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.