Today I visited the Guys Read website. As the name might suggest, they’re dedicated to getting boys to read. On their main page, they say “Research shows that boys are having trouble reading, and that boys are getting worse at reading. No one is quite sure why.”
Walk into the teen section of a bookstore, that might give you a clue about why.
A few weeks ago I went to Borders and perused their YA section. I’d never been in this particular Borders, but the YA books weren’t too difficult to find–the towering Twilight display would’ve been hard to miss. From the books to calendars to t-shirts to who knows what, the whole section of the store was pretty much a shrine to Edward, Jacob, and Bella. The shelves themselves obviously had other books–a paranormal romance here…oh and there…and there…. And if I wasn’t looking at paranormal romances, I was looking at pink titles and flawless-skinned girls’ faces on the covers.
Now tell me, in that visual did you see anything that might possibly entice a teenage boy to set foot in there?
Uh huh, me neither.
There are great books out there that guys would enjoy reading; I’ve read quite a few. But if they can’t get past the cover or even feel comfortable walking into the teen section of a bookstore, of course they’re not reading. Ok, ok, so that may not be the only problem. But I still think that publishing companies, book sellers, etc., should at least attempt to entice guys to read.
A perfect example: The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. In my opinion, guys would enjoy those books. My husband did & Ben from my writer’s group did. But as Ben pointed out, he felt like he had to hide the cover whenever he was reading in public. And this is a grown, married guy with developed confidence in his masculinity. A teenage boy would never dream of reading that book, unless he was hiding in his room doing it. So come on, publishers. Give these guys more to work with. Don’t give them the excuse to not read.
Here are some books I’ve read recently that I think guys would enjoy:
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (ages 10-14)
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (maybe tear off the cover)
Gone by Michael Grant
Anyone else have recommendations for guys?