First, there’s a lot of terrible stuff going on around the world as far as natural disasters. There’s floods and mudslides and all sorts of horrible things. I have heard from a few readers that Australia, Queensland specifically, faces a horrible cleanup after torrential rains caused widespread flooding. Local papers are reporting that donations have dried up (I presume the pun is intended there), and residents are finally able to go try to salvage their homes and businesses. The Romance Writers of Australia are hosting a book drive to help replenish libraries, schools and community center book collections – as usual, romance community steps up.
Wherever you are, I hope you’re safe, your family is safe, and you’re reading a good book that’s not flood damaged or mud-splattered.
(And yes, the image is a bit of a nonsequitur, but I found it while searching for images of Australia, and had to link – it looks adorable and I totally ordered it.)
Rather than making things clearer, e-readers and computers prevent us from absorbing information because their crisp screens and fonts tell our subconscious that the words they convey are not important, it is claimed.
In contrast, handwriting and fonts that are more challenging to read signal to the brain that the content of the message is important and worth remembering, experts say….
Researchers [at Princeton University] asked 28 participants aged 18 to 40 to learn a set of facts about three fictional species of alien, which were written in different fonts.
Those who read the facts in the easy-to-read Arial pure black font retained 14 per cent less information than those who were given text written in the less clear Comic Sans MS and Bodoni MT.
No word on whether ebooks will now be issued in Comic Sans (please, no).
I find this curious because I wonder how much of it depends on how an individual learns, and how that individual prefers to learn and imprint information. For example, in order to study, I used to have to write down the pertinent facts I needed for a test and learned best by both writing down and reading in my own writing the text I needed. Part of it was reading it in my own writing and part of it was the process of writing it down. I am going to have to think about whether I recall better things I’ve read on paper vs. e-ink, or if they’re equal in measure compared to things I’ve written myself. (No comments on the relative egotism of my learning method. I’m well aware!)
The lovely folks at Jezebel (hi ladies!) AND Photoshop Disasters are taking a critical look at the cover for Nora Roberts’ Happy Ever After, wondering what’s up with the bride’s hand. Now, I think that which they are alleging is a thumb upside down is an awkwardly-braced pinky finger, but the commenter at Jezebel who points out the extremely false-smooth skin tones and the drop-shadow on the bouquet (which doesn’t cast a shadow on the bride’s arm at ALL) may be on to something there. What do you think? Photoshoppery? Dost thou give a hoot? (Thanks to Erin for the link).
And finally, over at Yon Kirkus Reviews, I’m examining what makes a hero alpha, and what qualities create an alpha male hero. It’s a perennial question in romance discussions, particularly as the definition of alpha changes slightly.
It used to be that romance was populated with alphas who were really assholes—autocratic chest-pounders with a tendency toward rape or at the least forced seduction. Alphole heroes still show up every now and again, usually as someone who is too assertive without any humility or honor—they’re not really dominant. They’re really just assholes. Alphole heroes are among my least favorite.
But now, readers are more likely to read about Alpha males with strong moral integrity, a hidden tenderness or the ability to be lethal while consistently choosing not to be—those make for some delicious heroes. Alpha heroes could be anything. They could be the alpha of a wolf pack, a literal alpha. They could be commanders or military officers or police chiefs. They could be lords or, depending on the mythology or theology of the romance in question, The Lord. (Heh—God, the Ultimate Alpha Male, particularly in the Old Testament.)
So, which alpha males rock your world, and why? What are the characteristics of an alpha male hero that you most enjoy?