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.
Herman Cain, former pizza magnate and current gag candidate for president, doesn’t seem to understand that the reason Donald Trump’s sudden ardent birtherism attracted so much attention was mostly because it involved television star and longtime celebrity Donald Trump, and not “the guy who used to run a pizza chain that was less popular than Little Caesar’s.” So Cain’s going birther, too.
In an interview with a conservative Florida blog, Cain said Trump wasn’t “off base,” and added that although Cain himself had not given the matter much thought, he decided Obama should “prove he was born in the United States.”
(The president has proved that, already. But Cain hasn’t “studied enough to have a view one way or the other” on the matter of reality versus feverish make-believe, so who can blame him?)
This is a great development. The more press Trump gets, the more other candidates — be they fringe or supposedly mainstream — will attempt to wrest control of the media’s precious attention. The easily distracted political press will only focus on the famous or the crazy, so to become the former you must sound like the latter. By May, Rick Santorum will be asking how we can be sure the president isn’t a lizard person.
Having already more or less ruled out birtherism, lord only knows what media-starved Tim Pawlenty will say. Something ridiculous about “fiat currency,” maybe. (Hah, j/k, even he is too smart for that kind of weirdo nonsense, right?)
I am disappointed we’ll have to wait so long for the first nationally televised debate with these guys, because while the MSM moderators will be trying to goad them into saying something nutty, the candidates will all be competing to out-nut each other.
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @pareeneMore Alex Pareene.
"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.