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.
Coastal hunts for whales, dolphins and porpoises — a tradition said to go back centuries — are going wildly unchecked in Japan, according to a new report. From the Guardian:
The coastal hunts, which include the controversial slaughter of dolphins in Taiji are no longer sustainable and should be phased out over the next 10 years, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency said in a report launched in Tokyo on Thursday.
…The EIA estimates that more than a million whales, dolphins and porpoises have been killed in Japanese waters in the past 70 years.
A lack of transparency in the “archaic industry,” activists say, is responsible for an unsustainable number of smaller cetaceans killed annually. Catch limits set by the Japanese government, the EIA found, can be almost five times higher than the safe limit — most of the quotas are set based on data that’s 20 years out of date, and don’t accurately reflect current population sizes.
Demand from aquariums and sea parks around the world is contributing to the overfishing — in China, a live dolphin can sell for as much as $98,000. But they’re also in demand as a food source. And according to the report, this makes little sense: Consumers of cetacean meat are at risk of ingesting dangerous levels of mercury and other toxins. People in one dolphin-eating community, the BBC reports, were found to have five times the normal mercury levels.
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email email@example.com.More Lindsay Abrams.
"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.