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.
WTF is The Guardian doing getting into bed with Unilever, to create "content" on "sustainable living"??!! http://t.co/zlUHIyXuF3— Michael Pollan (@michaelpollan) February 14, 2014
Pollan’s referring to the announcement, made yesterday, that the U.K.-based newspaper is partnering with corporate behemoth Unilever to “create a bespoke engagement platform to increase awareness of, and foster debate about, sustainability issues, and ultimately encourage people to live more sustainable lives.”
In other words: native advertising. But pushing that already-controversial media practice to its extreme, the new “Guardian Labs” are eliminating what most news organizations take to be sacred: the separation of editorial and advertorial. From AdWeek:
Many news outlets have kept their journalists far away from the native content creation process. However, Guardian Labs will maintain no such separation.
Explained [deputy CEO of Guardian News Media david] Pemsel: “It’s one thing to say, go to a journalist and say, we’d like you to write that. We would never do that. But we have people working in television and technology and film and general news, and they have ideas. It would be sort of mad not to tap into that knowledge.”
At The Dish, Andrew Sullivan is also outraged:
So the entire paper is to be filled with a p.r. campaign disguised as journalism, in order to promote Unilever’s image as a green company. That’s called corporate propaganda. The key to all this is the old and simple trick of deceiving readers into thinking they are reading journalism when they are actually reading p.r. – especially when a single page can travel alone through the Interwebs and seem to most readers to be a Guardian article. And the end of all this will be the growing gnawing sense among Guardian readers that, unless they are very careful, they will have a very tough time telling the difference.
This is far from the first time that Unilever — which manufactures Axe body spray, Lipton tea, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Vaseline, among many other brands – has been accused of greenwashing its image. Now it’s just going to get some extra help from one of the places that’s supposed to be calling it out.
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.