Is it true? Do real men read books? Of course, it’s not. Because there’s no such thing as a real man. If a man is defined by strength, money, position or any other meaningless attribute, what’s the point? Where do such distinctions get us?
One of the few truths I know is that reading changes everything
I had troubles reading and writing when I was a child, and I didn’t understand much because I didn’t know much. Today I know about most things because I can read.
I’ve been listening to a bird for the past few days. (See picture below) It drinks from our birdbath and sits in a tree in my courtyard chirping away. It makes the one same chirping sound every three seconds, I know because it’s driving me mad. What is it saying? I don’t know because I don’t understand it. We don’t speak the same language. This is what life was like before I could read; with reading came understanding.
I may not be able to understand birds, but I can understand most things today. Books have been the catalyst for almost everything in my life. The promotion of books to men is something I’ve been on about for years and so have others. Below are a few sites that are trying to get “real” men to read books.
These sites are North American. Where are the Australian websites and programs? It’s been my experience that getting men to read books, especially books written by women is near impossible. After forty years of reading and writing, I’d take a guess and say that there are more female authors in Australia than male, now. So by my calculations that means if men are not reading as much as women, and especially not reading female authors, they are missing out on more than 50% of all literature written here in Australia.
That’s a poor statistic in my opinion; worse than that, I can see it’s a mindset that looks like it might never change unless we do something about it.
I wish more men would get involved in reading
I’ve been trying to coax men for years to get involved in literature, from poetry to book clubs. I’ve had little success. I’ve been running DiVerse for 10 years, we’re a group who transcribes visual art into poetry. I’ve asked many male poets to join the group, not one has taken up the offer.
This is the problem. Most men don’t want to be involved because it’s not something a “real” man does. I can see how this thinking infests itself into so many levels of Australian society. Maybe things are changing though, I’ve heard of male only book clubs. But I wonder if they only read male authors?
I read The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser. It is an excellent read. How I wish I could write like this. It’s my opinion that one day she will win the Nobel Prize for literature. This book came to me through a suggestion from my book club. A female member had found out about The Australian Women Writers Challenge and that inspired us to choose a book by an Australian female author.
I’d love to start the Australian Men Writers Challenge, but I couldn’t. Because men wouldn’t want to be involved in setting it up. Would you mate?
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net