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.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won the much-watched CPAC straw poll Saturday evening, edging out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio by 2 percentage points by leading a libertarian turn for the conservative convention.
After Paul (25 percent) and Rubio (23 percent), came Rick Santorum (8 percent), Chris Christie (7 percent), Paul Ryan (6 percent) and Scott Walker (5 percent). After that, a surprise: Ben Carson, the black neurosurgeon who is a rising star in the conservative movement and spoke earlier today at the conference. Carson tied Ted Cruz for 4 percent, and they were in turn followed by Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin, who tied with 3 percent each.
There were 23 candidates listed on the survey, and 44 more who were written in. Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Allen West and Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano each won some votes, but none got over 1 percent. Jeb Bush withdrew his name from consideration.
The issue questions showed a strong year for libertarians. About 50 percent said the U.S. should take a step back from foreign policy interventionism, while just a little over a third said they think we need a more muscular military and foreign policy. Eighty percent said they oppose using drones to kill U.S. citizens, while 70 percent said they oppose using them to spy on Americans.
Rand Paul gave a very strong speech here Thursday, but he did not do as well as his father did when he won the straw poll in 2011. That year, Paul won 30 percent of the vote, beating his son by 5 percentage points.
The results aren’t too surprising, considering that the crowd was overwhelmingly young (many college conservative groups organize annual trips to CPAC). There was also a large gender gap: 66 percent of respondents were male while just 34 percent were female.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.More Alex Seitz-Wald.
"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.