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Musing Mondays … A reading survey

October 23, 2008

Miz B at Should Be Reading hosts Musing Mondays. I’ve missed the last few weeks due a change in work schedule that was supposed to free up my time but hasn’t done so yet. Oh well best laid plans and all that…

So this week’s topic post by Miz B was is about a “reading” survey, and what it had to say…

She recently read an article (here), that she found through BiblioAddict’s blog, that talked of “why women read more than men“. In it, author Ian McEwan is quoted saying:

“When women stop reading, the novel will be dead.”

Do I believe this to be true? Why, or why not?

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Well we’ll start with men whom I’m personally know and see how they fare.

My spouse – would rather watch TV or play on the computer than read a book. He’s a visual kind of guy and carves the stimulation these activities provide. He will ‘read’ magazines if they are work related or travel focused. He has in the last few years started reading a book or 2 while we’re on vacation. He even has a small collection of books to choose from this year.

My father – I don’t remember him reading for pleasure when I was growing up. He did read to us children but other than that I don’t recall him having a book of his own. He did take up reading after he retired and needed to fill the empty hours as he retired a number of years before my mother did.

My brother – an avid reader. Like myself he is never without book in hand and always has a spare, or two, or three handy.

My nephews – avid readers both of them. These are boys in their teenage years. One almost out of his teens and the other who just entered his teens a year or two ago. Every time I see these boys they are carrying a book.

My supervisor – an avid reader. Another male who always has book in hand. I know he reads more than his wife does. She is way too social a creature to bother with a book when there are family and friends to visit and socialize with.

Spouses of the book club gals:

Stefanie and Daren: of the two Daren is the reader. I don’t know how much or how little but he reads more than she does. Hmmm … maybe I should invite Daren to book club but then Steffie would cross me off her friends list.

Dana and Ken: I know Ken reads for both work and pleasure though I think work reading wins out.

Jill and Mike: Mike is a lot like my Jim books are almost non existent in his world. Jill likes to the tell the story about when they first got married 20+ years ago. Her mother bought Mike a book for Christmas early in their marriage and he’s gotten about 2 chapters into it.

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My observations of men and reading, in general:

There sure are a lot guys in the airports and on airplanes reading. And not just computer screens and work related material. They’re pulling out pleasure books and settling in for the long flight. Kicking back, relaxing, taking a break from the relentless drive of work.

Browsing in book stores and the Costco book section: Equality rules here. I don’t see much of difference in the numbers between men and women browsing books or buying for that matter.

Poolside: Now some of you might be thinking that the boys are using the books as a decoy for spying on the ladies laying poolside. Granted I’ll bet some of them are but for the most part they actually have their eyes trained the on the page. Now you’re thinking yeah right who are you kidding besides yourself. Could it be that vacationing where Europeans do that they are actually as interested their in books as the ladies simply because their beliefs about the human body differ vastly from that of most Americans?

Publishing and writing: If men aren’t reading then why are there authors and publishing companies out there who cater to their tastes? Granted women read these authors and genres as well but, at face value, certain genres lend themselves to men ~ action, thriller, military, suspense, non-fiction and sports-related books to name just a few.

So in the interest of curiosity I ventured out to a trusty search engine, fired it up and got the following. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with the articles or what the authors have written so please don’t bash me in your comments. I’ve simply included them for your reading pleasure. From The Christian Science Monitor, 2004 titled Spotted in England. Another from Writer’s Digest last month, Do Men Read?. Another from In These Times, 2006 Why Hemingway Is Chick-Lit  And finally another article from The Christian Science Monitor in 2004 about ‘lad lit’, entitled Guy Novels That Guys Don’t Seem To Read.

While surfing for the above articles I came across a new to me term ‘lad lit’ so I decided to throw that in the trusty search engine just to see what popped and here’s what I got: Lad Lit; Oh Lad, Poor Lad; and Lad Lit Hits the Skids.

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Mainly where I notice the difference is in the blogging community. The majority of the book blogs I read or have come across are written by females. I see plenty of guys reading I just don’t see them blogging about their reading. Chime in guys if you see it differently! Let us know, just be polite.

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So what’s your take? Especially you authors ~ is your audience mainly female, male or evenly divided? Do you write hoping to reach a certain audience? Or do you start with an audience in mind and tailor your books to reach them?

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