The Lost Boys of YA: Are Young Men Reading Less? :: LitReactor

boys_tvHow do we get dudes reading?

My husband is a total dude, and he admittedly hates to read.  He says he gets bored with reading, and he’d rather just watch the movie anyway.  I even let him borrow my copy of Fight Club, because he adores the movie (and what dude doesn’t like reading Chuck?!), and I think he got through a chapter. Maybe.

So, what’s the real issue?  I know plenty of guys who read fiction… and read a ton of it.  Does my husband’s analytical mind prevent him from using his imagination against the written word?  Or did he, like many others, fall victim to the whole I-hated-the books-we-read-in-high-school-so-I-don’t-enjoy-reading attitude?  We read the classics in high school, I know, but some of them were excruciating.  I didn’t read them all.  No one did.  So I can see how that experience might make some people book-shy.

Back to my first question:  how do we get dudes reading?  I wish I had an answer, but I really think the solution needs to begin at an early age.  What are your thoughts?

– sld

The Lost Boys of YA: Are Young Men Reading Less?


A friend of mine who recently finished six years of military service used to read on the bus between training exercises. It seems like a pretty innocuous thing to do. The ride from one base to another was four hours long, so he brought a book to entertain himself. At least, that was his original intent when he started out as a 19-year-old private. He quickly found that his peers viewed reading as a strictly feminine activity, and a laughable one at that. Tired of the constant harassment that it provoked, he eventually stopped bringing books on the bus.

This incident, although anecdotal and somewhat extreme, is not inconsistent with other outside data on adolescent reading habits:

  • A Canadian study published in the Alberta Journal of Educational Research found that 24 percent of second grade students thought of reading as a “feminine activity,” and later, additional studies have mirrored that result.
  • Only 12.5% of teens report that their fathers read more often than their mothers, and reading rates among young men have been dropping.
  • Guys Read, a group dedicated to reversing these trends, notes that boys of every age group have scored worse than girls on reading tests for the last 30 years.
  • Pew research conducted in 2013 reported that men read fewer books of any genre— 21 percent fewer in the category of YA titles, to be precise.

Based on the information at hand, it’s difficult to pinpoint how much of this is the result of cultural norms, and how much might be chalked up to other unknown factors.

Read the entire story at LitReactor.


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