“But, but, but, I don’t like to read.”
Sound familiar? You’ve probably heard it (or said it) a few times before. And studies have shown that boys are more likely to say it than girls! How can we fix this?
First off, it’s important not to discourage boys from reading whatever they want–graphic novels, magazines, articles, whatever! If we discourage this kind of reading, boys run the risk of hating reading altogether. If they like it, let them read it.
Boys also need to see their role models reading and stressing its value! They need to know that it’s emphatically not a “girl thing.”
In a world that’s becoming increasingly more competitive, reading is more fundamental now than ever before. It leads to subject mastery, increases perceptiveness, stimulates creativity, and sharpens communication skills. It’s the number one way to get smarter.
Need some ideas to get boys reading? Here’s a list of books all kinds of boys might love!
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1) The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
This is one of the greatest short story collections of the 20th century. It examines the lives and difficult choices that men faced during the Vietnam War. It’s beautifully-written and real. After you read it, you’ll never forget it.
2) Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Heller’s classic Catch-22 is hilarious and well-written. Set during World War II, it pushes military bureaucracy to the level of absurdity!
3) Anything by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway is one of America’s great writers, and his style is simple, candid, and direct. He knows how to strike you at your core, and he is a master of dialogue. All of his books explore, in various ways, what it means to be a man. The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea are two of my favorites.
This book used to be popular because it was banned! Banning a book is a surefire way to increase its popularity. If it’s being banned, it’s challenging the system—and chances are, it’s good. The story of rebellious Holden Caulfield, calling out a world filled with “phonies,” is just as fun to read about today as it was when it was first published!
5) Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut’s best, by his own appraisal. Another master of the short but perfect sentence, Vonnegut is ridiculously funny and irreverent. His books are well worth a look!
6) A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
If you like the show on HBO, then read the books! Even for people who don’t like fantasy, this series is addicting. I’ve never met anyone who regretted checking these books out. You develop deep relationships with the characters, and the books are meticulously plotted and written in a very filmic way.
7) Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
This satirical novel about the Apocalypse is the perfect blend of humor and fantasy. Terry Pratchett, author of the incredibly funny Discworld series, joins forces with Neil Gaiman, who writes powerfully about American mythology, to produce a witty and intelligent cult classic.
8) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Another book that will have you laughing out loud at every twist and turn. When I was young, a guy on a bus gave me this book after I noticed him reading and struck up a conversation with him. “This is my favorite book,” he told me. Sci-fi meets humor in Adams’s work, which is sure to stick with you!
9) Watchmen, by Alan Moore
“It’s more than just a graphic novel,” my friend Jack told me, when I saw him reading it. The movie was pretty good! Check out the book.
10) Anything by David Sedaris
Sedaris, a long-time contributor to This American Life, is a wry, sardonic essayist. He writes about his life, his travels, his crazy family—anything is fair game, and everything is funny.
11) On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
Kerouac’s classic novel was initially written on one long typewriter scroll, without paragraph breaks. It’s spontaneous and beautiful, and charts an unforgettable journey across America and into Mexico. Be careful reading it! It’ll make you want to pack up and hit the road.
12) Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk
The movie’s a classic. Every guy should watch it. So is the book. Every guy should read it. Trust me.
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These are just a few ideas, though! Go on Google, Goodreads, or Amazon, (or to the library!) and search for things that interest you. Seek them out and read them. Your mind thanks you in advance.
The takeaway? Find what you like. Read about it. Keep reading!