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.
Topics: C.I.A., Central Intelligence Agency, john rizzo, George W. Bush, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Torture, Water-boarding, enhanced interrogation techniques, The New Yorker, Steve Coll, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, News, Politics News
While the embrace of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (aka torture) remains one of the most controversial aspects of the George W. Bush presidency, a new memoir from former CIA lawyer John Rizzo alleges that on this crucial decision, “The Decider” was one of the last high-ranking officials to know.
According to a report from Steve Coll of the New Yorker, Rizzo writes in his upcoming memoir, “Company Man,” that while administration officials such as George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney were present at briefings on the CIA’s torture sessions, Bush himself was never in attendance. What’s more, Rizzo writes that while he was in near constant communication with then-CIA Director George Tenet, he could not recall a single instance of Tenet’s communicating a message or directive from Bush.
“The one senior U.S. Government national security official during this time—from August 2002 through 2003—who I did not believe was knowledgeable about the E.I.T.s [enhanced interrogation techniques] was President Bush himself,” Rizzo writes. “He was not present at any of the Principals Committee meetings … and none of the principals at any of the E.I.T. sessions during this period ever alluded to the president knowing anything about them.”
Some of the chronology of events related to the C.I.A. interrogations that Bush provides in [his memoir] “Decision Points” doesn’t compute, according to Rizzo. Also, Rizzo would certainly have known if Bush had banned two techniques, but Rizzo has “no idea” what Bush might have been referring to in his memoir. Throughout this period, Rizzo, as he remembers it, was in daily contact with George Tenet, who said “nothing about any conversations he had with the president about E.I.T.s, much less any instructions or approvals coming from Bush.”
Rizzo writes, “It simply didn’t seem conceivable that George [Tenet] wouldn’t have passed something like that on to those of us who were running the program.” Rizzo got in touch with Tenet while preparing “Company Man” and Tenet confirmed “that he did not recall ever briefing Bush” on specific interrogation techniques being used at C.I.A. prisons. “I have to conclude that the account in Bush’s memoir simply is wrong,” Rizzo concludes.
Rizzo finds “the episode perplexing but nonetheless admirable on Bush’s part.” Typically, Presidents distance themselves from controversial C.I.A. programs, but, in “Decision Points,” Bush “put himself up to his neck in the creation and implementation of the most contentious counterterrorist program in the post-9/11 era when, in fact, he wasn’t,” thus taking responsibility.
"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.