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.
So-called “ag-gag” bills, which protect factory farms from potential undercover whistleblowers have been recently introduced in five states. “This week, the Indiana Senate is debating a proposal to criminalize taking photographs or videos inside an agricultural or industrial operation without permission,” Think Progress reported.
As Grist noted last month, “in 2011 and 2012, Iowa, Utah, and Missouri all enacted some version of an anti-whistleblower ag-gag law, while similar proposals were struck down in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Tennessee. These laws are specifically designed to stop whistleblowers providing evidence of animal abuse or other poor practices from reaching the media or animal rights groups. As TP noted:
Since trespassing is already illegal, ag gag laws can only have one clear motive: to punish whistleblowers, advocates, and investigative reporters who use undercover recordings to reveal the abysmal conditions in which our food is produced. Undercover investigations have captured factory farms all over the country abusing livestock, passing off sick cattle as healthy, and discharging unregulated amounts of animal manure, which the US Geological Survey identified as the largest source of nitrogen pollution in the country.
As Susie Cagle reported for Grist, these recent ag-gag pushes have their origin in laws which targeted animal rights activism in the 90s, including the work of the the Animal Liberation Front in freeing animals from testing labs and exacting property damage against corporations known for animal cruelty. These activists were deemed domestic terrorists by the government, a distinction codified in the 2006 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. As Cagle wrote:
The corporate- and Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council wanted to crack down even further. In 2003 it proposed model legislation that would make it illegal to “enter an animal or research facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other means with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner.” Today’s ag-gag bills are direct descendants of that far-reaching legislation.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.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.