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.
Bipartisanship, everybody; isn’t it great?
On Tuesday, the Senate passed — on a bipartisan basis, no less — the so-called farm bill. The bill will lead to 850,000 families on food stamps seeing their benefits cut by about $90 per month, a cut to the program’s budget of about 1 percent. The president is expected by all to sign it.
The bill is the product of roughly three years’ worth of on-and-off negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate. Its total spending is roughly $956.4 billion. It ends direct subsidy payments to farmers worth billions of dollars, and it is expected to cut somewhere around $16 billion in government spending over the coming 10 years.
In a statement released after the Senate vote, President Obama said that while the bill “isn’t perfect” he believes “it will make a positive difference not only for the rural economies that grow America’s food, but for our nation.”
Obama’s sentiment was echoed by Senate Republicans and Democrats. North Dakota’s John Hoeven described the bill as “really … fair to both sides,” and Washington’s Maria Cantwell remarked that, while the bill cuts food stamps “far more than I would have cut it” she still considers it “time that we move forward.”
Salon’s Blake Zeff had a different interpretation of this Congressional coming together. As he put it recently, this bipartisan bill will “make hungry people hungrier at a time of rampant poverty.”
"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.