of Britain’s leading Holocaust-denial activists.
Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.More Alex Koppelman.
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
"Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie
Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower. Read the whole essay.
"A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant
A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex. Read the whole essay.
"Black Silk" by Judith Ivory
A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say. Read the whole essay.
"For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale
A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society. Read the whole essay.
"Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner
A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ... Read the whole essay.
"Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen
Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight. Read the whole essay.
"The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal
A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency. Read the whole essay.
"Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time. Read the whole essay.
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