Shelf Love
  • Cold(breath) Comfort Reads: January 2023

    Feb 1, 2023

    Starting the year off with some cozy re-reads, comfort reads, and short reads to combat the wintery weather and get through winter cold season. I share thoughts on all the books I read in January 2023, including Alice Coldbreath’s Victorian Prizefighter series, A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews, His Majesty by Shon, Better Off Wed by Susanna Craig, Hero by Claire Kent, and the Murderbot series by Martha Wells.

  • Anais Nin, writer of “Female Erotica”?

    Jan 17, 2023

    We need to talk about Anais Nin and her erotic short story collection Delta of Venus. Did Anais Nin write "female erotica"? Is there such a thing? Have Things™️ changed much since 1941? Noted smut writer Dame Jodie Slaughter is Shelf Love's international smut history correspondent. She schools us on the long history of smut, French people, Choice Feminism, why she doesn't believe in the female gaze, how her work is contributing to the demise of "our value system," and more! We unpack Anais's assertion that "women are more apt to fuse sex with emotion, with love" via Dr. Jodi McAlister’s book "The Consummate Virgin," and her theories of compulsory (female) demisexuality.

  • Arranged Marriage Trope in Contemporary Indian American Diaspora Romance Novels

    Jan 9, 2023

    Arranged marriage trope in contemporary Indian American diaspora romance novels with cognitive psychologist and author Sri Savita.

  • Findom, Care, and the Submissive Billionaire: Preferential Treatment by Heather Guerre

    Dec 23, 2022

    A billionaire romance novel that name drops Citizen’s United only comes along every so often. Carter Sherman, Senior reporter for VICE News, joins me to discuss Preferential Treatment by Heather Guerre. We talk about power exchange, heterosexual marriage as a transaction, and subverting the single script of the hegemonic BDSM billionaire romance to focus on the fantasy as care & safety as opposed to letting go of control. Romancelandia Holiday Fairies: https://shelflovepodcast.com/blog-posts/romancelandia-holiday-fairies

  • The Vindication of the Rights of Man in Romance Novels

    Dec 7, 2022

    Are men in romance novels granted agency & subjectivity, and do readers have the same expectations for male consent as they do for female characters in M/F romance? Lynell from Weekend Reader has some thoughts on mutual consent in romance, especially as she’s binging dark mafia romance with kidnapping plots. What happens when your real life values conflict with your fantasy world values, and how do ideas about happily ever after change as our culture changes?

  • Black Romance and Historical Spaces

    Dec 1, 2022

    Hear Elysabeth Grace & Katrina Jackson in conversation: a recording from Black Romance and Historical Spaces presentation put on by the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University on November 5th, 2022. This episode is a co-release with Black Romance Podcast, hosted by Dr. Julie Moody-Freeman.

  • Harlequin’s New Sexy Contemporary Line: Breaking News!

    Oct 21, 2022

    Breaking News! Harlequin Associate Editor John Jacobson is here to give the scoop on Harlequin’s newest, currently unnamed line of sexy new contemporary romances. We talk about Harlequin’s intentions, hopes, and dreams for the line, and also talk about the unfulfilled… gaps in the market, especially for younger readers who want to imagine their own unique, personalized, non-normative happily ever afters.

  • Cinderella & Beauty and the Beast: Retellings, Reversions, Subversions

    Oct 4, 2022

    Classic fairy tales Cinderella & Beauty and the Beast may have gotten their Disney-fication, but there are many ways to slide your feet into these glass (or are they fur?) slippers, and romance novels love to play with these tropes. Writer Renee Dahlia and podcaster Philippa Borland join the podcast to discuss fairytale retellings, reversions, and subversions in romance novels.

  • Hairy on the Inside: Teen Werewolves & Red Riding Hood

    Aug 30, 2022

    What is beastliness? Little Red Riding Hood stories used to be tales of warning for young women to manage their sexuality in the face of the dangerous beasts of court, who were smooth on the outside, but hairy on the inside. In the 21st century, paranormal teen romances use enchantment to transform the beasts into objects of desire. Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke, a scholar of fairy tales and romance, is here to discuss hot wolf boys, brooding Byronic figures, pseudomarriage and pseudovirginity, hot villain discourse, and why young women need beastly men to unlock their sexuality.

  • Only Tingles Before Marriage: Junior Novels in Post-War America with Dr. Amanda K. Allen

    Jul 22, 2022

    Junior novels were early romances for young readers, published in the 1940s-1960s. Learn from expert guest Dr. Amanda K. Allen how the didactic and heteronormative messages in these novels make a lot of sense when you consider that they were created to respond to demand from librarians and schools for “bibliotherapy” texts to “teach teenage girls how to be women,” which included winning that class ring and becoming besties with the popular girl who you’re not sure if you want to be or date. Guest: Dr. Amanda K. Allen is a professor of children's and young adult literature.