Friday, December 30, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/30/22) - Friday Happy Links!

Happy Friday! As is our wont, we're taking a break from the news for some happy links.

Ooh, I'll have to go see it: Currier Museum acquires rare 17th century painting by Dutch artist ‘lost to history’ (NHPR)

And some longer Friday reads:

I've already bought one from this list and am enjoying it! Best games of 2022 chosen by NPR (NPR)

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/29/22)

Today is Thursday and I am headed off to visit family for the long weekend!

UGH, I hate that he could force them into this: Jan. 6 Committee Withdraws Its Subpoena of Trump (NYT)

And some longer reads:

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/28/22)

I had to think about it for several moments while making the bed this morning, but today is Wednesday.

And some longer reads:

Giving you this a few days early so you can prepare: 9 Foods Meant to Bring You Good Luck in the New Year (The Takeout)

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/27/22)

Today is Tuesday! And I have to remember how to do my job.

In case you haven't been following this story, this is a Congressman-elect: George Santos Admits to Lying About College and Work History (NYT)

And some longer reads:

Monday, December 26, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/26/22)

Today is . . . Monday! Weirdly enough! And I just wanted to mention that I'm going to respect the Twelve Days of Christmas and scatter a few holiday links in for the next bit, if I see something I think is worth sharing.

Adam Schiff: My Fellow Members of the Jan. 6 Committee and I Don’t Want You to Forget About ‘the Republican Congressmen’ (NYT)

China stages big military incursion, Taiwan says (BBC)

Taliban stop women from working for aid organisations (The Guardian)

Rights Watchdog Says Failure To Investigate January Protest Abuses Leaves 'Damaging Legacy' For Kazakhstan (RFE)

More racists using people as props: Busloads of migrants dropped off near Kamala Harris's home on Christmas Eve (NPR)

This is TRULY INCREDIBLE, please read it: A Totally Normal Interview With Author Emily St. John Mandel (Slate)

N.H. is putting COVID wastewater data online, helping track virus’s spread (NHPR)

California Fast Food Workers Are Being Shortchanged Again (The Takeout)

Christmas cake: the traditional Sri Lankan treat uniting an island and its diaspora (The Guardian)

It’s a Wonderful Noir: Exploring the Seedy Underbelly of a Christmas Classic (CrimeReads)

And some longer reads:

The real life consequences of vaccine conspiracists demanding unvaccinated blood (Grid)

For Weinstein survivors, mixed verdict brings complicated feelings and hope for accountability (The 19th*)

Black Travelers Say Home-Share Hosts Discriminate, and a New Airbnb Report Agrees (NYT)

The Best Noir Fiction of 2022 (CrimeReads)

The Lights of Christmas 2022 (The Atlantic)

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/25/22)

Merry Christmas! We're sticking with the theme today. (And it's Sunday, to the best of my reckoning.)

‘It won’t be like before’: Christmas in Ukraine transformed by war (The Guardian)

At a holiday celebration in southern Ukraine, ‘kids still need miracles.’ (NYT)

US winter storm: Americans and Canadians face mass outages on Christmas Day (BBC)

Christmas preparations for traditional Mexican dishes begin at a Nashua butcher shop (NHPR)

So cute: Willow The Cat Celebrates First Christmas In Biden White House (HuffPost)

How a century-long Russian conspiracy hid that the beloved “Nutcracker” composer was gay (LGBTQ Nation)

Is this the future of Christmas trees? (Grid)

Charmaine Wilkerson’s ‘Black Cake’ Uses a Beloved Christmas Food to Reveal Untold Family Stories (Eater)

An Eggless Christmas (History Today)

This Family Gave the World the Snow Globe (Atlas Obscura)

And some longer festive reads:

Taking to the Woods With Maine’s ‘Tree Tippers’ (NYT)

Why Hot Wheels are one of the most inflation-proof toys in American history (NPR)

Jokes of Christmas Past: The History of Crackers… With Some Jokes Thrown In (History Hit)

Frankly I was not expecting so much Bobby Kennedy in this piece: How the Union Army’s Beloved Marching Song Became a French Christmas Favorite (Slate)

Chi-rho pages for Christmas (Medieval manuscripts blog)

Friday, December 23, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/23/22) - Friday Happy Links!

I hope everyone in the path of the storm is safe. Here are your Friday happy links!

And some longer Friday reads...

Some good inspiration here if you're doing any last-minute baking: A Cookie for Everyone (King Arthur)

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/22/22)

Today is Thursday and I have lots of baking and knitting to do!

Volodymyr Zelenskiy channels Churchill to briefly unite a polarised US Congress (The Guardian)

Coalition Deal Puts Netanyahu on Brink of Power in Israel (NYT)

Coronavirus: China's hospitals seem to be filling up - WHO (BBC)

American life expectancy is now at its lowest in nearly two decades (NPR)

Awful: City and state officials clear three Concord encampments, leaving dozens without shelter (NHPR)

Success of ‘slavery on the ballot’ measures could help incarcerated pregnant people of color (The 19th*)

US Postal Service fulfills top Biden climate goal with deployment of 66,000 electric delivery trucks (CNN)

Davante Lewis is the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to statewide office in Louisiana (LGBTQ Nation)

You’ve Got to Be Kidding! Real ID Deadline for Domestic Fliers Is Extended. Again. (NYT)

Oh NO. (Luckily it sounds like she didn't lose too much work.) Ann Cleeves loses laptop containing draft of new book in Shetland blizzard (The Guardian)

And some longer reads:

Why Germany and Japan are rebuilding their military power 8 decades after World War II (Grid)

A Tour Of Ukraine's Battle-Scarred Snake Island (RFE)

A Look Inside New York’s Swirling Kaleidoscope of Faiths (NYT)

The ‘Perpetual Broths’ That Simmer For Decades (Atlas Obscura)

The Best Crime Movies of 2022 (CrimeReads)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/21/22)

Today is Wednesday and I am on vacation to do ALL the Christmas prep! I have to go to the post office and grocery store. Remember me fondly.

Zelensky Will Meet With Biden in Washington and Address Congress, Officials Say (NYT)

House committee votes to make public Trump’s tax returns (WaPo)

Decoding every Jan. 6 committee criminal referral against Donald Trump (Grid)

Taliban ban Afghan women from university education (The Guardian)

UGH: U.S. Supreme Court extends border restrictions just before they were set to end (NPR)

And: Rwanda migrant plan is lawful, High Court rules (BBC)

Uhh … What’s Going to Happen to All That Money Sam Bankman-Fried Gave Politicians? (Slate)

Biden’s judicial nominations have set records for diversity, but dozens remain unconfirmed (The 19th*)

Korean War soldier who went missing identified, buried in Littleton (NHPR)

Long Covid: the patient who’s made an app to track symptoms (The Guardian)

And some longer reads:

An Alternate Reality: How Russia’s State TV Spins the Ukraine War (NYT)

Even after the FTX scandal, Washington is bamboozled over how to regulate crypto (Grid)

This is a really good list! 9 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Buy at CVS (The Takeout)

Thomas Paine on Popular Government in America: Evolution of a Radical's Thinking (JAR)

8 Mythology Books for Adults (Book Riot)

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/20/22)

Today is Tuesday and it's my last day of work before Christmas!

The Jan. 6 Committee Recommended Charges for Donald Trump. Now We Wait And See. (Slate)

In Capitol Attack, Over 900 People Have Been Criminally Charged (NYT)

Putin’s mission to Minsk raises fears he will drag Belarus into Ukraine war (The Guardian)

Irmgard Furchner: Nazi typist guilty of complicity in 10,500 murders (BBC)

Harvey Weinstein Convicted on Three Charges of Rape and Sexual Assault (Variety)

AGREED: New Hampshire is not entitled to hold the first primary (NH Bulletin)

LGBTQ discrimination is illegal in Colorado — but other states don’t have similar laws in place (Grid)

Actors’ Equity Members Approve New Three-Year Contract For Broadway, Sit-Down Productions (THR)

FTC fines Fortnite maker Epic Games $520M over children’s privacy and item shop charges (TechCrunch)

Ooh: ‘Oppenheimer’ Trailer: Destruction Looms In Christopher Nolan’s Atomic Bomb Pic Starring Cillian Murphy (Deadline)

And some longer reads:

A century and counting: Ukraine's ongoing fight to free itself from Russia (NPR)

Military Spending Surges, Creating New Boom for Arms Makers (NYT)

The Crunchy-to-Alt-Right Pipeline (The Atlantic)

A new museum and clinic will honor the enslaved “Mothers of Gynecology” (The 19th*)

The Best International Crime Fiction of 2022 (CrimeReads)

Monday, December 19, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/19/22)

Today is Monday, and it's the last work week before Christmas! Here's my weekly TV news roundup at The Televixen.

And some longer reads:

I haven't had time to read through all of this yet, but it's definitely on my list for today: Putin's War (NYT)

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/18/22)

Today is Sunday and somehow there is only ONE WEEK until Christmas?? Who allowed this???

Henry Kissinger Wrote a Peace Plan for Ukraine. It’s Ludicrous. (Slate)

In my more politically anxious moments, it IS comforting to know I could literally walk across the border to Vermont from my house. Ban on slavery and right to abortion officially added to Vermont Constitution (Vermont Public)

YOU DON'T SAY. (Also, this is a gift link - if you're not a subscriber it doesn't count against your article limit - so please read it!) Transgender Americans Feel Under Siege as Political Vitriol Rises (NYT)

This is delightful, if you're still shopping: The CrimeReads 2022 Holiday Gift Guide (CrimeReads)

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/17/22)

Today is Saturday and it's still snowing!

And some longer reads:

This is truly terrifying. This is how genocide starts. Texas attorney general’s office sought state data on transgender Texans (WaPo)

I can't stop thinking about this extremely wild story: I Think I Found Kyrsten Sinema’s Side Hustle (Slate)

For your planning purposes: The 22 Most Popular Holiday Appetizers (Half-Baked Harvest)

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/14/22)

Today is Wednesday and my dad's birthday! Yesterday he (mostly) cheerfully spent his day driving me to a medical appointment across the state, waiting, and driving me home. ("Mostly" because we hit some completely ridiculous traffic and neither of us were cheerful.) Happy birthday, Dad!

And some longer reads:

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/13/22)

Good morning! Today is Tuesday!

Ukrainian forces damage key bridge near Melitopol, reports say (The Guardian)

India and China troops clash on Arunachal Pradesh mountain border (BBC)

I see: Marjorie Taylor Greene Says Jan. 6 Insurrection Should Have Been Armed (Slate)

Bankman-Fried, disgraced former CEO of FTX crypto exchange, arrested in Bahamas (NPR)

The cheapest World Cup seats cost more than a week of wages for the migrant workers who built them (Grid)

Karen Bass’s First Act as L.A.’s Mayor: Declaring Homelessness an Emergency (NYT)

In the wake of the Colorado Springs shooting, two LGBTQ+ lawmakers talk policy priorities (The 19th*)

Go Deb!! (Don't worry, I know her, I'm not just being overly familiar.) Head of N.H. teachers’ union sues top education official over Education Freedom Accounts (NHPR)

That's great: Nielsen-Owned Gracenote to Track Disability Representation on TV (Variety)

This is fun: What is the sound of Facebook’s value crashing? Noisycharts turns news into noise (The Guardian)

And some longer reads:

A Putin nuclear strike on Ukraine? A Chinese attack against Taiwan? How the US prepares for global nightmares. (Grid)

She Wrote the Memo That Helped Take Down Harvey Weinstein. She’s Finally Ready to Talk. (THR)

Big Oil Companies Are Selling Their Wells. Some Worry Taxpayers Will Pay to Clean Them Up. (ProPublica)

The Columbus Clippers Made Public Sports Ownership Work. Can Anyone Else? (Defector)

Martin Edwards On E. C. R. Lorac's Delightful Whodunit, These Names Make Clues (CrimeReads)

Monday, December 12, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/12/22)

Today is Monday and my mom's birthday! Happy birthday, Mom! And here's my weekly TV news roundup at The Televixen.

And some longer reads:

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/11/22)

Happy Sunday! Clearly I need to actually get in the routine of posting the link to this on social media like I said I would, because yesterday I just . . . didn't. So if you missed it and would like to peek at yesterday's links, head this way! 

Ukrainian strike hits Russian barracks in occupied Melitopol (The Guardian)

In her first election as a U.S. citizen, this Michigan lawyer got to vote on a measure she co-wrote (The 19th*)

Where the midterms haven’t ended yet (Grid)

Active shooter threats at N.H. schools appear to be a hoax, according to state officials (NHPR)

Kansas oil spill is Keystone pipeline's biggest ever, according to federal data (NPR)

Same-sex households in the U.S. surpass 1 million for the first time, data shows (NBC News)

Wow: Base editing: Revolutionary therapy clears girl's incurable cancer (BBC)

Olive Oil Never Needed a Rebrand — But It’s Getting One Anyway (Eater)

What It’s Like to Use an Arranged Marriage App (Slate)

‘It’s as if we found oil’: Tuscan town savours discovery of spa trove (The Guardian)

And some longer reads:

Putin’s propagandists have a new message about Ukraine: If we don’t win, we’ll all be tried for war crimes (Grid)

Sherrilyn Ifill: When Oral Arguments Matter (NYRB)

What’s stopping more Native Americans from graduating college? The cost, a landmark study finds. (The 19th*)

Insensible Loss (Guernica)

How Dice Helped Me Tame My TBR (Book Riot)

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/10/22)

Happy Saturday! Let's get back to the news. There's . . . a lot of it.

First of all, I AM SO RELIEVED. Brittney Griner Is Home in Texas, Here’s What’s Next (Autostraddle)

Phew. Not perfect, but an important step for us: House passes bill to protect same-sex marriage, sending it to Biden's desk (NBC News)

In, uh, less good queer political news, she's been such a fucking disappointment from the start: Sinema leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent (CNN)

Friday, December 9, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/9/22) - Friday Happy Links!

Happy Friday! For anyone new around here, on Fridays we take a break from the news and have a set of fun/happy links. Though today I must take a moment first and say I'm SO HAPPY ABOUT BRITTNEY GRINER'S RELEASE, which broke about two minutes too late to get into yesterday's links. We'll have a story about that when regular links return tomorrow, of course. On to your usual Friday programming!

Congratulations, Mayor Smith! Jaylen Smith: Arkansas elects youngest black mayor in US (BBC)

The first few eps came out yesterday! Harry & Meghan Doc Sets Release Date at Netflix — Plus, Watch a New Trailer (TVLine)

No snowflakes are the same. These stunning close-up photos are proof. (WaPo)

SO EXCITED: ‘Happy Valley’ Season 3 Teaser Hints at Fresh Drama for Sarah Lancashire (VIDEO) (TV Insider)

Fave Five: New Queer Holiday Romances (LGBTQ Reads)

DAISY JONES & THE SIX: Prime Video Sets March Debut, Releases First Photos (GMMR)

Frankly I should not have even let myself look at this. DANGER. Fug Nation Loves Tartan (And Plaid)! (GFY)

If Books Were Drinks, These Would Be Hot Toddies (NYT)

The Best Holiday Cocktails, According to Eater Editors (Eater)

Ooh, I need to try these: Crispy Cheesy Sweet Potato Bites (Half-Baked Harvest)

And some longer Friday reads...

Come for the foodie nostalgia, stay for the amazing John Lennon anecdote. (I have my mom's copy on my cookbook shelf right behind me!) ‘The Silver Palate Cookbook’ Changed Home Cooking (and Pesto Consumption) As We Know It (Eater)

The Best Crime Novels of 2022 (NYT)

Larkin in Latin (Antigone)

This is an amazing resource: The Ultimate List of Sapphic Holiday Romances (Jae)

A Roundtable Discussion on Christmas Mysteries (CrimeReads)

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/8/22)

Good morning! Today is Thursday. You may notice that I have no links going to the New York Times today, which is fairly rare. It's because their union has requested that readers stand with their 24-hour work stoppage (this past midnight to this coming midnight). For more information on what's going on, just click the first link below. (Also I forgot to find a non-NYT link for this but Aaron Judge!!)

The New York Times is bracing for a historic mass walkout as union negotiations go down to the wire (CNN)

‘It has been machine guns lately’: fighting intensifies in southern Kherson (The Guardian)

I clearly have not been paying enough attention to non-Russia and China international events because this coup attempt felt like it came out of nowhere (TO ME, I mean): Pedro Castillo: Peru's ousted president detained by police in Lima (BBC)

Nancy Pelosi: I’m proud to protect marriage as one of my last acts as speaker (WaPo)

Related: Why 12 Senate Republicans broke from their party to support a same-sex marriage bill (Grid)

Deeply divided New Hampshire House comes together (NHPR)

Good! Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani is sentenced to nearly 13 years for his role in Theranos fraud (NPR)

‘Expressive times’: Publishing industry an open book in 2022 (AP)

Uber Eats and Chicago Reach $10 Million Settlement Over Deceptive Practices (Eater)

Aww: Last surviving Dambuster, ‘Johnny’ Johnson, dies aged 101 (The Guardian)

And some longer reads:

Dispatch from Kherson: Inside Ukraine’s battle to win the infrastructure war (Grid)

China just announced a new social credit law. Here’s what it means. (MIT Technology Review)

Centering the Voices of Victims and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (Sapiens)

That Cardboard Box in Your Home Is Fueling Election Denial (ProPublica)

Reviving the Restoration: How I Choose Locations for My Historical Thrillers (CrimeReads)

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/7/22)

Today is Wednesday and we're starting with TWO pieces of good news. Wild.

Trump’s Company Is Guilty of Tax Fraud, a Blow to the Firm and the Man (NYT)

Warnock beats Walker in Ga. runoff, growing Democrats’ Senate majority (WaPo)

You know it's bad if the CDC is actually saying the word "mask:" CDC encourages people to wear masks to help prevent spread of Covid, flu and RSV over the holidays (CNBC)

Wow: China announces a roll-back of its strict anti-COVID-19 measures (NPR)

Germany Arrests Dozens Suspected of Planning to Overthrow Government (NYT)

The Frightening Implications of Gorsuch’s Angry Questions About State “Reeducation” (Slate)

Emergency shelters gear up for winter as N.H.’s housing crisis continues (NHPR)

Union-busting is bad!! HarperCollins Adds ‘Christmas’ to Jewish Book Title Without Author’s Consent (The Mary Sue)

Good for him, and this is a really good statement, I recommend you click through and read it: Neal Bledsoe Steps Away From Great American Family: ‘My Support for the LGBTQIA+ Community Is Unconditional’ (EXCLUSIVE) (Variety)

World faces ‘terminal’ loss of Arctic sea ice during summers, report warns (The Guardian)

And some longer reads:

The Crimea question: Why Ukraine’s final battle might be the Western alliance’s toughest test (Grid)

More Than Two Years After George Floyd’s Murder Sparked a Movement, Police Reform Has Stalled. What Happened? (ProPublica)

Ashkenazi Jews Have Become More Genetically Similar Over Time (NYT)

What Cargo Cult Rituals Reveal About Human Nature (Sapiens)

Dracula vs. the FBI (CrimeReads)

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

How to get posts by email

Unfortunately, Blogger has taken away their feature that allowed for email subscriptions to blogs. I'm still looking at alternatives for a more newsletter style email, but for now, you can get free email notifications when I post via Blogtrottr. It's very easy and you don't need to create an account with them or anything, and they should email you within about an hour of each post.


1. Go to Blogtrottr.

2. Under Getting Started, you'll see a box to enter the URL of the feed. Enter this link there:

3. Enter your email address in the next box and click the Feed Me button.

4. Check your email - they will send you a confirmation email and you just need to click the link in that to confirm your subscription.

And that's it! It's quite easy but let me know if you run into any issues.

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/6/22)

Good morning! I'd moved my daily curated links to a newsletter for a few years, but the service I was using has changed their business model, so I'm back here, at least for now and we'll see how it goes. You can find the new posts via RSS feed/reader or just by going to the front page of this site every morning. I am hoping to get something set up today that will allow the option of email notifications, too - stay tuned. And please let me know if anything in the formatting etc. seems off as I settle in here.

Appeals court halts special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago in major defeat for Trump (CNN)

And some longer reads...

Laws that keep people from voting are bad!! Turnout Was Strong in Georgia, but Mail Voting Plummets After New Law (NYT)

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Book Review: A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang

A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang
Adult historical mystery
July 2018

October, 1924. When the newest member of Eric Peterkin's London club is found stabbed to death in the vault below the club building, Eric throws himself into a quest for the truth. Treading a maze of missing nurses, morphine addiction, and shell shock, Eric soon finds that though the Great War may be over, its shadows still linger; and sometimes, they fester....

I picked this one up because I heard this interview with the author on my favorite podcast, Shedunnit, and what he said about growing up in Singapore as a British Golden Age mystery fan was really interesting. As he discusses in that episode, part of his intention in writing this Eric Peterkin series (I hope it will be a series!) is to put characters who look like him into his favorite genre of books. Eric has a white British father and Chinese immigrant mother, and Huang does a good job of showing how racism affects both Eric's life and that of his sister (as she faces different stereotypes about Asian women and therefore some different dangers than he does as a man), as well as the ways Asian characters are portrayed in the crime novels and films of the time. I love seeing a wider variety of diverse characters in historical fiction, especially when it's done so thoughtfully and deliberately.

The mystery itself here is well-plotted with a good sense of fair play - I was very proud of myself for picking up on certain clues disguised as throwaway bits of dialogue. Huang's descriptions of the world of his characters and the minutiae of their daily lives are a particular strength, as is the way he illustrates the myriad ways World War I changed society in general and individuals in particular, especially in regards to shell shock and the mental health of veterans. That said, my one quibble was with the way addiction was treated - it's generally shown correctly as a disease that here is often a result of the war, either directly (wounded soldiers given morphine) or indirectly (self-medicating because of unaddressed PTSD), but then at certain points it's treated as a vice or moral failing. It's realistic for certain characters to think or talk of it that way, of course, but this odd dichotomy continues in the author's note and I'd have liked it to make clear that this was an incorrect and outdated view.

Overall, though, this is definitely worth a read for Golden Age mystery fans, and I will definitely give Huang's next book a try!

Author's Site | Amazon | Bookshop

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Book Review: The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann

The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann
Adult queer contemporary romance
Berkley Romance/Penguin Random House
April 12, 2022

Thirty, flirty, and asexual Joy is secretly in love with her best friend Malcolm, but she’s never been brave enough to say so. When he unexpectedly announces that he’s met the love of his life—and no, it’s not Joy—she’s heartbroken. Malcolm invites her on a weekend getaway, and Joy decides it’s her last chance to show him exactly what he’s overlooking. But maybe Joy is the one missing something…or someone…and his name is Fox.

Fox sees a kindred spirit in Joy—and decides to help her. He proposes they pretend to fall for each other on the weekend trip to make Malcolm jealous. But spending time with Fox shows Joy what it’s like to not be the third wheel, and there’s no mistaking the way he makes her feel. Could Fox be the romantic partner she’s always deserved?

As an ace spec (asexual spectrum) person who loves romance novels, I read and enjoy plenty of books about allosexual people, and that's always just been the norm - I like sex scenes as long as they seem specific to the characters (not true of all aces, to be clear), and just get kinda bored when they read like just descriptions of what's happening for the sake of it, sometimes roll my eyes a bit when the characters are going on about how sexy the other lead is, especially when it's very focused on specific physical attributes. But mostly it's like dragons or spaceships or all the other things I like fine in books without needing them to exist in my own life. But even though it doesn't bother me in other books, the lack of focus on sexual attraction as the relationship in The Romantic Agenda progressed was so striking, and sort of . . . refreshing? Like "oh yeah, I don't necessarily HAVE to read a bunch of stuff I don't relate to in order to read a love story." (Honestly that sounds too negative about other books but I'm not sure how else to put it. I love other romances too! Obviously!) It was just . . . nice to get that for once, and I got surprisingly emotional about it. News flash: Representation matters.

If the above paragraph made you think "Wait, what are you talking about?" then good news: Kann weaves some great explanations around asexuality (and a few different kinds of ace experiences) into this book without seeming preachy, so I'd definitely recommend it to people who'd like to learn more.

And in addition to all that, The Romantic Agenda included a bunch of things I love in romances, including fake dating (one of the best tropes!!), social media stardom, baking, and really great conversations between the leads. I also liked that it didn't have a Big Bad Thing happen that needed to be resolved at the very end - those can work in romances but I often prefer romances that just . . . skip it. People can work through their feelings and issues and have plenty of plot without a giant misunderstanding or breakup or other relationship crisis.

Kann's writing is funny and keeps things moving while not shying away from serious topics and real introspection, and her characterizations are so vivid and feel like real people with real dreams and problems and occasionally annoying traits. I really enjoyed her YA novel Let's Talk About Love as well, and I will definitely be reading more of her books.

Author's Site | Amazon | Bookshop