076. Generous Curiosity - Strange Love by Ann Aguirre with Whoa!mance

Jan 16, 2021

An alien abduction romance with a delightfully unexpected exploration of sexual pleasure. Morgan and Isabeau from Whoa!mance join me to discuss how Strange Love by Ann Aguirre unpacks cultural scripts and encourages generous curiosity. Also: the origin story of the Whoa!mance intro sigh.


075. Jennifer Crusie: Nothing But Good Times Ahead

Jan 2, 2021

Jennifer Crusie drops in to talk about Dove Bars, dogs, normative ideals of white middle class baby boomer womanhood, divorce, unconditional love, RWA, and all the good times ahead we've been wondering about.


074. Ma'am, this is Problematic: The Secular Scripture pt 2 with Dr. Angela Toscano

Dec 26, 2020

How identity must evolve in romance, the possibility inherent to the romance, and how we can have more critical conversations about problematic things in romance without demanding its eradication - because let's be honest, everything is problematic. Dr. Angela Toscano returns to continue our discussion of The Secular Scripture by Northrop Frye and how it's an urtext for understanding the romance genre. You'll definitely want to go listen to part 1, which is episode 73, before listening to this one


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.