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.
In the first week of November 2008, tens of thousands of people gathered in Chicago to watch dewy-eyed as Barack Obama won the presidential election, believing, as the then-president-elect said in his victory speech, that “this time must be different.” This week, the Windy City is welcoming large crowds again — but as was made clear by a small protest action Monday — the president is not the sweetheart of these Chicago masses, which are assembling for a week of actions and protests surrounding the NATO summit.
Eight people were arrested Monday during a protest at Obama’s 2012 campaign headquarters. The rally, organized by social justice and anti-war group Catholic Workers, was the first organized demonstration — and the first instance of arrests — relating to the NATO counter-protests. It was small (just over two dozen participants assailed security and stormed the campaign headquarters and read a statement inside) but set a tone for actions later this week in asserting that the president and Democratic Party are protest targets alongside NATO generals and corporations like Boeing, who receive large government defense contracts.
For months the question has hovered over Occupy supporters, many of whom are attending NATO protests, partly organized by Occupy Chicago, from across the country: How many of them will manifest as Democratic voters come November? Will the energy that has brought hundreds of thousands into streets and parks across the country over the past half year be co-opted by the party machine? Of course, the small Catholic Workers demonstration is no indication either way. It will be interesting to watch, however, as the week of permitted and unpermitted protest actions continue in the city Obama calls home, the ways in which Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the president are willing to crack down on the dissenting crowds whose support they will ask for in November.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Natasha Lennard.
"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.