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.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement today recommending pediatricians make prescriptions for emergency contraception available in advance to girls under the age of 17. The morning-after pill can prevent pregnancy if used within five days of intercourse, but is only available without a prescription to women 17 and older under current federal policy.
According to Bill Alpert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, requiring a visit to the doctor can prevent many teens from using emergency contraception.
It’s just common sense that requiring a prescription is a barrier. If an august and respected medical group like AAP is suggesting providing emergency contraception to minors is OK, that is a big deal.
The statement from AAP has reignited criticism of the Obama administration for rejecting the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation that the morning-after pill be made available without a prescription. In what many considered a political move, Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the agency’s findings that emergency contraception is safe, creating a prescription wall for girls 17 and younger. President Obama also came out in support of Sebelius:
The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drugstore should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect. … And I think most parents would probably feel the same way.
Obama made women’s health, access to contraception and abortion rights a centerpiece of his reelection campaign, but his unscientific position on the morning-after pill remains a sticking point for many of the women who got him a second term. (Hi! You’re welcome!) Will a growing chorus of women’s heath advocates and medical professionals persuade his administration to reconsider his Plan B problem? Only time will tell, but let’s hope he’ll turn some of that fiery rhetoric about women — yes, even teenagers — controlling their own bodies into sound policy recommendations. Sasha and Malia certainly deserve as much.
"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.