Watch Idris Elba Read Erotic FanFiction About Himself: Critical Linking, September 28

Sponsored by Provenance by Ann Leckie.

There are few things more satisfying in the fraught world we live in than hearing the dulcet tones of Idris Elba, which is why this very excellent video of him reading erotic fan fiction is a veritable delight.

Well yes, let’s do more of this.

The hundreds of romance novels — perhaps thousands, if you include the self-published ones that constitute their own phenomenon — just published or due to appear in the next few months essentially fall into two categories. There are the Regency romances (descended from the superb Georgette Heyer, whose first one, “Regency Buck,” appeared in 1935). And there are the contemporary young-woman-finding-her-way stories that are the successors to the working-girl novels that for decades provided comfort and (mild) titillation to millions of young women who dreamed of marrying the boss.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a column about romance in the NYT written by a dude is extremely condescending.

I make a decision about what to review based on a number of factors: Is the book newsworthy? Is it a book that I think our readers should know about? Is it a novel that’s doing something new, or a nonfiction book that has an interesting argument? Is the author important? Then, of course, there are my own tastes — what’s exciting and enticing to me.

A look behind the curtain at the work life of Parul Seghal, the new Senior Editor of the New York Times Book Review.

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