Shelf Love
  • 073. Structuring Romance: The Secular Scripture pt 1 with Dr. Angela Toscano

    Dec 19, 2020

    Dr. Angela Toscano, a romance scholar, writer, and researcher joins Shelf Love to discuss literary critic Northrop Frye's 1976 book The Secular Scripture: A study of the structure of romance. Although it's 44 years old and isn't only about romance novels, it has a lot to say that's relevant to the popular romance genre in the year 2020 - and Angela and I call on many examples from more recent books you may be familiar with as well as other examples from pop culture. For example, how is the structure of romance fundamentally different from that of literary, epic works? Why is "mere entertainment" so derided by the academy and what's wrong with the phony infinite? What's the difference between a maze with no plan and a maze, not without a plan? How does romance focus on the polarity between the idyllic world we want and the subterranean world we don't want, but not the life we have? And how does the dog always know? This is part 1 of our conversation. Part 2: out 12/26/20.

  • 072. I Just Have A Lot of Feelings

    Dec 12, 2020

    This episode is about feelings, and romance novels, and hope, and anger, and powerlessness, and the year 2020.

  • 071. Personal Favorite Romances from 2020 with The Swoonies

    Dec 5, 2020

    The Swoon Awards organizers drop in to share their exciting new romance award for readers. Ari, Amber, Lynell, and Nick were the perfect crew to join me to talk about favorite romances of the year and along the way we explain our own personal criteria for deciding what made the cut.

  • 070. Consensual Non-Monogamy in Romance Novels - Shelf Love x Monogamish

    Nov 28, 2020

    Jhen, host of the Monogamish Podcast, drops in to discuss consensual non-monogamy aka polyamory in popular romance. We discuss Harbor by Rebekah Weatherspoon and Neighborly by Katrina Jackson.

  • 069. Scarlett Peckham and the Problematic House Party

    Nov 21, 2020

    Scarlett Peckham, professional writer of alpha heroines, joins me to discuss her problematic favorite trope: house parties! Forced Proximity! Lunch hampers! Bed hopping! Both everything and nothing is riding on who marries whom! And of course, capitalism, imperialism, and labor exploitation. Womp womp - don't worry, they kiss at the end.

  • 068. Happily Ever Existential Dread

    Nov 14, 2020

    Guest: Dr. Danielle Knafo, a clinical psychologist who studies fantasy, perversion, sexuality, and gender. In this episode, we discuss questions like, is it harmful to start reading romance novels too young? Why might someone fantasize about things that are undesirable in real life? What's the deal with sadomasochism? Am I become a joyless hag who's sucking all the fun out of romance novels by trying to critically understand problematic faves? Is the Happily Ever After really just a way for us humans to deal with existential dread?

  • 067. Everyday Black Magic

    Oct 31, 2020

    Dr. Maria DeBlassie joins me to discuss three contemporary romance novels that explore everyday, practical magic with Black heroines: Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon, A Taste of Her Own Medicine by Tasha L. Harrison, and Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert. Maria shares her experience as a practitioner of Brujeria, and explains how everyone can manifest some everyday magic.

  • 066. African Diaspora Conjuring Practices in Popular Culture

    Oct 24, 2020

    Dr. Margarita Guillory, associate professor of religion at BU, shares her knowledge about the history of African diaspora conjuring practices, how they are and have been portrayed in popular culture, and how Black millennials and younger generations are practicing witchcraft digitally. Dr. Maria DeBlassie co-hosts. This conversation lays the groundwork for next episode, in which Maria and I build on what we learned from Margarita to discuss Black witches in contemporary romance.

  • 065. Glitter Pirates in Glitterland by Alexis Hall

    Oct 17, 2020

    Dr. Eric Selinger is back to discuss Glitterland by Alexis Hall and how it's basically a big old allegory for the romance genre. Eric and I speak authoritatively about books we've never read, and how Glitterland addresses mental health stigma. Visit Shelflovepodcast.com for show notes and transcript.

  • 064. Women in Pants: Unpacking Problematic Faves

    Oct 10, 2020

    John Jacobson, freelance editor at Carina Press, joins me to trouble the binaries as we unpack a problematic favorite trope: women in pants in historical romance novels.