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.
With his presidential campaign manufacturing outrage over Hillary Rosen’s remark that Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life,” the folks at MSNBC’s “Up with Chris” unearthed some great quotes illustrating Mitt Romney’s old-time double-talk.
“I happen to believe that all moms are working moms,” he harrumphed to the National Rifle Association on Friday, in response to the Rosen mess. But earlier this year in New Hampshire, Romney said he’d like to toughen our already strict federal welfare rules to send mothers into the workforce as soon as possible.
“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” Romney said in January. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless,’ and I said ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving daycare to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.” (By backing the Ryan budget, by the way, Romney would also reduce or eliminate the funding for childcare that he claims to believe is essential.)
But wait: Ann Romney said her husband told her “more times than I can imagine, ‘Ann, your job is more important than mine.’” Yet poor mothers need “the dignity of work?”
There are plenty of good reasons to help poor mothers into the workforce. For many women, welfare was an invaluable safety net they used to get back on their feet while raising children alone. For others, particularly in cut off low-income communities with few opportunities, it maintained women and their children in a grinding poverty and isolation that could become inter-generational.
Concern about a so-called “culture of dependency” led first Republicans and then Democrats to back work requirements for welfare recipients, initially for mothers without young children. But Republicans crusaded to make the rules came to apply to women with infants. As Romney said in 1994, “we will do everything in our power to make sure that people who are on welfare have an opportunity and an obligation to go to work, not after two years but from day one if we could.”
From Day One. Maybe a brief stop at a hospital to deliver the baby, and then back to work? The conservative Concerned Women for America said this week that motherhood is “the most important job there is.” I wonder if they’ll be chastising Romney for his anti-motherhood approach to poverty. Of course not.
Here’s the segment from “Up with Chris:”
Joan Walsh is Salon's editor at large and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."More Joan Walsh.
"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.