Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dude lit?

While surfing the Internet I came across an alarming statistic. Polls suggest that only 20 percent of fiction readers are male! How can this be? Why?

Is there a stigma (at least in the minds of men) that reading fiction is a pastime not worthy of men’s valuable time? Ask the average man and he’ll admit to reading non-fiction, newspapers and magazines, but rarely will he admit to reading fiction.

Fiction can be just as educational as non-fiction and most times a lot more enjoyable. Novelists (good ones at least) put countless hours into researching their novels. It is proven that lessons hidden in stories stay with us longer than those relayed in lectures.

A term that has become common today is 'Chick-lit'. These are usually novels with a young female protagonist, a dash of romance and more than a dash of humour. What if there were the equivalent for men? Would they read more fiction? Maybe guys just want to have fun too.I thought I'd suggest some books that might appeal to men who want a light, fun read. And they are ALL written by men too!

"How to Talk to a Widower" by Jonathan Tropper

"Nuclear Jellyfish" by Tim Dorsey

"A Salty Piece of Land" by Jimmy Buffett

"The Ravine" by Paul Quarrington

"Kill All the Judges" by William Deverell

"Boca Knights" by Steven M. Forman

"Choke" by Chuck Palahniuk

"The Franchise Babe" by Dan Jenkins


  1. I've heard of the male equivalent of 'Chick-Lit' referred to as 'Lad-Lit', with Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, Fever Pitch) being the quintessential 'Lad-Lit' author. In this case though, 'Lad-Lit' (I think), is more a subgenre of Chick-Lit than a genre of its own.

    Reluctant male readers that I know have been drawn in by zombie fiction like:

    -Monster Island by David Wellington (and its sequels)

    -Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

    -World War Z by Max Brooks


  2. Mil Millington is someone I would consider a classic "dude lit" author. His first book "Things my girlfriend and I have argued about" is a humourous relationship tale from the male perspective. And of course you can't forget Nick Hornby, particularly "High Fidelity" which is a book I know a lot of guys have read, related to and enjoyed.

  3. I think men not reading as much fiction could have somethign to do with literacy levels. While non-fiction can have jargon, usually what the jargon refers to can be figured out in context. Fiction can contain alot of unique words and phrases that are hard to understand, which can scare some men (and women too) off.

    For example, alot of westerns these days seem to want to imitate Cormac McCarthy. Whatever happened to the old fashioned womanizing gun slinger?

    (Ooops! Was I allowed to say that? Another reason why men may be turning away from novel-reading - if they read what they really want to read these days, they may fear being judged.)

  4. LAd-lit has been around for at least ten years - it's a marketing initiative to emulate Chick-lit which is Harlequin Romance or Jane Austen (according to the Author Of Bridget Jones' Diary) dressed up for a contemporary market.

    The issue of men not reading fiction isn't new either. Ryan is correct: so much "worthy" fiction is high-maintenance with complex narratives and sorrowful tales. Fine, if that's what you seek, but most people just seek escape in their fiction which explains the popularity of Ludlum with men.

  5. My husband is a reading dude and finds it really funny when the car fixing neighbour dude says to him, "Readin' another book are ya?"