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Posts tagged: romance

At The Gutter: “And They Call It Puppy Love”

Chris looks at pets in romance novels:

I own several shares of a cat.

It’s not a weird as it sounds. A friend with a cat travels travels a lot, so the kitty spends a fair amount of time with me. She’s spending this week with me in fact, while her owner is off swimming, running, and cycling hundreds of kilometres at a triathlon training camp. Voluntarily. The cat and I are occupied with much more civilized pursuits, like synchronized napping.

There’s nothing quite like the pleasure of falling asleep with purring cat by your side (and I say that as a person who is extremely allergic). But then, there’s nothing quite like the pleasure of a dog, either. Aside from the walks, and the fetching, and the sweet, sweet, eyes, a dog loves more than anything else on earth. What’s not to like about a creature so overjoyed to see you when you come out of the bathroom it’s like you’ve come back from the dead?

So this seems like a good week to look at Romances with pets in them. Narratively speaking, pets are a smart device: they’re a great way to demonstrate character (for good or bad). But some people write pets better than others, and I thought we might take a look at a few of those.

Image: Henri Matisse, “Girl with A Black Cat” (1910) via "A Survey of Cats across the Centuries."

Retrospective: Vive Le Gutter!

Retrospective: Vive Le Gutter!

jim munroe thumbThe Cultural Gutter turned ten in May, 2013 and we didn’t make much of a fuss about it. But ten years ago this week, Jim Munroe posted the manifesto that’s guided The Cultural Gutter, even as each subsequent editor has joined the Gutter and added their take on our mission. We thought this would be a good time to celebrate our mission and republish it. (And congratulations to our friends at the…

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At The Gutter: The Turn Of The Tale

Romance Editor Chris shares some of her favorite fairy tale retellings.

When it comes to fairy tales, I’m no purist. I love re-tellings, revisions, old favourites made new and strange. That, I think, is what I liked best about Frozen: it took the bare idea of the Snow Queen and told a completely different story, albeit one in which we can vaguely recognize the original. And that reminded me of some of my favourite fairy tale retellings… and how  so many of them are love stories.

Image, “Beauty and the Beast” by Walter Crane. Via "Grimm Girls: Picturing the Princess."

At The Gutter: You’ve Got A Friend

Romance Editor Chris writes about friendship in stories:

We move through out lives making connections at work, at home, at play. Not all of those relationships are the kind to see you head off a cliff together rather than be parted, but they’re real nonetheless. I’m pretty sure Richard Florida has written at least one book about this.  But we don’t need statistics to know it’s true. Lifetime or situational; professional or personal: we live in an ever-changing network of ties ranging from adamantine to momentary.

In short, we have friends.

(cover from Kimi Ni Todoke #8, which Chris discusses in her piece.)

At The Gutter: These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

Romance Editor Chris shares some of her favorite books from 2013:

I always enjoy writing a ‘Best Of’ column, and this year it’s particularly timely. Not only do I work in retail (which is category 5 insane right now) but my week also included a bicycle accident and a broken water main. Frankly, I needed some happy time. It did me good to think about and/or  re-read the books I liked best this year.  Here are a few of them.

RIP, Ida PollockAuthor Ida Pollock has died. Writing under multiple noms de plume, Pollock published 120 books and…View Post

RIP, Ida Pollock

Author Ida Pollock has died. Writing under multiple noms de plume, Pollock published 120 books and…

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"Fifty Shades Generator"“The Fifty Shades Generatoris a breakthrough in erotic fiction. At the click of a button, it…View Post

"Fifty Shades Generator"

“The Fifty Shades Generatoris a breakthrough in erotic fiction. At the click of a button, it…

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At The Gutter: All Alone In The Moonlight

Romance Editor Chris thinks about story and memory at the Gutter this week.

Recently I moderated a panel discussion on CanLit and the SF/F genre and it got me to thinking.  Specifically, it got me thinking about memory. And that’s because if there’s one thing modern Canadian literature is full of, it’s memory. Years ago (a decade, mebbbe?)  an industry journal published a chart detailing the subjects of that season’s big-bet books.  It was a tongue-in-cheek piece, but it turned out that some ridiculously high percentage of the ‘must read’ novels were all about memory.  Ha, it’s funny ’cause it’s true! Next to identity, memory is one of the themes that helps define a distinct Canadian Literature.

Here’s the thing, though: that’s not just true for CanLit.  All stories are about memory.

Painting: “Memory or the Heart,” Frida Kahlo (1937)

At The Gutter: Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

Romance Editor Chris explores the charms of winter:

This week, I thought I saw the first snow of the season. Turns out it was actually sleet, which is kind of like snow’s annoying idiot cousin. But I got excited anyway, because the thing is…

I love winter.

Don’t get me wrong: that doesn’t mean I don’t love fall and spring too. Bright green things unfurling; leaves flaming against a crackling sky – both are wonderful. Spring and fall are energizing and beautiful. Summer… eh, not so much. The heat’s nice, but the humidity can go back to hell at its earliest convenience. I like to do things in the summer, but the season itself is on the bottom of my list.

Winter’s on the top.

At The Gutter: Thieves to the Left of Me, Killers to the Right

Romance Editor Chris takes a look at the bad boys of romance—“I’m talking about the seriously bad. The criminal.”

That’s a tough character choice.  The writer has to make someone who already has already demonstrated that he has no respect for the law and by extension, public welfare, into the hero.  That’s hard going. Thing is, when it works, it works really REALLY well.

Image via Existential Ennui