Quick quiz: How many novels do you read a year? How about the men in your life — think husbands, significant others, children, fathers, etc.? Bet you beat ‘em. Some sources say 55% of women readers choose fiction compared to 45% of men. Women average nine books a year while men read only five, It’s no wonder only 20% of the fiction market is made of men these days.
Unfortunately, we men are missing out.
Studies show reading fiction helps people be more adept in social situations by increasing empathy, creativity, and what cognitive scientists call the “theory of the mind” — the ability to anticipate what another will do based on how we think that person perceives a situation. Who wouldn’t want their men to handle themselves better, socially? Social skills can benefit all areas of a person’s life — family, work, leisure, etc.
We need your help. How can you help us read more fiction? Here are some suggestions.
- Set an example and read fiction yourself — probably not an issue for you.
- Find out what type of stories a man likes (action, suspense, military, science fiction, etc.) and help him find those kinds of novels. Take a look at the genres he prefers on TV and in movies. Chances are, he might like similar novels.
- Buy a novel or two for him to try out based on the above information. (NOTE: if you give this as a gift, you might want to include other types of gifts, as well. Don’t just give him a David Baldacci novel, but also include socks, ties, that new Maserati, etc.)
- Schedule (together) a no-electronic-media night each week. Obviously, eReaders could be exempt, but TV, electronic games, web surfing, etc. would take the night off. In all honesty, we tried this in my house and it lasted about two weeks. My family still reads a lot. We just don’t try to squeeze it into a rigid schedule.
- Leave a couple of books around the house in his favorite genre, hoping he might pick one up to read on his own.
- Read books he might enjoy reading and talk about them.
- Find a couples book club.
- When you’re in mixed company (and he’s involved in the conversation), ask his friends what novels they have read.
- If he travels for business, sneak a book he might like into his suitcase. Include a friendly note saying you’re thinking about him.
These are just a few ideas to trigger your own. Please feel free to share them with others.
Happy reading! Together.
Ben Sharpton writes thrillers. His New Adult/Young Adult book, Camp Fear: 13 Days of Fear (Solstice Publishing) will be released on Friday the 13th (of May). His Adult Paranormal Thriller, 2nd Sight: Capturing Insight (Limitless Publishing) will be released on June 21. You can learn more at www.bensharpton.com.