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.
Donald Trump: You’re fired!
With his joke today that “No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate,” Mitt Romney moved down to the lowest rung of the Republican Party – the racist demagogues who know better.
I don’t forgive poor, isolated, ignorant whites their racism, but you can understand some of the cultural programming that’s embedded it. Romney knows Obama was born here. And he also knows exactly what he’s doing with his birth certificate joke: He’s telling the bedrock Republican reactionary base to pay no attention to that Todd Akin mess, Romney will cater to their basest political desires.
We know Romney knows better, because his son Matt made the same joke, and had to apologize (if tweeting “My bad” is an apology). This time, he didn’t have one of his sons, or even Paul Ryan, act as surrogate: Romney himself is willing to wade into the muck himself.
If you had any doubts about the racial animus behind Romney’s lying welfare ads – which polls show conservative whites view through a racial lens, thanks to Ronald Reagan painting “welfare queens” in such vivid terms – Romney’s descent into birtherism should dispel it.
Talk about doubling down on whiteness.
Mitt Romney should be ashamed of himself, and so should anyone who votes for him.
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.