I have a bunch of different links that might be relevant to your interest, or candy for your brain cells, or both!
First, I must admit to perhaps being wrong. Very wrong. Epic wrong, if this study is to be believed. I've mocked the entire idea of characters “seeing emotions in his eyes” like flashes of anger or glints of arousal or a fleeting speck of indegestion. I think – well, thought, but still think because I am not 100% convinced, that the entire motif of emotions-in-eyes is ridiculous.
But I'm prepared to be wrong: thanks to this link from Jonathan Allen, it seems a study has revealed a special skill in romance readers.
The researchers gauged what kind of books participants had been exposed to most by showing them a list of names, and asking them to identify which they recognized as authors. The genres included were domestic fiction, romance, sci-fi/fantasy and suspense/thriller. Some of the other names were nonfiction authors, and some were made up.
Then they tested subjects’ interpersonal sensitivity by showing them black and white photos of actors’ eyes, and having them identify which of four possible mental states the actor was portraying. Subjects also took a personality survey, so the researchers could account for any differences in sensitivity resulting from personality, not reading material.
Results: As expected, fiction readers showed more interpersonal sensitivity than nonfiction readers. (Though there wasn’t a negative relationship between reading nonfiction and sensitivity.) When the researchers looked at the genres specifically, controlling for other variables, they found that reading romance in particular correlated with higher sensitivity scores, which makes sense for fans of a genre built on the foundation of expressing emotion.
Stupid flashes of emotion. It seems I might be wrong about that. Dang it.
Have we talked about Des Hommes et Des Chatons? Hot men and similarly posed cats. It's like the internet was invented just for this.
If I've linked to this before, well, sorry. But you're welcome for the reminder!
A message for anyone who is into the academic scholarship in romance from An Goris:
On October 24 and 25 we'll be hosting a symposium on the figure of the individual author in the popular romance genre. While academic in nature, parts of the event are specifically aimed at a wider audience of romance readers as well as scholars.
In particular we have scheduled a keynote lecture by Jennifer Crusie and a roundtable discussion with Jenny and Mary Bly/Eloisa James amongst others on October 24 (5-7.30 PM) that we think readers will find interesting. This part of the event is free (with advance registration).
On October 25 we'll have a day filled with scholarly panels; these too are open to a general audience (though perhaps most of interest to academics).: Registration via the symposium website: www.princeton.edu/prcw
I'm flying to Arizona on the 25th, but I'm going to try to go to the evening events on the 24th. Are you going?
And now, some SCIENCE!
It looks like a giant bodice, but it's a comfortable rocking chair that doubles as a piece of art when not in use. This is, I suppose, better than the exercise equipment that stores effortlessly under your bed except it never actually does.
- Tea Drinkers! Prepare to rejoice! A foldable kettle that packs flat yet allows liquids to heat up to appropriate tea-drinking temperatures! Invented by Stanislav Sabo, the Novel teakettle is part of a design showcase and good gravy I hope it becomes available for everyone.
Objective Europa is a project to explore the possibility of sending a manned mission to one of Jupiter's moons – except that it would be a one-way mission with no hope of return. Sounds like a plot, doesn't it?
- All of these links are from Gizmag, which is one of my favorite newsletters – especially after I pruned my subscription list considerably. You can sign up from a small window at the bottom of the Gizmag main page if you're interested.
Finally, at Kirkus, I wrote reviews of some of the books I mentioned that I wanted to read while traveling.
A piece of my review of Big Girls Do it Better:
Here are three things to know about Big Girls Do It Better:
1. It's really short. It's a few scenes that bring Anna and Chase together, and then introduce a bigger conflict right at the end—which would prompt you to buy the next one to find out what happens. So, it's a serial of a sort.
2. The story deals with Anna's feelings about her size and her body very frankly, and it was so refreshing and powerful to see her negotiate her pride and shame, and how both show up and affect one another. She knows she's a—per the title—”big girl,” she knows she's overweight, and for the most part, she accepts her size. She's not moaning about a diet or trying to change herself all the time. The first scene involves pie at a diner, for example.
In the first book in the Weird Girls series, there is a LOT of silly humor to balance out the entrails. There's a lot less humor and a lot more entrails and anguish in this one, and so I didn't like it as much. It was the humor that hooked me in the first one, and it was much less present in this one, much to my disappointment.
So, what interesting things have you been reading online this week?