Monday, June 21, 2010

Men Read !?!?!

I do not know why this should surprise me.

All of my favorite authors are men.
And in order for them to write, they had to read, yes?
And have a love for reading, yes?

Yet for some reason, throughout most of my life, I struggled to find proof that men actually read. For fun. Without anyone forcing it on them. Because they wanted to. Because they enjoyed getting lost in the story.

I grew up around male non-readers. My father didn't read anything that wasn't printed on a page of the newspaper. My brother, at a young age, liked to have stories read to him, but did not want to read on his own. None of my boyfriends were readers, either. What a shame, that. I find men who read terribly sexy!!

My husband, god love him, when we first started dating, used to read Dungeons and Dragons novels. You know, those serial novels that came out (and still come out) by the millions - featuring dark elves, and dwarves, and trolls, and clerics? While I scoff at the subject matter, at least he was reading! Somewhere between there and here, he lost his taste for books, and doesn't seem to want it back.

So, I was determined to make readers out of my sons.

My oldest went along with it for quite awhile. We would read together every night, discussing what we had read, and how we visualized the characters and the landscapes that were described within the books. When I took him to the bookstore, he would come home with an armful of books he chose for himself. I should have known it was too good to be true.

I think it was about two years ago, as he approached his 10th birthday, when I began to notice that, while he was still asking me to buy him books, he wasn't exactly reading them anymore. I would ask him to grab the story we were in the middle of, and he would sigh, and say how he didn't want to read it anymore, didn't find it interesting, wanted to give reading a rest. Quite a few books were left half-read, with the bookmarks still holding our page. Or, I ended up reading it on my own to see how it ended.

I even tried to bribe him with money! 5 bucks for a book read cover to cover if he gave me a verbal report on it when he was done. 5 bucks to describe what the book was about, what he liked about it, and what he didn't. But he wouldn't bite.

My youngest son.. he is my last hope. He took to books as a baby, sitting in my lap, asking to have them read to him. As he learned to read, we went out and bought books that he could handle on his own. He will sometimes sit on the couch next to me as I read my current novel, with a pile of books, and read silently to himself. At the age of 7, he still enjoys bedtime stories.

How I long to be married to a man who will sit in bed beside me, reading a book. How badly I wish my 12 year old would beg to borrow my books when I finished them.

Until that happens, I will just have to content myself by reading enough books for all of them!

Perhaps this blog post would help? It's from Art of and it lists the 100 Must Read Books for Men - I love it just for it's gorgeous retro photos. Not to mention they list some excellent novels in there! Sure, the post is 2 years old, but these are books that will never go out of style!


  1. I read somewhere (wish I could remember where!) that men read about as much as women, but read different things. Generally men read more magazines and history, and women read more fiction.

    Maybe you could get one of the men in your life interested in history books? Just a thought. Of course what works for the average guy might not work for yours!

  2. Hi Mollie. Thanks for the feedback. God do I hate history! Did you check out that blog list I linked in the post? It has tons of Teddy Roosevelt books in it... wonder why he is so popular, out of all the presidents...??

  3. My father-in-law is the only man I know outside of my literature classes who reads a ton--and he reads mass paperback spy/thriller novels. My husband isn't a big reader, but once he found books he likes (WWII nonfiction), he does read a few books a year. So I agree with Mollie T.--they may not always read the great literature we wish they would, but men and boys will read if they are interested in the subject.

  4. Hey Emilee. I would be ok with Spy thrillers :)
    And I agree, anything is better than not reading at all. I continue to try to find things that interest them... maybe one day I will hit the jackpot!

  5. Hey Lori! I love this post. My dad's an English professor and my brother and I majored it so I haven't quite had this problem. However, I understand what you mean. And so many bloggers are female!

  6. Liz, I did notice that it was mostly females who attended the Book Blogger Conference... Not only do we love to read, but we apparently love to talk about it more!!

  7. I also haven't dated a reader and it is sad! My grandfather and father both read a fair amount though which is bad for the boyfriends because now I expect it!

  8. Amy, it is sad, isn't it? At least you were surrounded by male readers, right!

  9. I was at karate once reading a book, and a man sat next to me who was also reading. I was a little surprised--I just don't see that every day. So I looked a little closer and (I know this is horrible) I figured he would be nerdy or geeky or something, but, no, this guy was hot! How many of these guys are out there?! I would say, "Where can I find one?", but I am happily married--to a guy who reads computer magazines and the internet.

  10. Shelley, that is too funny! "Where can I get one"?! I am happily married as well. To a hot guy who would rather play video games and watch the UFC than read... sigh.

  11. I'm around a lot of men who read actually. It's probably about the same ratio of male readers as female readers. My dad loves his old westerns, my uncle will read anything my aunt hands him (anything from biographies to Austen novels), and my husband likes historical fiction. At work, one man reads thrillers and I think all my other male co-workers read non-fiction. I really think it's just a matter of finding what they like. My husband didn't read much at all when I first met him (he picked up Robin Cook's medical thrillers occasionally), but I took a chance and got him The Alienist by Caleb Carr for our first Christmas and he loved it! Talk about getting lucky! ;)

  12. Wow Jen, I don't know what I would do be surrounded by so many male readers! I might've thought I'd died and gone to heaven!!