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.
Men, if you have ever endured the humiliation of buying Activia or other brands of womanly food products at the grocery store, take heart: There are now food products made just for you.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, more and more men are doing a larger share of the grocery shopping and meal preparation, so companies are trying to make the experience less emasculating by creating products specifically for masculine tastes.
What does that mean? Great question!
Men do not like straws:
Lots of products on food shelves are big no-nos to men, says Lu Ann Williams, head of research for Netherlands-based Innova Market Insights. Others help men feel more, well, manly. “A beer or soda in a long-necked, brown bottle makes a man feel like a man. Drinking out of a straw does not –puckered lips and sunken cheeks are not a good guy look.”
Men do like power animals:
Which helps explain Powerful Yogurt, a Greek yogurt launched in March featuring a bull’s head symbol on red-and-black packaging and an image of stomach muscles next to the slogan “Find Your Inner Abs.”
Men do not like digestive health:
The yogurt shelf “is light blue, light pink, white, and everyone’s talking to women and their digestive health,” says Carlos Ramirez, chief executive of the Miami-based company. “The amount of protein is what guys are looking for.”
Men do like “crunchy” and “ultimate”:
Larger players in the food industry also see new potential in men. General Mills went on a nationwide summer tour to introduce its newly rebranded Helper product line to more men.
Representatives in a red truck offered samples of Crunchy Taco and Ultimate Three Cheese Marinara at fire stations, Nascar races and a Real Men Cook event for fathers in Chicago. (“Ultimate” is a male-friendly buzzword appearing regularly in products like these.)
You can learn more about how to eat like a man here.
"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.