Shelf Love
  • Romance for Young Adults: A Quick 80-Year Overview

    Jun 15, 2022

    A brief overview of romance for young adult readers throughout time, with a focus on the romance series boom of the 1980s and the reverberations into the early 2000s. Wildfire, Sunfire, Sweet Dreams, Oh My! But some people haven’t always been on board with young people consuming age-appropriate romance.

  • Queer Romance: A History with Lucy Hargrave

    Jun 7, 2022

    Lucy Hargrave shares her research into the history of queer romance. While Lucy dates published narratives of fictional happy endings for queer characters back to 1906, she charts the evolution since then in 5 significant time periods with different political, cultural, and technological climates. Plus, Lucy shares some results from her quantitative research into modern readers and writers of queer romance books.

  • Psycho Killer, Come Kiss Me (Antagonist April #4, Darkly, Madly Duet with Fangirl Jeanne)

    May 4, 2022

    Fangirl Jeanne answers the question: Why might people, and women in particular, find serial killers to be romantic figures in dark romance in a hetero patriarchal capitalist, racist, etc. society? We discuss the Darkly, Madly Duology by Trisha Wolfe, a dark romance with 2 serial killer main character antagonists.

  • Stay Un-Alive (Antagonist April #3)

    Apr 27, 2022

    Readers weigh in on killers in romance novels (AKA people who un-alive other people) and I challenge myself to see if the distasteful elements in the Darkly, Madly duology (discussed next episode!) showed up in less-egregious ways in texts I did enjoy. Also, more thoughts on power, gender roles, and the desire to conquer a protector.

  • Because I Love Her, Had to Killer (Antagonist April #2, Manacled with Fangirl Jeanne)

    Apr 7, 2022

    Antagonist April: discussing killers in romance. Fangirl Jeanne is back to continue our discussion of Manacled, a dark romance fan fiction story. What is the appeal of enemies to lovers? How do readers wrestle with justification for killing in romantic stories, and how does Manacled explore a romantic relationship, not just a romantic fantasy for an individual? How does creating within communal systems, as opposed to capitalist ones, enable different kinds of stories? This is part 2 of 2 discussing Manacled. Check out episode 116 for part 1. **Content Warnings:** the text we discuss is a dark romance fanfiction and we discuss how the text handles rape, war, violence, and genocide.

  • Killing Them Swiftly, With His Wand (Antagonist April #1, Manacled with Fangirl Jeanne)

    Apr 7, 2022

    Antagonist April: discussing killers in romance. Manacled by SenLinYu is a wildly popular dark romance fanfic with Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger, that remixes alternate universe Harry Potter with Handmaid’s Tale. Fangirl Jeanne joins me to discuss how war is hell, what it means to be a killer in a world where there are fates worse than death, and the appeal of the murderous antagonist hero. What does it help us understand about conceptions of masculinity and emotions as well as feminine desirability within patriarchy? This is part 1 of 2 discussing Manacled. Check out episode 117 - out now - for part 2. Content Warnings: the text we discuss is a dark romance fanfiction and we discuss how the text handles rape, war, violence, and genocide.

  • What Books Do, Empirically Speaking with Dr. Andrew Piper

    Mar 30, 2022

    Data scientist Dr. Andrew Piper joins Shelf Love to share how data science can help the romance community answer the big questions that close reading can’t answer. Andrew’s the director of McGill University’s .txtlab, a laboratory that uses machine learning to ask questions like why do people enjoy the work they love? And once we empirically quantify what’s going on here, he asks us to think about what we’d like to do about it.

  • Swan Song: If You're Listening to This In the Future, We'll Be Dead

    Mar 22, 2022

    Swan Song (2021) is a movie that forces us to confront the "After" part of Happily Ever After. Shelf Love's Sad Media Correspondent, Dame Jodie Slaughter, is here to discuss lax security at cloning facilities, the ethics of cloning, the aesthetics of the future: pretty much anything that allows us to avoid the banal truth about our own mortality. Content Note: discussion of death and mortality.

  • The Fated Sex Mates to Perfectly Matched Spectrum

    Mar 16, 2022

    Do our fated lovers smell like ambrosia because of the cosmic love connection? How do romance novels use language to convey romantic love? I propose a spectrum that ranges from "fated sex mates" to "perfectly matched" using examples from 4 romance novels (not all of them recommended).

  • Time Travel Romance: A Fantasy Escape to a Glorious Space

    Mar 8, 2022

    Have you ever wished you could just escape the anxieties and mundanity of modern life by traveling back to Qing Dynasty China? How does time travel romance create a simulacra of a “glorious and wealthy feudal past” that allows audiences to “effortlessly become a love interest and an admired woman through the male gaze shaped by multiple admirers”? Guest: Dr. Huike Wen is a professor teaching media studies and global cultural studies at Willamette University, and is the author of Romance in Post-Socialist Chinese Television. We discuss a chapter on time travel romance that discusses two 2011 Chinese TV dramas: Startling By Each Step and Palace.