Posted by: Misha Stone
As anyone who reads Kaite and David’s delightful and insightful “He Reads…” and “She Reads…” columns will attest, the reading habits of men and women is a fascinating topic.
In this week’s Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King takes on “manfiction” in his essay, “What a Guy Wants.” As an EW subscriber, I look forward to reading what King has to say about pop culture (unless he’s writing about music–sorry, but his music essays reveal a little too much about the generation gap for me). This time King writes with wit and authority about the fact that he knows (the proof is in the paycheck, I imagine) that men DO read.
While gender doesn’t always play a role in our reading tastes and moods, often it does. While women statistically read more than men, and countless books are being written about the fact that reading is on the decline with men and boys, King sets us all straight on the rumors that men don’t read. Men DO read, and they often are looking for different things than women. Here’s what King says about it:
Is this a bad thing? From an entertainment standpoint, I’d say not. Women like stories in which a gal meets a handsome (and possibly dangerous) hunk on a tropic isle; men like to imagine going to war against an army of bad guys with a Beretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun (grenades hung on the belt optional).
Of course, there is an exception to every rule. Every week I help men find Joan Collins and women find the latest serial killer thriller. And as Nick has shared in some of his recent posts, books can make men cry, too. In his essay, King goes on to talk about the merits and appeals of writers like Robert B. Parker, Jonathan Kellerman, John D. MacDonald, Michael Connelly and Lee Child. These authors appeal to men and women alike, but these authors do reel men into bookstores and libraries for the next in the series.
I sometimes like to think that men and women are no different. But every day, helping readers, I see the subtle and not so subtle ways in which men and women seek different things in their reading. And now that I am raising a boy, who is (so far, so good) a reader, I cannot help but notice that he hugs his books about ‘diggers’ and trucks (new fave this week is Roadwork) much closer than Toot and Puddle. But I leave it to David and Kaite to hash it all out. That’s all I’m sayin’.