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In The New York Times Book Review, Robert Gottlieb looks at this season’s notable romance novels. Gottlieb writes:

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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. This formula reached its apogee in 1958 with Rona Jaffe’s “The Best of Everything,” whose publishing-house heroines find either (a) business success at the price of stunted love, (b) true love and wifey bliss, (c) death. But almost 60 years have gone by since the virgins of “The Best of Everything” hit the Big Apple, and real life has had its impact not only on modern romance but — as we shall see — on modern Romance.

On this week’s podcast, Gottlieb talks about new romance novels; Celeste Ng discusses her new novel, “Little Fires Everywhere”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles, Jennifer Szalai and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books mentioned in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

“My Life as a Russian Novel” by Emmanuel Carrère

“Undue Influence” by Anita Brookner

“An Odyssey” by Daniel Mendelsohn

“Leave It to Psmith” by P. G. Wodehouse

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Hitesh Lalwani

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