I have been doing a bit more thinking about men, and the books they read. And having thought about this, I would like to posit a couple of questions and add some thoughts.
1) Most of the men I know read a lot of non-fiction. Specifically pop pol and techy books. They tend to like to read about their interests. When I asked one colleague he informed me they also ‘looked better on the train, or the coffee table.’ I imagine most of these are written by men. Am I right?
2) Equally a lot of men seem to read science fiction and crime books. I haven’t tested the coffee table / train theory on these. But again, I think a lot of these are written by men too (though I know some great female crime authors). Again, am I right?
If the two above suppositions are right, maybe the ‘do men read books by female authors’ debate is more about a combination of men’s interests as cultural norms and ideas of ‘manliness’ than men necessarily looking down on or disapproving of ‘female’ literature.
A quick peak at Esquire’s ‘Greatest Books Every Man Should Read’ seems to back up this idea.
So maybe in some ways #readwomen2014 have got it right and men should be more open to women’s literature. However, in other ways a lot of the pieces on this subject may have the emphasis subtly wrong, and should be emphasizing the stereotyping of men as much, if not more, than that of women.