Oct 29

business-man-commute

I am a hardcore reader. This has been true since I was a young boy sneaking through my mother’s novels, up until now where I fly through about two books a week. Reading has never been a bother; it has been a privilege.

When I first started to think about writing a book, I was going to make it an extension of the Hall, and expound upon a topic that I felt would be helpful to our young men. My aim was to write a book about confidence. I wanted to show boys how to attain it, through proven methods, and personal ones that have helped me through the years. When I got to about 30,000 words I began to do research on reader demographics, and what I found knocked the wind out of my sails. I put a stop to the book, which I felt would have been a tremendous waste of my time.

“Reading is still looked at as something only nerds do”

We don’t read, men; and because we don’t read, it makes us miss out on a lot of what is going on in the world. Blogs that aim towards tearing us down as a whole, strive, because the chance at counterpoints, arguments, and resistance is slim. The men that read those spaces try to push back, but the numbers needed to make an author rethink a point, or get dialogue going, is never there. Male presence on the internet is limited to 140 characters (we are strong on Twitter), themed forums, and lucky blogs like mine where my demographics show a 51% male readership compared to a 49% female (I love you all). What we are finding out about males reading however, is that it has to be video game related, political, or race-based, for us to skim the article (again, we don’t read).

Are novels a market for female readers?

In the world of fiction writing—which is where I went after stopping my help book—the most popular genres are romance (female readers), romance erotica (female readers), and paranormal romance (female readers). If you want a book about a handsome billionaire having his way with an eager, schoolteacher—looking to get her hypergamy on, there are countless versions of these that sell well. There is nothing wrong with these genres, but it is a clear indicator as to who buys, and reads books. How many of you men are romance readers? I will wait.

Men learn to hate reading at an early age

I think that reading parents influence reading children—boys too—but this is not always true. While I was forced to read at an early age—because mom has more books than Niles Crane—I did not get addicted to reading until Junior High, when I was messing around with “choose your own adventure” books. As a society we laugh at bad readers (remember the Floyd Mayweather fiasco) and it is something that starts in grade school. Reading isn’t encouraged by our peers, it is seen as “you should already know how to do it”, especially when it comes to public reading.

A 2010 report by the Center on Education Policy found that boys fall behind girls in an increasing gap when it comes to reading. It is well known that less boys finish school than girls do, but for even the educated few that make it out to avoid reading…that’s pretty daunting.

Since 2002, percentages proficient gaps in reading between boys and girls have narrowed in the majority (52%) of instances analyzed across the states with sufficient data and have widened in 40%of instances. But mean (average) test scores, which are a more useful indicator of gaps because they capture improvements across the achievement spectrum, present a less positive picture.Gaps inmean test scores have widened almost as often as they have narrowed—45% of instances compared with 46%. – State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08, Part 5 | CEP

Reading is still looked at as something only nerds do, which is funny, since every other aspect of being a nerd is embraced by popular society today. Everybody seems to want to be a nerd, until it comes time to innovate, or pick up a book.

Well, it’s been studied—and proven, and it’s now known that men don’t read, but as an outlier, I have to ask. Men, why do you hate reading so much? On the flipside, I will also like to know why my fellow male readers are into it. I have explained what got me started, but what keeps me going is that I also write—who writes and avoids reading? To get the emotion and the magic that comes from a book taking you away into the world of an author’s mind… there is no movie that can replicate that. This is why I love to read, but to hear that I am in the minority on that opinion; well, it is extremely disappointing.

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  • disqus_EwD9KO4mnr

    I love reading, but lately the issue I’ve had with books are the pace. It seems that a lot of writers are writing in the hopes their story gets bought and turned into a movie and the flow and narration reflects that. The second issue I have a lot of novels lately is that they are largely written for the female audience. I can’t blame writers for this since from what I’m hearing women are the largest demographic of readers. I can only read so many Jack Reacher and Chuck Palahniuk male lead books. I hope writers (such as Greg Dragon – you know I had to give props) continue creating strong male characters that guys relate to.

    • Thanks for the love! I will say this about the novels that are made for purchase – this is a new age of writing, and with ebooks and the renaissance of self publishing, a lot of people are seeing books as a get-rich scheme. This unfortunately hurts us all because there is no indicator of a book that is written out of love, passion, or drive to be read, versus one that is a cut, paste, and spin of whatever is popular. It’s very much like blogs now, you have to find writers that you enjoy, stick with them, and for new writers – make sure you scan the “look inside” and read their blurb, to make sure that you won’t be disappointed.

      I have never pandered to anyone with my articles here, and I don’t pander with what I write. So no worries on the brash alpha males that make it into my books, they will always be there.

  • JOhn Crawford

    When Borders was still in business I STAYED in there reading- Manga, Zane, Toni Morrison, Omar Tyree, and so on. Even Now I still read books, from Fantasy to Science Fiction, even online reading and what not. The New Jim Crow is what I’m working on at the moment. I’ve been a Book Worm and probably will be until I Die; I HATE E-Books but since I barely get to go to Barnes and Noble the limited books I do have will have to do

    • Thanks for your comment John. I truly believe that in time eBooks will get closer to their paperback grandfathers. Not sure if this is based on the vehicle (Kindle) changing to accommodate book lovers more, or books becoming individual digital slabs that we can file in shelves like we do paperbacks 🙂 . I still prefer the feeling of pages between my fingers and looking at the spine to see how far I am to completion, but I read a lot on eBooks too, especially on my phone.

  • Alex Dubois

    I started reading voraciously when I was still in elementary school. I would go to the school library and just walk out with 8-10 books and return them in a couple of days. I didn’t even bother checking them out since that was just too much trouble. Don’t worry, I had the teacher’s permission. That continued all through school. I was able to just get lost in other worlds, times and places. I read constantly all through my school years and well into my 30’s. However, with the arrival of the internet and my waning interest in fiction, I stopped with pleasure reading and began reading (and writing) with a purpose. I became more subject oriented rather than genre focused. Today I research topics on the Net and read 4-5 hours a day, day in and day out. Funny thing is I seldom read a book any longer, but do listen to them while driving. I would never have thought that I would have my rather extensive library in storage for more than 6 years and really not miss it. I do plan on starting again, once I get to my “final resting place” and have some more time. But by then I think I will be more into my writing phase, since I think that learning is important, but teaching is more so.

  • Andre Harris

    The Bell Hooks, Terry McMilians, Alice Walkers and the other misandric authors of the world are the reason I don’t read. Start making books that appeal to men and THIS man will start reading more.

    • Willy Donuts

      Good to see you gave someone that much power over you that prevents you from improving yourself.

  • Willy Donuts

    For me reading was an escape from an abusive childhood. My foster parents wouldnt let me play video games, or sports. I either sat and watched the news, or did chores. In school, I breezed past my class so they allowed me to volunteer in the library putting books in their proper place under the dewey decimal system. All afternoon I would read classics like Moby Dick, Edgar Allen Poe (The Masquerade, The Pit and The Pendulum), Huck Finn, Choose Your Adventure, Encyclopedia Brown and more to the point where I started reading Sweet Valley High and Babysitter’s Club in 4th and 5th grade.

    During the summer, I had to go to summer school, but in the afternoons I was allowed to go to the Public LIbrary which was a half mile away. I would spend all afternoon reading books on Egypt, Mythology, New Age books, anything and everything that peaked my interest.

    Now, from reading Im always learning. I dont read much fiction by choice, but I love learning, and reading. Literacy is a gift that most take for granted. Ancestors were killed if they were caught reading. People died to learn the alphabet, which is phenomenal. Reading truly is liberation, Malcolm X states reading allowed him freedom behind bars.

  • RizzoTheRat

    women, why don’t you work on cars? why don’t you like power tools? why don’t you do martial arts? the way this question is worded makes it sounds like there’s something wrong with men who choose not to read. people have different preferences. and genders have different preferences. one is not better than the other. there are a whole lot of ways to make the world go round. why not embrace the diversity?