Friday, August 12, 2011

Sad But True

     I found this article when I was about to write this post: http://www.salon.com/books/laura_miller/2010/05/04/men_don_t_read, which reminded me of yet another one I stumbled upon months ago when I was searching the Internet for articles about self-publishing. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20225323,00.html 
     If you read the date, you notice it’s old, but for the first time Stephen King didn’t deliver fear through his writing.
     Women have always been good readers, but so were men. I’m a little baffled when trying to understand what happened to my literary-inclined brothers. In my life, I can clearly divide the guys I’ve known into readers and non-readers; it seems there’s no room for dabblers. But Mr. King makes a good point; someone is buying authors like Lee Child, Tom Clancy and John Le Carré. For god’s sake, Robert Ludlum has been dead since 2001 and they’re still milking his name. 2010 in particular seems to have been a great year for thrillers; everyone from Stephen Hunter to Robert Forsyth had a new novel out. So this begs the question, is the male reader a species in extinction?
     The publishing industry claims that these men sell because they have already amassed a large, loyal following throughout the years. That might be true, and so is the fact that many of their fans are a little bit tired of the same old characters and the same old stories. Why the industry is so sure these male readers are unwilling to branch out into new authors is beyond me. Instead of injecting the genre with new blood to maintain its base and hook to new readers, their solution seems to let them wither and die. Well done. Were these the same people who asserted, “Kids don’t read anymore?” Tell that to J.K. Rowling and the string of children and young adult writers who followed.
     The point about reading being considered “unmanly” is just ludicrous. I’m an author, an avid reader; I love museums, good food, traveling and having an engaging conversation in just about any topic. At the same time, I can ride a motorcycle, play with guns and knives, hold my own sparring, climb rocks and dive the ocean in the dead of night. Being uncouth doesn’t make you a real man; it just makes you really ignorant.
     Maybe genres don’t die; perhaps those in the inside kill them with their pursue of a quick buck and lack of vision. So to all my fellow men reading this lines, keep on reading and keep on running!

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